Smith: Seasoning and sauce for Week 4
I wanted to start this week’s column with a paraphrased quote from the great urban philosopher Radric Davis, but with my own spin:
“If a man does not have the sauce, then he is lost, but the same man can be lost in the sauce.”
In this game, flavor is absolutely necessary. Each team has to come out with a bit of an edge, setting the tone in practice and letting it translate to the game. If you don’t come prepared with the proper condiments, you’re going to be in for a rough time — but it can’t be overdone because teams have been upended when they least expect it due to heightened bravado.
In the same breath, I believe seasoning is much more important than sauce. If you’ve already prepared well prior to cooking there’s no need to saturate the food with additional products. The seasoning comes from game film, executing at practice, listening to coaches and simply playing disciplined football. Sauce it up from there, but know what truly sets the food off.
While I formulate a plan toward creating my own seasoning in reality, here’s the slate of Week 4 games (Thursday's game saw Kinston defeat Jones Senior, 49-6):
Southern Wayne (0-3) at North Lenoir (0-2)
One of these teams will get its first win of the season and North Lenoir seems primed to get it Friday. The Hawks defeated the Saints in their last four meetings and while three have been decided by six points or less, North Lenoir won last year’s meeting, 40-8. This will be a big one for the Hawks, as there will be a halftime dedication to the 2018 North Lenoir Hall of Fame and don’t want to fall to a team going through a 17-game skid.
South Lenoir (1-0) at Richlands (1-2)
The Blue Devils let one get away against North Duplin last week, with a trio of turnovers proving fatal. Still, it should be a welcoming sign for the South Lenoir faithful with the team out-gaining North Duplin 279-143. The Blue Devils will now look to get some payback against the Wildcats, who defeated South Lenoir 26-6 last season; however, the last time the teams played in Richlands back in 2016, South Lenoir won 20-14.
This is the 50th all-time meeting between the squads in a series dating back to 1965, with Richlands holding a 31-18 advantage. However, the 18 wins vs. Richlands is the most South Lenoir has against any program in its history.
Greene Central (2-1) at Eastern Wayne (1-2)
This could easily be the week where the Rams get some separation on an opponent. Greene Central’s games have been decided by a combined 12 points, although the Rams played a quarter-and-a-half in a 14-8 win over North Pitt last week. Greene Central has dominated Eastern Wayne in its last three meetings, outscoring the Warriors by a combined 109-35, including 40-21 last season.
Farmville Central (1-2) at Ayden-Grifton (1-2)
The Jaguars have played a pair of ECC teams close already, defeating North Lenoir by 21-14 Aug. 24 after falling to Kinston 28-23 a week prior. Another tough test awaits in the Chargers, who fell to a pair of tough opponents in Pamlico County and East Duplin in consecutive weeks. Ayden-Grifton generally starts slow and takes off in conference play, but this would be a big game to showcase its talent, similar to the season-opening 61-0 win against Chocowinity Southside.
Cary Christian (0-1) at Arendell Parrott Academy (1-1)
The Knights are in probably in the worst position right now — dealing with a 15-game skid and now facing a Patriots team excited to get back to 8-man football. Turnover issues have plagued APA in its first two games (11, including 10 lost fumbles) but after getting a win in their first 11-man football game since the first George Bush was in office, the Patriots will look to make an example of Cary Christian and show why they’re still a title contender.
APA is 10-3 all-time vs. Cary Christian, including the last six games in the series.
Northeast/Hobgood (1-0) at Bethel Christian (0-1)
The Trojans have plenty of positives to go off of while preparing to face the NCISAA 1A defending state champions. Despite having only two seniors on the roster last year, Bethel Christian only lost by six in a 70-64 shootout. It’s still a process for the Trojans, but after playing Halifax Academy tough in a 30-20 loss, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see BCA do more than just compete. Plus, Graham Hill and I have a penchant to see close games, so ...
Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks contributed to this report.