Draughn, Foard play first league game of 2019 season
By CHRIS HOBBS
A brief look at Friday’s varsity football games involving teams from the South Fork 2A, Northwestern Foothills 2A and Northwestern 3A-4A:
DRAUGHN (0-2) at
FRED T. FOARD (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats and Tigers meet for the third time, this time in an early Northwestern Foothills 2A battle that will be the area’s first league game of the season.
Foard has won both previous games, one at home and one away, and rolled 54-7 last year in Valdese when returning RB Corey Siemer ran for 284 yards and three TDs.
MAIDEN (1-1) at BUNKER HILL (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils look to continue to dominate their series with the Bears as former Maiden WR Will Byrne guides his alma mater for the 39th time.
It’s been a long time – see our premium content game previews for exact details – since Bunker Hill beat Maiden in varsity football.
Maiden rolled 49-0 last season at Maiden but one of the Blue Devils’ leaders in that game plays elsewhere now and another has changed positions.
at HICKORY (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
They’ve met 29 times since 1980, and the Red Devils have won 18 of those and enjoyed a lot of that success in the previous 15 years.
Hickory snapped a four-game losing streak in the series last year, winning 35-6 in Newton, in a game that returning RB Allen Wilfong of the Red Devils ran for 147 yards.
at SOUTH CALDWELL (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The sixth game that will go in the book in the series (they played a seventh but only six are in the record books), and it’s their first matchup since a 2016 game Bandys won in Catawba.
Bandys last won in Hudson in a 1993 season-opening game, 32-23.
EAST BURKE (1-1) at FREEDOM (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The famous Fat Friday game… and they don’t come any bigger than this one as far as rival games.
Freedom won 55-13 a year ago, its ninth straight win in the series, and the Patriots lead the series 27-18 and have not lost to the Cavs in Morganton since 2008.
Returning QB Jayden Birchfield had a hand in 34 points in last season’s game with a season-high 84 rushing yards and another 224 passing while returning RB Josh Moore ran for 151 yards for the Cavs.
STATESVILLE (2-0) at ALEXANDER CENTRAL (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Cougars started 6-0 last season and face a challenge tonight with a visit from the Greyhounds, who have two straight wins in the series.
Statesville is 9-8 in their previous 17 games against the Cougars since 1980, last winning in Taylorsville 77-43 in 2015.
The teams did not play last year.
Could tonight’s game again approach 120 combined points? Yep.
NORTH LINCOLN (1-1) at WEST CALDWELL (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Knights continue their 17th year of varsity football, going for their 70th victory as they visit a struggling Warriors program that went back to its past to try to find a way to turn it around.
Mike Biggerstaff — who won 75 games at West Caldwell in his first tenure — is back as head coach.
West Caldwell has lost 16 straight games, and last won an outright league title in Biggerstaff’s final year there (1987).
The team did not play a year ago, and Knights head coach Nick Bazzle just picked up career win No. 140 last Friday.
HIBRITEN (1-1) at ASHE COUNTY (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
New head coach Sam Mackey will try to keep the Panthers unbeaten against Ashe County, as they’ve played nine times since 2001 and Hibriten has won all nine meetings.
The Panthers have won three straight conference titles and are 45-3 in their last 48 games. That includes a 56-14 win over Ashe County last year in Lenoir.
A returnee for Hibriten is PK Griffon Bryson, who hit his only field goal of last year (27 yards) in that win over Ashe County.
PATTON (0-2) at McDOWELL (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
McDowell has won the two previous meetings, 42-7 at Patton and last year’s 35-13 win in Marion. It’s an endowment game originally scheduled at Patton but moved to Titans Stadium.
Patton’s victory a year ago featured returning QB Weston Fleming’s 75 yards of total offense and returning RB Bryson Ratliff gaining 57 yards and scoring half of his six rushing TDs in this game.
CHERRYVILLE (1-1) at WEST LINCOLN (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Rebels go for a 2-0 start and their 11th win in the last 14 games with a battle against the Ironmen.
West Lincoln started 4-0 last season, including winning 48-7 when RBs Brendon Ikard and Natakathon Phansook combined for 303 rushing yards and five rushing scores.
Darren Ponder is going for a 2-0 start as head coach of the Rebels, who have reached the state playoffs three straight seasons.
EAST LINCOLN (1-0) at ASHBROOK (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
RB Lucas McConnell, who had 37 yards rushing in the Mustangs’ 30-14 win over the Green Wave at home last season, returns.
Last year’s big stars, QB Chase Jones (14 of 30, 164 yards) and WR Sidney Dollar (season-high eight catches for 99 yards), graduated.
LINCOLNTON (0-2) at
NORTH GASTON (1-1), 7 p.m.
The Wolves need a victory to avoid starting 0-3 for the second straight season and going winless in the first three games for new head coach Joe Glass.
North Gaston won last season in Lincolnton, 8-7, despite a scoring pass by returning Wolves QB E.J. Manjarres.
Stuart Cramer beat Lincoln by three in a season-opening game and South Point won 12-0 last Friday at Lincolnton.
North Gaston won its opener two weeks ago at East Gaston, 21-14.
WATAUGA (2-0) at
WINSTON-SALEM REAGAN (2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Watauga continues to make chase of three straight 10-win seasons something it hasn’t done in records dating back to the late 1970s.
The Pioneers were 13-0 last season when they were eliminated from the state playoffs, and they are 58-20 since head coach Ryan Habich arrived seven years ago.
Reagan, which did not play Watauga last year, has started with a 14-7 win at Mount Tabor and a 42-0 win over North Forsyth.
UNION ACADEMY (1-0) at
LAKE NORMAN CHARTER (0-2), 7 p.m.
The Knights added tonight’s game after their schedule was released and will chase their first win of the second tenure of Bob McKay as head coach.
Union Academy, 3-8 last year, opened with a 36-13 victory over South Stanly while Lake Norman Charter has dropped game to SouthLake Christian (55-16) and Pine Lake Prep (20-14, OT).
QB Jeff Womack has played well early for Lake Norman Charter.