Smith: Show up or get shown up
Now we’re getting into the meat of the schedule.
As the 2018 prep football season reaches the climax, the margin for error is limited. Although Hurricane Florence knocked the state off of its axis, all but one team in the area has at least a game under their belts (and Jones Senior will be back in action Tuesday against Williamston Riverside.)
Hurricane Michael delayed some action and moved up another contest (South Lenoir fell to Washington 50-8 Wednesday), but we’re starting to see a bit more normalcy.
Here’s the slate of games of today and Saturday, along with the times:
West Craven (2-3) at Greene Central (5-2), 7 p.m.
Do not be fooled by the Eagles’ record, as the three losses came to 3A or 4A teams with a combined record of 15-3, including undefeated Havelock and South Central. Still, the Rams should’ve knocked off the Falcons in the season-opener and have been quietly working on a three-game winning streak, including a pair last week.
Greene Central had the defending ECC champions on the ropes last year before falling 37-30 and want to get some revenge for Homecoming.
The Rams and Eagles played each other every year from 1985-96 before restarting their series last year. West Craven is 13-0 all-time vs. Greene Central.
Raleigh Grace Christian (1-4) at Arendell Parrott Academy (4-2), 7 p.m.
The Patriots bounced back last week with a 46-28 victory over Rocky Mount Academy, not only getting revenge for a season-opening loss against the Eagles, but staying on pace for a No. 2 seed in the state playoffs.
Although Grace Christian shouldn’t put up much resistance, APA can’t look ahead to what would be a pivotal matchup with Rocky Mount Faith Christian the following week. The Patriots should be strictly about business in this one.
APA is 3-0 all-time vs. Grace Christian in a series that started in 2015. The Patriots have outscored the Eagles, 159-36 in the three games, including last year’s 52-18 victory in Raleigh.
Bethel Christian (2-3) at Wilson Community Christian (1-5), 7 p.m.
The Trojans have started to find their way as the season has progressed. Even though the team fell to Lasker Northeast Academy 54-40 last week, Bethel nearly erased a 28-point deficit in the second half with a chance to tie late in the contest.
The Trojans picked up their first win of the season with a school record in points scored against Community Christian in a 76-18 game, and will look to have similar success against the Cyclones tonight.
North Lenoir (0-4) at Vance County (1-6), 1 p.m.
The Hawks were able to play their first game since Sept. 7 last week and although Greene Central defeated them 42-26, there were some positives North Lenoir can take, especially with a spirited second-half effort. The Vipers will provide a challenge as the Hawks try to pick up their inaugural win under first-year coach Jim Collins.
Although Vance County has allowed 33 points or more in each loss, the Vipers played Bunn tough before losing 44-42 in double overtime last week. Vance County is a new school that combined the former Northern Vance and Southern Vance high schools.
Ayden-Grifton (4-2) at Kinston (5-0), 3 p.m.
This will be the game to watch as these teams have been bastions of consistency for years. Kinston looks well on its way to an 11th straight trip to the postseason while Ayden-Grifton will see its 17th. The teams have the best offenses (the Vikings are averaging 39.2 points per game, Chargers 31.7) and defenses (Ayden-Grifton allows 14.7 points per game, Kinston 15.4) in the ECC.
The Vikings will also look to defeat the Chargers for the first time since 2015, although the last two matches were decided by a combined seven points, including Ayden-Grifton’s dramatic 27-26 victory last year in Little Hollywood.
Kinston is 4-8 all-time vs. the Chargers in a series that has been played in 1973-76, 1987-88 and every year since 2015.
Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks contributed to this report. And this week’s Post Game Show presented by Chris Humphrey Allstate has been moved to Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 due to the storm’s impact on the games’ schedules. We’re expecting some new and exciting guests! Stay tuned.