Maiden hopes to rebound by winning
ninth straight in battles with St. Stephens
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By CHRIS HOBBS
NEWTON-CONOVER (1-1) at
HICKORY (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
One of the area’s longest, most intense and most exciting to watch rivalries gets back on the field at Barger Stadium.
They have not met since 2019, when the Red Devils won 31-6 in Hickory, and the Red Tornadoes’ series lead is 48-27-2.
Newton-Conover has won three straight at Barger Stadium and overall has won nine of the last 12 and 11 of the last 15.
The schools met for the first time in 1923 with HHS winning 26-0.
QB Brady Stober threw for five scores and nearly 300 yards last Friday when HHS won 53-27 at South Caldwell and Red Devils’ QB Aiden Laungkhot went 17 of 21 for 230 yards and one TD pass in a 44-6 home win over West Iredell.
Hickory is 8-6 under second-year head coach Joe Glass while Steven Pack grabbed his 20th career win – half of them at N-C – with last Friday’s victory.
ST. STEPHENS (1-1) at MAIDEN (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Indians chase their sixth win in a series that stands in Maiden’s favor 30-5-1 since 1980.
Maiden has won eight straight in the series, and the Indians have not won on the field there since 2009 (34-15… and they gained a 2011 after-the-fact forfeit win at Maiden).
The teams did not play a year ago, and the Indians are 4-13-1 at Maiden since 1980.
St. Stephens’ wins in the series: 1980 at St. Stephens, 1995, 2007, 2009, 2011 at Maiden.
QB Peyton Young and RB Brycen Gaither have sparked the Indians so far, while Maiden’s new starting quarterback (Wesley Thompson) and WR Chris Culliver have already been a defensive challenge.
Maiden had a late lead last Friday in Boone before Watauga rallied and won 23-19.
FRED T. FOARD (0-2) at
WEST LINCOLN (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers, playing for the third time under Michael Ramseur as head coach, take a shot at snapping a losing streak that is at 16 games.
The teams have played 32 times since 1980 and each has won 16 games. They did not meet a year ago.
West Lincoln has won two straight at home over the Tigers and Foard has not won in Vale since 2014 (42-28).
RB Mason Avery, last year’s top rusher in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic, is off to another hot start for the Rebels, 26-10 since Darren Ponder became head coach four years ago.
Foard is 7-8 in games played at West Lincoln since 1982.
DRAUGHN (2-0) at EAST BURKE (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats and Cavs will break their series tie – each had won six – when they meet in Icard, where Draughn has won in four of six previous visits to Icard.
They did not play last season, and the Wildcats are going for their third straight when in the series.
The Wildcats are 21-23 since Chris Powell took over as head coach while the Cavs chase career win No. 57 for head coach Derrick Minor, 8-9 since taking over in Icard after first coaching at Fred T. Foard when he moved to the area.
WEST CALDWELL (0-2) at HIBRITEN (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
Can the Warriors snap a 13-game losing streak and an even longer Black and Blue Friday losing streak (19 games)?
They’ve played 42 times since 1980, and the Panthers have a stranglehold on the series in that span (26-16) with West Caldwell’s last win at Hibriten coming in 2002 (30-21). Since then, the average win margin for Hibriten in nine home battles with the Warriors has been 35.1 points.
Hibriten won 39-25 a year ago on the road when returning QB Colby Wilson ran for two scores (13 carries for 113 yards) and threw for another score and 59 yards.
Returning QB Jaylen Patterson had 157 passing yards and two TD passes in the loss for West Caldwell last season,
With a 0-2 start – losses to East Lincoln and Hunter Huss – the Panthers are 26-10 under head coach Sam Mackey.
The Warriors have won only three of 18 games with Monte Simmons as head coach.
BUNKER HILL (2-0) at NORTH IREDELL (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Bears go for a 3-0 start – they won their first seven a year ago in Albert Reid’s first season as head coach – after wins at Cramer and last Friday at home over St. Stephens.
This is the third Bears-Red Raiders game; last year, Bunker Hill won 41-0 when graduated QB Carson Elder threw for 134 yards and two scores and returning WR Elijah Boston had four catches for 48 yards to go with interception returns of 50 and 12 yards for TDs.
