Editor’s note: Previews for varsity football games scheduled Aug. 26. We apologize for the delay in posting, as we have been trying to catch up as quickly as possible after a website crash that lasted for four days (it has been repaired). Thanks for your patience.
By CHRIS HOBBS
ST. STEPHENS (1-0) at BUNKER HILL (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Bears will try to get their second straight win over the Indians. Their 42-0 win last season in Hickory snapped the Indians’ six-game series win streak.
St. Stephens has not won in Claremont since 2019 (21-13).
The Indians come in off a notable 26-13 home victory over Bandys, the first season-opening win for St. Stephens since beating West Iredell in 2015. Bandys was 8-0 in season-openers against St. Stephens before the Indians got head coach Kyle Lowman his third career victory.
Sophomore RB Jason Willis led Bunker Hill’s 47-35 win at Cramer, finishing with 295 rushing yards on 20 carries with four TDs. Sophomore RB Cole Lineberger added 112 yards on 12 carries.
Bunker Hill had 520 yards of total offense.
The Indians rode their running game to 7.4 yards per carry to beat Bandys. QB Peyton Young had 11 carries for 127 yards and one score and went 8-for-11 passing for 91 yards. RB Brycen Gaither had 28 hauls for 165 yards.
FRED T. FOARD (0-1) at BANDYS (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers head to Catawba hoping to end a 15-game losing streak that includes a 49-6 home loss to the Trojans last year.
Bandys is 26-9 against Foard since 1980 and seven of those Tigers’ wins came at Butler Stadium (the last 23-17 in 2017).
Both teams fell last Friday in season-openers: Maiden beat Foard 50-7 on the road and Bandys, also on the road, fell 26-13 to St. Stephens.
The Tigers lost their first game for the ninth time in 10 years while the Trojans have dropped two of the last three to start a season.
RB Deante McIllwain had 47 rushing yards in the loss to Maiden, and RB Nolan Jones and QB Wyatt Wesson led Bandys against St. Stephens.
Jones ran 15 times for 83 yards, had three catches for 49 yards and made 10 tackles. Wesson was 8-16-2 for 110 yards as the Trojans’ Jason Barnes dipped to 4-13 in his third year as head coach.
EAST BURKE (1-0) at FREEDOM (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
It’s Fat Friday No. 48, with Freedom going for its 12th straight win in the series and fifth straight in Morganton.
The Patriots won 13-12 last year, increasing their series lead to 29-18.
East Burke has not won at Freedom since 2009 (38-16).
Freedom has won 20 of the last 24 FF games.
East Burke opened last Friday by beating Patton 28-0 while Freedom fell to Crest 40-22.
RB Caden Buff ran for 82 yards and RB Jacob Dellinger had 87 for the Cavs. Freedom was victim to 486 yards of offense by Crest, but had two 100-yard games –RB B.G. Hampton (19-158) and QB Jaylin Barnett (16-100).
East Burke head coach Derrick Minor, in this third season, is 8-8 while the Pats’ Justin Hawn is 7-9 in his third year in Morganton.
HICKORY (0-1) at SOUTH CALDWELL (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Hickory chases its fifth straight win in the series, that coming after the Spartans had won five straight.
The Red Tornadoes are 27-10 in the series since 1982 and they are 13-4 in Hudson.
Alexander Central downed Hickory 33-15 last Friday to open the season with QB Brady Stober going 17-28-1 for 195 yards and a TD.
South Caldwell popped West Caldwell 28-7 last Friday with RB Anderson Raynor running for 162 yards on 12 carries with a TD and RB Suan Moore carrying 22 times for 184 yards and two scores.
The Spartans ran 56 times for 463 yards in head coach Casey Justice’s 11th game. A former Spartans QB, he is 9-2 since becoming the boss.
MAIDEN (1-0) at WATAUGA (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils won 50-7 at Fred T. Foard last Friday, their 10th straight year of winning the first game.
Maiden’s new QB, Wesley Thompson, debuted by going 9-13-0 for 187 yards and three TDs and WR Chris Culliver had five catches 120 yards.
Watauga routed Asheville Roberson 42-13 with an explosive offensive night – 508 yards of total offense with 474 of that rushing and the Rams had the ball for only 12 minutes, 10 seconds.
RB Maddox Greene posted 100 rushing yards on 12 carries, QB Trey Thompson added 11 carries for 98 yards and three TDs and RB Will Curtis had 17 carries for 166 yards and two scores.
WEST IREDELL (0-1) at NEWTON-CONOVER (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
It’s a homecoming game for West Iredell head coach Matt Wilson, who played QB for the Red Devils and for his dad (Nick Bazzle).
Lake Norman stormed the Warriors last Thursday in Wilson’s debut, and Polk County edged Newton-Conover 42-28 last Friday.
Wilson’s coaching career includes stints as an assistant at Newton-Conover and Alexander Central. He left Taylorsville to become West Iredell’s head coach.
West Iredell has lost six straight games, and the Warriors are 0-5 against the Red Devils, (last playing them in 2000).
The Red Devils lost their season-opener for the third straight season but have a shot at head coach Steven Pack’s 20th career win tonight (9-18 with Red Devils, third year).
