jiheem_hooper_photo

Reidsville’s Jiheem Hooper sacks Eastern Guilford’s Kamell Smith during high school football action in Reidsville on Sept. 20. The Rams defeated the Wildcats 59-16 to improve to 5-0 on the season. Reidsville will host undefeated East Surry this Friday night.

All four county high school football teams will be back in action this coming Friday night. Last week, Reidsville had the Friday night lights to themselves — while Morehead, McMichael and Rockingham had byes. So after a week of practice, and a little time to regroup and recuperate, the Panthers, Phoenix and Cougars are ready to get back at it.

Week No. 6 marks the beginning of Mid-State 3A Conference play for the Panthers, Phoenix and Cougars — and given the overall strength of the league, those teams collectively have some work to do if they plan to earn a post season bid.

Let’s take a look at this week’s games:

Reidsville (5-0) versus East Surry (5-0)

For the Rams, things couldn’t be going much better. Last week, RHS faced and overcame their biggest challenge up to that date in the 2019 season when Eastern Guilford came to town. After overcoming a little bit of a rough start, the Reidsville offense struck quick and often, and by halftime the game was all but over in what turned out to be a 59-16 win over the Wildcats.

The Rams defense was also instrumental, forcing Eastern Guilford to settle for three field goals while allowing just one touchdown late in the third quarter.

Coming up on Friday RHS will host East Surry and it’s the most Reidsville-like team they will likely face until the playoffs get underway at least.

Like the Rams, the Cardinals are undefeated through five games. Also, similar to Reidsville, East Surry has dominated every opponent to date.

The Cardinals are averaging more than 57 points per game while allowing 7.6 over five games thus far defensively.

Reidsville looks very similar on paper. Offensively the Rams are averaging 53.8 points while allowing 4.4 on defense, and through five games, they have shut out three opponents so far in 2019.

One final similarity, like RHS, the Cardinals are coming off a state championship appearance in 2018. East Surry lost to Tarboro, while Reidsville defeated Northeastern to claim the title.

Two high-powered offenses and two stingy defenses should make for an entertaining night at Community Stadium this Friday night.

Morehead (2-2) versus Person (0-4)

The Panthers have a golden opportunity to get back above .500 when a winless Person County team comes to Eden this coming Friday night.

The Rockets have given up an average of 39 points per game while scoring 12.75 on offense. The question is, which Morehead team will show up? Will it be the Panthers squad that looked like a legitimate playoff team in dominant shutout wins over Martinsville and Atkins? They won 40-0 in both of those games.

Or will it be the polar opposite, like the 20-0 loss to Western Guilford followed by a 42-0 shutout loss to Reidsville on Sept. 6?

Those were the questions Morehead head coach and his team were looking to answer heading into their bye week.

A win by the Panthers will not only get them back over .500, but will also potentially move Morehead into the second tier of teams in the Mid-State 3A Conference race depending on Friday’s results.

Rockingham (1-3) at Western Alamance (3-1)

The good news for the Cougars is that the first third of the season is behind them and they had a bye week to reflect on lessons learned through a generally rough start. The bad news is they will face perennial Mid-State 3A Conference powerhouse Western Alamance on the road this week.

Like Rockingham, the Warriors are coming off of a bye week. WAHS was impressive as they had been all season in their last game, a 57-0 win over Graham on Sept. 13.

Western Alamance’s only loss of the season was a 35-16 matchup in week No. 2. The Warriors defense has been tough over the course of the first third of the schedule as they have put up shutout wins over Southern Alamance as well as the Red Devils.

RCHS head coach Brad Baker said he has been generally pleased with his defense so far, even though his team has just one win. He said most of the wounds his team has endured have been self-inflicted and if the Cougars can correct those issues, then he thinks they can turn things around.

They will need their best effort to date however, because Western Alamance head coach Jeff Snuffer always has his teams prepared.

McMichael (0-4) at Northern Guilford (3-1)

The Phoenix are in a similar situation as compared to Rockingham. McMichael will be on the road as well as they prepare to take on a tough Northern Guilford football team on Friday.

The Nighthawks are coming off a bye and they were dominant in their 42-10 win over Northwest Guilford on Sept. 13.

Northern Guilford’s only slip up was in a 34-0 shutout loss to Grimsley in the season opener, but it is worth noting that the Whirlies appear to be for real at 5-0.

After three-consecutive losses by large margins to begin the season, McMichael was much more competitive in a 27-13 loss to South Stokes on Sept. 13.

The Phoenix have run the ball fairly well, but have struggled to find a reliable passing game. If McMichael can at least start to get the short passing game going, that would likely pay huge dividends down the stretch. The Phoenix will again be underdogs this week, and regardless of the outcome, what McMichael needs more than anything right now is confidence. That will be key, especially considering it will be Mid-State 3A Conference play the rest of the way to close out the 2019 regular season.

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Contact Jim Sands at 336-314-1058 or on Twitter @jimsandsRCN.

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