Grimsley Page Football (copy)

Page students toss up powder as kickoff gets the annual football rivalry with Grimsley under way when the teams last met at Marion Kirby Stadium in 2017. The Pirates and Whirlies meet again Friday night.

NO. 1 GRIMSLEY (9-1, 3-0 Metro 4-A) at PAGE (3-7, 2-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: Marion Kirby Stadium, Page HS.

Tickets: $6. Grimsley fans will be issued blue/gray tickets and will enter and sit on the visitor's side of the stadium, and Page fans will be issued red tickets and sit on the home side of the stadium. Fans must stay on their respective sides of the stadium and will not be allowed to visit the opposing sides before, during or after the game.

Radio: WSJS-600.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Grimsley: QB Christofer Zellous, RB Quan Nora, TE Lawson Albright, LB Sincere Burnette, DT Travis Shaw.

Page: QB Javondre Paige, QB Alonza Barnett, WR Tareek Smith, LB Isaiah Oglesby, DL DeMarkus Bailey.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Grimsley can clinch the Metro 4-A championship and a potential No. 1 seed in the Class 4-A West playoffs with a win. For Page, it's win and you're in the playoffs. But a share of the conference championship is the only way they'll qualify for the postseason after going 1-6 against a brutal non-conference schedule.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. How will Grimsley handle the moment? The Whirlies got caught up in some trash talking before their showdown with East Forsyth, then fell behind 21-0 before losing 21-20. They appeared sluggish and may have been looking ahead to this game last Friday before beating Ragsdale 33-25. They'll be facing a desperate rival in a hostile environment.

2. Will Page have enough healthy bodies to make this game interesting? The non-conference schedule left the Pirates physically and emotionally battered, and they're still far from healthy despite an off week. Some young Page players will have to step up if the Pirates are going to come close to pulling off what would be a major upset.

3. Can Grimsley clean up its special-teams play? The Whirlies saw two extra-point kicks blocked, had three punts travel 12 yards or less and failed to recover an onside kick in their 33-25 win over Ragsdale. Extra points have been a problem all season, and short punts are nothing new for Grimsley. While those issues may not impact this game, they could determine how far the Whirlies go in the playoffs. 

THE LAST TIME ...

• Grimsley beat Page was 2006.

• Page missed the NCHSAA playoffs was 2004.

PREDICTIONS

Joe Sirera – Grimsley, 37-17  Spencer Turkin – Grimsley, 42-14

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Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.

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