The other game in the series: 42-0 Bunker Hill in Claremont in 2005, so this is their first game in Olin.
FREEDOM (1-1) at FORESTVIEW (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Patriots played Forestview for the third time but for the first time in Gastonia, and they’re 0-2 against the Jaguars.
They played last year in Morganton with Forestview winning 13-7 despite a big night for returning QB Jaylen Barnett (17-30-0, 178 yards) and returning WR Sacred Baylor (eight catches, 94 yards).
The other meeting was a 2013 state playoff game won 35-34 by the Jaguars in Morganton.
Former Maiden player Justin Hawn guides Freedom for the 18th time. He’s 8-9 in his third season.
HICKORY HAWKS (1-1) at SOUTH CALDWELL (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The home-schooled Hawks are the opponent for the 14th game for Casey Justice as head coach at his alma mater.
They played last season, also in Hudson, and the Spartans won 20-12 when Will Connor ran 22 times for 170 yards and returning RB Garrett Ashley scored his first rushing TD of 2021.
The Hawks fell 42-14 to Andrews in their opener and won 46-0 over Grace Christian (Raleigh) in Week 2.
After beating West Caldwell to open the season, the Spartans were drilled 53-27 at Hickory last Friday in Hudson.
A.C. REYNOLDS (2-0) at ALEXANDER CENTRAL (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Alexander Central head coach Butch Carter is unofficially a win away from 150 for his career, with a record of 45-23 in Taylorsville since taking that job seven years ago.
This is the 13th game in the series and the Rockets’ 11-1 edge includes a 2006 state playoff win at A.C. Reynolds.
The Rockets are 4-0 at Alexander Central, last winning there 31-7 in 2008.
After opening with a victory at Hickory, the Cougars toughed out a 17-8 win at home over North Gaston last Friday night.
The majority of Carter’s wins came as head coach at South Caldwell.
WATAUGA (2-0) at MITCHELL COUNTY (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Pioneers play their 107th game under head coach Ryan Habich, who came to Boone a decade ago and is 84-22 and 136-44 in 14 seasons in prep football.
Watauga is coming off a character-building home win last Friday, wiping out an 11-point deficit to beat Maiden 23-19.
Mitchell County beat Watauga 34-23 at home last season, and the Pioneers return QB Wyatt Keller, who went 5-9-1 for 195 yards in that game with all five of those to graduated WR Orlando Leon.
EAST LINCOLN (2-0) at LINCOLNTON (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Two of the key stars from last season’s 14-8 Mustangs victory are returning – QB Tyler Mizzell completed 12 of 16 for 119 yards for East Lincoln and QB Andre Bost scored all of the Wolves’ points and had 66 rushing yards and 60 passing yards in a loss.
Mizzell was injured in the game and missed the next three games.
East Lincoln has gone 35-23 in the first 58 games under head coach David Lubowicz while second-year head coach David Byrd is 5-7-1 with the Wolves.
NORTH LINCOLN (0-2) at NORTHWEST CABARRUS (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Game No. 49 for Nick Bazzle as head coach at North Lincoln (his fifth season) is a trip to Cabarrus County.
The teams played a brainburner a year ago in Pumpkin Center with North Lincoln winning 54-40 after two Knights had season-highs in rushing – RB Brennen Rogers (22-200, 4 TDs) and RB Liam Sutton (9-86, 2 TDs).
Bazzle is 34-14 with the Knights and 163-99 (in 22 years) with other head-coaching stints at Newton-Conover and Alexander Central.
SOUTH IREDELL (2-0) at WEST IREDELL (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
West Iredell has scored only once in first-year head coach Matt Wilson’s first two games, losses to Lake Norman and Newton-Conover (where he played).
The teams did not meet last year.
West Iredell has not beaten any other team except Fred T. Foard in the last two-plus seasons.
STATESVILLE (1-1) at LAKE NORMAN (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Greyhounds and Wildcats didn’t play a year ago.
Statesville, after shutting out Carson, couldn’t handle South Iredell last Friday night in former Vikings assistant Rydell Cowan’s second game as Greyhounds head coach.