Mother Nature left her mark on Week 1 of the 2019 high school football season, although most area games were able to be played last Friday. The only postponed contest was Statesville at Hickory, which was held this past Monday.
Hopefully the weather remains clear for Week 2, as the following games involving teams in Catawba, Caldwell and Alexander counties are scheduled to take place tonight (all games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted):
Bandys (1-0) vs. Fred T. Foard (0-1), Garry Butler Memorial Stadium in Catawba
The Trojans traveled to St. Stephens last week and totaled over 500 yards of offense — 482 on the ground — in a 36-15 win over the Indians. Junior running back Isaiah Gilchrist had 17 carries for 171 yards, while senior fullback Josh Williams added seven carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns and junior quarterback Jackson Spicer finished with 11 carries for 63 yards and two scores. Williams and fellow senior Josh Ellis were also superb on defense as the linebacking duo combined for 32 tackles (18 and 14, respectively), while senior safety Hunter Jones had eight tackles (3 solo) and an interception.
Elsewhere, the Tigers lost at home to Maiden, falling behind 41-0 in the third quarter before scoring 24 second-half points in a 48-24 defeat. Foard actually outgained the Blue Devils on the ground with 40 carries for 214 yards, led by senior running back Corey Siemer’s 18 carries for 117 yards and a TD, but the Tigers allowed 209 passing yards and turned the ball over twice. They also committed 10 penalties totaling 95 yards, including several personal foul infractions.
Bandys won 49-14 last year in Newton, snapping a three-game losing streak against Foard. The Tigers had won the previous three meetings by an average of 9.7 points.
Bunker Hill (0-1) vs. St. Stephens, Bunker Hill Stadium in Claremont
The Bears and Indians will both be searching for their first wins of 2019 when they face off tonight. St. Stephens has won the last five meetings between the teams, including a 44-6 home victory a season ago. However, the Indians have lost four of their last five games dating back to last season, their only win coming in a 28-21 road triumph over Hickory in the 2018 season finale.
On the other side, Bunker Hill is on a three-game losing streak dating back to last year. The Bears last tasted victory against East Burke, winning 26-21 on Oct. 12, 2018. That marked one of only two wins for the Bears in 2018, their other coming in a 37-20 victory over Draughn the previous week. Bunker Hill lost 44-14 at Newton-Conover a week ago, allowing 34 first-half points to dig itself an early hole.
St. Stephens moved the ball fairly well last week, finishing with 198 rushing yards and 56 passing yards in a home loss to Bandys. Junior running back Zak McLauchlin had 23 carries for 110 yards and a TD, while junior quarterback Connor Williams completed 8 of 15 passes for 56 yards and a score, including four completions to senior wide receiver Zach Lee (43 receiving yards).
Hickory (0-1) vs. Hibriten (0-1), Frank Barger Stadium in Hickory
In addition to playing on a short week, the Red Tornadoes will also have to contend with a Hibriten squad coming off its first regular-season loss since Oct. 30, 2015, when they welcome the Panthers to town tonight. Hibriten lost at home to Alexander Central last Friday, allowing 14 fourth-quarter points in the 28-19 defeat to snap a 34-game regular-season winning streak.
Hickory last beat Hibriten in 2012, when the Red Tornadoes earned two wins over the Panthers. Following a 21-13 victory in the regular season, Hickory defeated Hibriten 35-17 in the first round of the state playoffs. The Red Tornadoes haven’t won a playoff game since that 2012 season, which was also the last year they posted a winning record (8-5).
The turnover bug bit both squads last week, as sophomore quarterback Jack Tomlinson threw three interceptions for Hickory in a 40-12 home loss to Statesville and Hibriten junior quarterback Daren Perry was picked off four times by the Cougars. The question is, which team will clean things up and get in the win column first?
Maiden (1-0) vs. South Caldwell (1-0), Thomas E. Brown Stadium in Maiden
The Blue Devils and Spartans both enjoyed comfortable wins in Week 1, as Maiden earned a 24-point road victory over Foard and South Caldwell cruised to a 60-7 home win over West Caldwell. Maiden was paced by the efforts of sophomore quarterback Ethan Rhodes, who completed 10 of 14 passes for 204 yards and two TDs while carrying five times for 12 yards and two more scores.
On the ground, the Blue Devils got 14 carries for 98 yards and two TDs from junior running back Amarion Craig, while five different players caught passes including senior wide receiver Dylan Abernethy (6-78 and 1 TD) and junior wideout Brennan James (1-65 and 1 TD). Meanwhile, South Caldwell received 12 carries for 162 yards and four TDs from senior running back Spencer Piercy, with junior quarterback Avery Raynor adding 129 total yards (66 rushing, 63 passing, 2 total TDs).
The last time Maiden and South Caldwell faced off, the Blue Devils won 67-28 in Hudson on Sept. 16, 2016. The year prior to that, the Spartans beat Maiden 49-26 in Maiden during Butch Carter’s last season as South Caldwell’s head coach.
Alexander Central (1-0) at Wilkes Central (1-0), Wes Steele Stadium in Moravian Falls
The Cougars should be a confident bunch after upsetting Hibriten last week in Lenoir. The Panthers captured the 2017 2AA state title and had won 34 consecutive regular-season games before their loss to Alexander Central a week ago. Senior running back Steven Montgomery played a huge part in the win, finishing with 211 yards and two TDs on 24 carries, but fellow senior AJ Miller was also huge for the Cougars with 11 carries for 89 yards and a score.
Junior quarterback Lance Justice played well against Hibriten as well, particularly on the ground, as the Cougars’ signal caller rushed 14 times for 41 yards and a TD. Defensively, Alexander Central was aided by four interceptions, getting two apiece from Miller and senior defensive back Bryson Abernathy.
Wilkes Central earned a 15-12 victory in its season opener at North Iredell, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in a contest that ended at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday after being delayed nearly three hours due to lightning and rain. After jumping ahead 7-0 early, the Eagles struggled in the second half before winning the game in exciting fashion on a 70-yard TD pass from sophomore Cortlan Clark to senior Ethan Dobson.
West Caldwell (0-1) at North Wilkes (1-0), Raner Wiles Stadium in Hays
The Warriors managed just one TD in a 53-point road loss to South Caldwell last week, scoring in the first quarter before being held scoreless the rest of the way. West Caldwell’s lone TD came from junior running back Isaiah Gause, who had eight carries for 49 yards.
Junior quarterback Faizon Dickson added a 42-yard pass to senior wide receiver Devonte Davenport and carried five times for 17 yards, but the Warriors didn’t do much else on offense. Sophomore defensive back Makyis Dula led the defense with 11 tackles (8 solo) and a pass deflection.
North Wilkes knocked off North Forsyth 35-18 at home last Friday. Senior running back Dylan Church spearheaded the Vikings’ attack with 39 carries for 205 yards and three TDs, while sophomore quarterback Cole Chipman completed 8 of 17 passes for two scores.