Can Bunker Hill pull a stunner and knock
off Newton-Conover at Gurley Stadium?
By CHRIS HOBBS
A brief look at Friday’s varsity football season-opening games involving teams from the South Fork 2A, Northwestern Foothills 2A and Northwestern 3A-4A:
BUNKER HILL at
NEWTON-CONOVER, 7:30 p.m.
The Red Devils, 4-7 last season, begin their second season under head coach Steven Pack by chasing their sixth consecutive first-game win. The Bears, 2-9 last year and 6-32 against Newton-Conover since 1981, have won five times in Gurley Stadium in that span.
LISTEN TO THIS GAME: http://www.mytotalradio.com/wnnc/
MAIDEN at FRED T. FOARD, 7:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils start their fourth season under head coach Will Byrne by chasing their 16th consecutive win in Tigers Stadium. Maiden went 8-4 last year and Foard, welcoming Ryan Gettys back as head coach for a second tenure, went 6-6 a year ago. Gettys last led the Tigers in 2010.
BANDYS at ST. STEPHENS, 7:30 p.m.
The Trojans, coming off a 12-2 season, go for their fourth straight season-opening win over the Indians, 4-7 last season, and Bandys has won 12 of its last 13 trips to Springs Road. Bandys head coach Tom Eanes, in his second season there, will coach in his 350th career game and has 159 victories.
at HIBRITEN, 7:30 p.m.
Sam Mackey debuts as the Panthers’ head coach, after a 14-1 season, and they’ve beaten the Cougars only once in six tries at Hibriten since 1982. Alexander Central, 9-3 a year ago, goes for career win No. 131 for head coach Butch Carter.
LISTEN TO THIS GAME: http://www.gofoothills.com/stations/kicks-103-3/
DRAUGHN at WEST LINCOLN, 7:30 p.m.
Darren Ponder debuts as West Lincoln’s head coach as the Rebels and Wildcats battle in a season-opener for the fifth straight year. While Draughn went 1-10 last season, West Lincoln went 9-3 and set a school record for single-season wins.
SHELBY at FREEDOM, 7:30 p.m.
Mike Wilbanks debuts as head coach at Shelby, last year’s 2AA state champion, and the Golden Lions have won 12 straight since an early season loss to Crest in 2018. Freedom, 9-3 last year, opens against Shelby for the fifth straight year and has lost four straight in the series.
at EAST BURKE, 7:30 p.m.
Mark Buffamoyer begins his third season as head coach at East Burke, coming off a 1-10 season. Highland Tech went 4-7 and the Rams are the first Gaston County team to play a regular-season game in Icard since Ashbrook in 1984.
STATESVILLE at HICKORY, 7:30 p.m.
Statesville head coach Randall Gusler goes for his 100th win as the Greyhounds and Red Tornadoes meet in a season-opener for the 15th consecutive year. Statesville was 9-4 last year and HHS, which has lost six straight and 10 of the last 11 against the Greyhounds, finished 5-6.
at SOUTH CALDWELL, 7:30 p.m.
Mike Biggerstaff, whose last game as a head coach was at East Burke in 2008, starts his second tenure as Warriors head coach. He came out of retirement with hopes of turning things around for West Caldwell, 0-11 last year. South Caldwell, 3-8 a year ago, plays its 14th first game against the Warriors since 1981 but it’s their first season-opening battle since 2004.
NORTH LINCOLN at PARKWOOD, 7:30 p.m.
Coming off a 10-4 first season with the Knights, Nick Bazzle starts his 19th season as a head coach when North Lincoln visits Parkwood, 2-9 last season. Bazzle starts the year with 139 career wins.
NORTH BUNCOMBE, 7:30 p.m.
Two teams that each went 6-6 start the new season with Jonathan Browning starting his second season at Patton against a team guided by former Freedom head coach Brandon Allen.
McDOWELL at R-S CENTRAL, 7:30 p.m.
Darrell Brewer debuts as Titans head coach, taking over a team that went 4-8 a year ago, and the Hilltoppers went 2-9 last season. That included a 15-point loss to the Titans in Marion to start the 2018 season.
ASHEVILLE ROBERSON at WATAUGA, 7:30 p.m.
The seventh season in Boone for head coach Ryan Habich kicks off with a rematch of last year’s season-opening game won 36-12 by the Pioneers in Asheville. Watauga finished 13-1 last season and Roberson went 3-8.
WEST IREDELL at
WINSTON-SALEM ATKINS, 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors start their fifth season under head coach Monte Simmons, a former Hibriten assistant, when they battle Atkins, which went 1-10 last year by winning its final game of the year against Winston-Salem Carver. The Warriors went 5-6.
at LAKE NORMAN CHARTER, 7:30 p.m.
Bob McKay, who coached Lake Norman Charter to a 22-24 record from 2010 through 2013, is back as head coach. The Knights were 2-9 last season and Southlake, 7-5 a year ago, is playing its first game under head coach Cheron Farley.