Smith: We Can't Have Friday Night Football, Can We
Should we just get rid of the phrase “Friday Night Lights” entirely in Eastern North Carolina?
It seems like we’ve been playing games every day this season except the one allegedly dedicated to high school football. Seriously, the crew here at Neuse News has covered games from Monday through Saturday, and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Sunday affair out of spite. The weather has thrown games around to a level I’ve never experienced in my 11 years and this week will be no different.
Hurricane Florence definitely made its presence felt in the season. Also, most players and fans wouldn’t want to play in conditions Bryan Hanks and I witnessed last week in Lasker when Bethel Christian took on Northeast Academy — sideways rain and wind from a colder storm. I guess bad weather is only available on Friday so, let’s get ready for another weirdly placed game day.
At least this will be more entertaining than the NFL’s Thursday night game between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. Plus, the NeuseNews.com Post Game Show presented by Chris Humphrey Allstate will be on at 10:30 p.m. Shameless plug, but it’s out there.
Now, on to the slate of games with kickoffs set for 7 p.m.
Kinston (8-0) at North Lenoir (0-7)
This is certainly a tale of two seasons with the Vikings looking to stay undefeated and the Hawks still looking for the inaugural victory in the Jim Collins era. North Lenoir will look to prove Monday’s big loss to South Lenoir is in the rear view while Kinston will look to not only clinch a share of the Eastern Carolina Conference title for the first time since 2015, but also give Ryan Gieselman his 54th victory, which would be the most by a Lenoir County public school coach in history.
South Lenoir (2-6) at Spring Creek (1-8)
The Blue Devils might have played their most complete game in Jeremy Joyner’s three years at the helm, overwhelming the Hawks Monday and bringing the Braggin’ Bowl trophy back to Deep Run for the first time since 2009. The attention now shifts to a Gators team falling to Goldsboro 60-6 on Oct. 25, but hadn’t scored a point in the previous four games. South Lenoir can’t get complacent in its quest for its first winning streak since September 2016.
Ayden-Grifton (5-4) at Greene Central (6-3)
This will certainly be the game to watch in the area as the Rams are looking to stay in contention for a share of the ECC title with wins against the Chargers and next week versus Kinston. On the other side, Ayden-Grifton is ready to get back on the field after losing a 14-point second-half lead against West Craven to fall 16-14. Both teams are capable of doing damage in the postseason, and this game will be a confidence booster to one.
Jones Senior (0-7) at Pinetown Northside (3-7)
If there’s one positive the Trojans can take from Tuesday’s 66-6 loss to Tarboro, it’s this: Jones Senior bumped up the Vikings’ scoring defense average to 2.5 points per game. It was tough for the Trojans, but they’ll face a Panthers team on a 7-game skid in the process.
In other news, Jones Senior might be taking Ironman football a little too far. I somewhat understand playing two games a week to make up for Florence, but Tuesday and Thursday? That’s tough.