QB Logan Adair, entering because of an injury, went 11-19-3 for 129 yards and RB Caiden Rowe had 75 yards on seven carries with one score for Newton-Conover.
DRAUGHN (1-0) at PATTON (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
The 13th meeting of these rivals, schools that opened when the Burke County schools decided to go to four high schools rather than just two.
Draughn, down 5-7 in the series, has not won at Patton since 2020 and the Wildcats and Panthers have split six games at Patton.
Patton won five of six at one point before Draughn won in 2019 and 44-6 in 2020.
Draughn opened last Friday with a 43-0 win over Thomas Jefferson Academy with 445 yards of total offense.
RB Justin Cunningham (15-111, 2 TDs), QB Eli Tiller (8-20-1, 217 yards) and WR Zach Pinkerton (3-137) led Draughn’s victory.
Randan Clarke and Trevon Smith each had 60 yards for Patton in a 28-0 loss to East Burke.
NORTH GASTON (0-1) at ALEXANDER CENTRAL (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
After opening with a 33-15 victory at Hickory last Friday, the Cougars take a shot at the Wildcats in Taylorsville.
RB Tanner Moore ran 12 times for 156 yards and three TDs and RB Logan Shoemaker added 19 carries for 78 yards in the win at Hickory.
East Gaston handled North Gaston 28-8 last Friday. The Wildcats had just 75 rushing yards and QB T.J. Belton went 6-10-1 for 71 yards.
The last time North Gaston opened a schedule in Taylorsville was 2008 (Alexander Central won 56-3).
LINCOLNTON (0-1) at NORTH LINCOLN (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
It’s game No. 48 for Nick Bazzle at North Lincoln, where he is 34-13 through the first four seasons (he has 163 career wins).
West Lincoln knocked off North Lincoln 33-14 last Friday despite the Knights getting 85 rushing yards and two rushing TDs by Reed King.
South Point defeated Lincolnton 28-13 last Friday in David Byrd’s 12th game as Wolves head coach.
QB Andre Bost went 10-18-2 for 110 yards and RB Khamoni Heath added 56 rushing yards.
CHERRYVILLE (1-0) at WEST LINCOLN (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Rebels play their 36th game with Darren Ponder as head coach. This is his fourth season guiding West Lincoln and he is 25-10 since he took over.
RB Mason Avery, who led the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic in rushing last season, had 217 rushing yards and four scores and added a defensive touchdown last Friday when West Lincoln beat North Lincoln 33-14 to open the season.
Cherryville opened with Avery County, winning 14-0.
R-S CENTRAL (0-1) at WEST CALDWELL (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
West Caldwell will try to snap its losing streak at 12 games as it starts its third season with Monte Simmons as head coach.
South Caldwell beat West Caldwell 28-7 last Friday while R-S Central fell 39-36 against McDowell.
The Hilltoppers trailed 26-21 after three quarters.
R-S Central’s QB, Trey Shearer, had a big game with 11 rushes for 79 yards and two TDs and he completed four passes for 85 yards. Shearer played at Bandys through his sophomore year.
WR Malachi Coston caught six passes for 153 yards and one TD for R-S Central,
HIBRITEN (0-1) at HUNTER HUSS (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Hibriten was limited to 93 rushing yards and 142 yards in total offense in a season-opening home loss, 36-8, to East Lincoln.
Panthers head coach Sam Mackey is 26-8 and in his fourth season.
Research shows Hibriten as 6-1 against Gaston County teams since 1980 with wins over Highland Tech, East Gaston and Cherryville in previous trips there.
Hunter Huss fell 45-0 to Hickory Ridge last Friday in the first game of the season.
FORESTVIEW (0-1) at EAST LINCOLN, 7:30 p.m.
East Lincoln gave head coach David Lubowicz career win No. 34 last Friday, winning 36-8 at Hibriten.
Mustangs QB Ty Mizzell went 15-21-0 for 196 yards with four TDs, WR Markell Clark had seven catches for 79 yards and RB Virgil Bingham Jr. added 89 rushing yards on nine carries.
Forestview gained only nine yards on 20 carries in a 42-0 loss to Burns but QB Jaxson Hill went 17-25-1 for 134 yards.
LAKE NORMAN (1-0) at NORTH IREDELL (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Freshman Mozes Morris had nine carries for 107 yards and one score and the Wildcats ran for nearly 300 yards in a 55-0 win over West Iredell last Thursday.
The Wildcats’ defense came up with four interceptions.
In a 44-7 loss to South Iredell last Friday, the Raiders’ only score was a 13-yard run by Will Akers.’
STATESVILLE (1-0) at
SOUTH IREDELL (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
WR Titus Myers had a TD reception and he and Steve Smith had interceptions as Statesville opened the season last Friday by beating Carson 30-0.
The Vikings opened with a 44-7 win over North Iredell.
Rydell Cowan debuted as head coach at Statesville.
ASHE COUNTY (1-0) at
NORTH WILKES (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Huskies opened their season with a 51-36 road victory over Wilkes Central.
North Wilkes ran 80 plays in its season-opening 43-14 victory over Elkin.