Smith: Week 3 and everyone's back to school
The term student-athlete is officially in full swing around the area.
Most schools started school Monday, meaning the first two weeks of football were more geared toward chemistry on the gridiron than chemistry in the classroom. Now, both matter and it’s where we have to respect these players even more.
It’s not easy to maintain grades and still put your heart and soul on the field every week, but these players pull it off. Flourish on.
This week is a little different with two slates of games this week. Graham Hill and I will broadcast the Kinston-Wilson Fike contest Thursday on the Neuse News Facebook page and follow up with Arendell Parrott Academy and Williamston Bear Grass Charter the next day.
Meanwhile, Bryan Hanks and Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Smith will be at the South Lenoir-North Duplin contest Thursday.
By the way, this will be the last week without predictions on my end. After this week, I would’ve seen enough to make relatively educated guesses.
Wilson Fike (1-1) at Kinston (2-0), 7 p.m. (Listen live on the Neuse News Facebook page)
When these teams play, a good game is expected. With the exception of the Vikings’ 55-8 exorcism of the Demons in 2015, the past five years have displayed close match-ups. Kinston won 21-18 in 2017 and Fike blocked an extra point with 1:30 to go to secure at 21-20 victory the last time the Demons went to Viking Field. The other match-ups were decided in single digits, won by Fike 41-34 in 2013 and 21-12 in 2014.
Kinston and Fike have met 27 times in a series that started in 1970; Fike leads it 17-10. With Thursday's 28th meeting, it'll mean Fike is the third most-common opponent Kinston has faced in its history -- the Vikings have played Greenville Rose 36 times and Goldsboro 32 times.
North Duplin (1-1) at South Lenoir (1-0), 7 p.m. (tape-delayed on WRNS 960-AM "The Bull" at 9 a.m., Friday)
The Blue Devils played well in the second half against Jones Senior to secure a 20-12 victory in their home opener, but have their work cut out against a Rebels team that went 14-1 last year and lost in the NCHSAA 1A state championship game. Although North Duplin won last year’s meeting 42-6, the last time the Rebels came to Deep Run, South Lenoir pulled off a thrilling 44-36 double overtime victory.
South Lenoir and North Duplin are tied overall 8-8 in a series that dates back to 1965. South Lenoir's eight wins vs. the Rebels are tied for the seventh-most they have against any opponent.
Williamston Bear Grass Charter (1-1) at Arendell Parrott Academy (0-1)
The Patriots have had two weeks to stew after the 58-48 season-opening loss to Rocky Mount Academy on Aug. 17 and will be ready to play a historic game.
This is the first time in 29 years Parrott will play an 11-man game and given the opportunity, it won’t be the team’s last in 2018. If any NCHSAA team has an open date on Sept. 14 — Winston-Salem Quality Education Academy had to drop the game — the Patriots will travel to your field and compete.
The last time APA played an 11-man game was on Nov. 3, 1989, when the Patriots defeated Wilson Christian 33-0. The Patriots started 8-man football in 1990 and immediately won the state title that year.
APA will also be looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 2008; the Patriots finished 3-7 that season in Kinston-Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame coach Bill Rowe's final season.
Ayden-Grifton (1-1) at East Duplin (1-1)
A pair of perennial playoff teams go at it with both looking to get on the right track after last week. The Chargers fell to Pamlico County, 38-28, while the Panthers lost to Jacksonville 35-21. The previous meeting didn’t go so well for Ayden-Grifton at home, falling 58-6, but there’s a chance to pick up some revenge in Beulaville.
North Pitt (0-2) at Greene Central (1-1)
The Rams have dominated this match-up over the past four seasons, winning each game by 14 or more, including a 20-6 victory last year. Greene Central’s two games of the season has been decided by a combined seven points, which may change against a Panthers squad that had trouble moving the ball on Kinston last week, registering just 62 yards offensively.
The Rams and Panthers -- longtime members of the Eastern Plains 2A, a league where North Pitt is still a member -- have played each other every year since 1971, making Friday's game their 48th. GC leads the overall series 29-18; the 29 wins are the third-most the Rams have against any opponent (39 wins vs. Aycock; 38 vs. North Lenoir).
Jones Senior (0-2) at East Carteret (1-1)
Former Coastal Plains 1A foes go at it in Beaufort as the Trojans look to recover after losing a 12-0 lead against South Lenoir last week in a defeat. Trying to get in the winning column against the Mariners will be a tough ordeal as East Carteret has recorded consecutive shutouts against Jones Senior, including a 48-0 win last season.
Open: North Lenoir, Bethel Christian
Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks contributed to this report.