Smith: Welcome Back Jones Senior...and Friday's big matches
To Jones Senior, sorry I couldn’t attend the party.
Schedule conflicts were my downfall — otherwise, I would’ve been in Williamston Tuesday as the Trojans took on Riverside in their first game since Sept. 6. After taking numerous trips to Trenton and trying to inform the masses about what’s occurred during and after Hurricane Florence on the news side, it felt good to see the team finding a bit of normalcy while attending the first practice last week.
Although the 55-6 outcome wasn’t favorable, it paled into comparison to simply being back on the gridiron. The 22-yard touchdown pass from Detorian Brown to Dejour Brown had to feel good as well. Here’s to hoping the team has even better moments, especially through a five-game, three-week slate. Jones Senior has represented Ironman football well over the years and the area will be pulling for you.
Across the region, there is a titanic slate of games slated for Friday:
Kinston (6-0) at West Craven (3-3)
The Vikings turned a lot of heads with last week’s 28-7 victory over Ayden-Grifton and can essentially end the Eastern Carolina Conference race by dethroning the defending champs. The Eagles have won their two ECC games by a combined 63-6, including a 29-6 road victory over Greene Central last week, and the defense has allowed 15 combined points during their three-game winning streak. Kinston will bring their “A” game to Vanceboro, especially after falling to West Craven 25-23 last year.
Arendell Parrott (5-2) at Faith Christian (6-1)
These teams will play each other next week in the NCISAA semifinals, but this contest is all about who burns more gas on Oct. 26. The winner gets the No. 2 seed and determines whether the all-Patriots showdown for larger stakes takes place in Kinston or Rocky Mount. APA has picked up a pair of strong wins since falling to St. David’s Sept. 28, including last week’s 62-22 win over Grace Christian, but Faith Christian is on a four-game winning streak with two shutouts, outscoring its opposition 216-44 in the process.
Pungo Christian (3-3) at Bethel Christian (3-3)
The Trojans clinched a playoff spot after a 58-30 win over Community Christian last week, bouncing back after a 1-win 2017 with hopes to get their second state title since reinstating the program in 2016. The Raiders will look to get back on track after falling to Northeast Academy for the second time this season last week. In fact, both teams have fallen to Northeast Twice, lost once to Halifax Academy, beat Community Christian twice and Lawrence Academy once.
North Lenoir (0-6) at Ayden-Grifton (4-3)
It’s Homecoming Night in Little Hollywood, and the Chargers will be ready to get back on the field after falling to Kinston in what was a close game until the fourth quarter. The Hawks’ defense forced a trio of interceptions, including a pick-6, but is still looking for the first win of the season after falling 28-14 to Vance County. North Lenoir was able to pick up a 22-19 win over Ayden-Grifton last year and hope to crash the party in 2018.
Greene Central (5-3) at South Lenoir (1-5)
The Rams are another team on the receiving end of a loss due to a clash of titans, falling to West Craven. After its offense was stifled against West Craven, Greene Central travels to Deep Run to take on a South Lenoir team coming off a 50-8 defeat to Washington. The Blue Devils were able to move the ball in spurts and the running game showcased flashes last week against the Pam Pack. Meanwhile, the Rams will try to pick up their fourth straight six-win season, a feat last accomplished from 2004 to 2007.