On yet another unseasonably hot and steamy late September night, where Mother Nature won’t seem to take summer with her and hit the bricks, it was a rough week across the board for the four county high school football teams.
McMichael, Morehead, Rockingham and Reidsville all went down in week number six.
There were a couple of shockers as well.
Front and center, the Rams loss to East Surry. The other upset no one saw coming was Morehead’s loss to previously winless Person County.
Let’s take a look at what’s on deck for this Friday as the teams look to get back on track.
Reidsville (5-1) versus Mount Airy (3-1)
The Rams are still trying to get the bad taste out of their mouths following the 55-49 upset loss to East Surry last Friday night at Community Stadium. If not for turnovers at key points in the game, it’s one they probably should have won. East Surry is arguably the most athletic team Reidsville has faced in four years. That includes Edenton Holmes, Wallace-Rose Hill and Northeastern Elizabeth City — the three teams they faced in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 2A NCHSAA state championship games.
Message boards were heated following the game and Jimmy Teague said in his post game comments that the Rams did not have a good week of practice. Does that mean Reidsville took the Cardinals lightly? Given their 43 game regular season winning streak entering the East Surry game, it’s a logical assumption that the players fully expected to win and perhaps weren’t prepared for the physicality that East Surry presented.
Although Rams fans are disappointed, don’t jump off the bridge quite yet because there is still a lot of football left to play.
If Reidsville gets back to the 2019 championship game, the road is going to be much tougher than years past due to a stronger schedule. Up next is Mount Airy, a team whose only loss was 27-21 affair to Starmount in the season opener.
The Granite Bears will be fresh too after coming off a bye week, and it’s a fair bet there were Mount Airy coaches and players at Community Stadium last Friday watching East Surry take down the Rams.
The last time they played Mount Airy defeated North Surry 57-38 on Sept. 20. The Granite Bears are averaging 33.6 points per game offensively and allowing 21.4 on defense.
It will be Reidsville’s last out of conference game of the season, and although they will still be favored to sweep the rest of the Mid-State 2A Conference, it’s a tougher league this year.
Bartlett Yancey is 6-0 and will be primed to give the Rams a run for their money for the first time in recent memory on Nov. 8. It’s a game that could possibly determine the Mid-State 2A regular season champion.
Mid-State 3A Conference
Only one thing is for certain — Morehead, McMichael and Rockingham will ingest a steady diet of meat and potatoes competition the rest of the way in Mid-State 3A Conference play. And as projected, the league from top to bottom, regardless of the record, is filled with teams that are capable of beating one another on any given night. All eight teams have athletes and are well coached, so there is no such thing as an easy win or a night off in most cases.
Morehead (2-3) versus Western Alamance (1-0, 4-1)
The Panthers are the prime example. Morehead (2-3) entered last week’s game versus Person (1-4) facing a previously winless team and were heavy favorites to pick up a much-needed win. Instead, Person County took control early, scoring three times in the opening quarter for a 21-0 lead and they never looked back as they cruised to a 36-12 win.
This week they face a league front runner in Western Alamance. The Warriors were impressive in a dominant 43-0 shutout win over Rockingham last Friday and head coach Lin Stadler and company know this is a team you can’t make mistakes against.
Another concern that must be addressed if the Panthers hope to make a game of it is offense. Last week the Panthers didn’t manage a single offensive score. If that doesn’t change, Friday could make for a long night.
Rockingham (1-4) versus McMichael (0-1, 0-5)
Cougars head coach Brad Baker unfortunately had more questions than answers following last week’s 40-0 loss to Western Alamance (4-1) in Elon.
McMichael head coach Daniel Bradford and company were in the same boat after coming off a 49-0 shutout loss to Northern Guilford.
A win for either will be big, perhaps season defining, but whoever comes out on the losing end this Friday night is likely headed for a rough last five weeks with several heavy hitters still on deck in league play.