Week 3 of the 2019 high school football season has arrived, and plenty of intrigue surrounds tonight’s matchups. In the Hickory Daily Record ’s 11-team coverage area spanning Catawba, Caldwell and Alexander counties, there will be two meetings between undefeated teams, one between winless squads and three featuring a 1-1 team against a winless one.
Here’s a glance at what’s on tap for Week 3 (all games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted):
South Caldwell (2-0) vs. Bandys (2-0), Spartan Stadium in Hudson
South Caldwell was excited after a 60-7 home win over West Caldwell in the opener, but last week’s 14-13 road victory over Maiden was probably an even bigger statement for the Spartans, who can match their win total from a season ago with a win tonight. Junior quarterback Avery Raynor threw four interceptions — two more than he threw all of last season — but finished with 18 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown to go with senior running back Spencer Piercy’s 12 carries for 73 yards.
Two weeks after winning its home opener for the first time since a 31-0 rout of Bandys in 2015, South Caldwell will look to remain undefeated while handing the Trojans their first loss of 2019 and their first regular-season road loss since a 28-27 defeat at Hickory on Sept. 12, 2018. Meanwhile, Bandys will attempt to continue its success on the ground after gobbling up 788 rushing yards over the first two weeks.
The Trojans defeated St. Stephens 36-15 on the road in Week 1 before beating Fred T. Foard 27-7 last Friday in Catawba. Four rushers have already surpassed the century mark for Bandys, led by junior running back Isaiah Gilchrist’s 35 carries for 227 yards. Juniors Jackson Spicer (23 carries for 132 yards and 2 TDs) and Josh Williams (9 carries for 103 yards and 2 TDs) and senior Hunter Jones (9 carries for 103 yards and 1 TD) are the other Trojans with over 100 yards thus far.
Alexander Central (2-0) vs. Statesville (2-0), Cougar Stadium in Taylorsville
In another matchup of unbeaten squads, the Cougars host the Greyhounds tonight in Taylorsville. Senior running back Steven Montgomery has been the biggest standout for Alexander Central so far, totaling 38 carries for 325 yards and three scores, but fellow senior AJ Miller (13 carries for 112 yards and 1 TD) and junior Logan Justice (18 carries for 98 yards and 2 TDs) are major threats as well for a team that already has 611 yards and seven TDs on 82 carries.
Following a 28-19 road victory over Hibriten in Week 1, Alexander Central beat Wilkes Central 28-12 last week in Moravian Falls. The Cougars will try to continue their success at home, where they are 14-4 over the past three seasons and have finished at or above .500 in six of the last seven years.
Nevertheless, Statesville knows a little something about winning on the road. The Greyhounds have already collected road victories over Hickory (40-12) and Lake Norman (34-21) thanks to a balanced attack that has seen them rack up 410 rushing yards and 369 passing yards in their first two contests. Junior running back Chavion Smith has 27 carries for 255 yards and five scores, while junior quarterback Nebanye Moore has completed 18 of 28 passes for 348 yards and two TDs.
Hickory (0-2) vs. Newton-Conover (1-0), Frank Barger Stadium in Hickory
The Red Tornadoes are looking to right the ship after giving up 40-plus points in each of their first two games, including a 42-12 loss to Hibriten in last Friday’s home opener. Hickory played two games last week, losing to Statesville on Monday in a contest that was postponed from the previous Friday before falling to the Panthers four days later.
Senior running back Cody Young has been a bright spot for Hickory, registering 95 yards and two TDs on 24 carries in Week 2 after totaling 106 yards and a score on 16 carries against the Greyhounds. But the Red Tornadoes will need a stronger performance from their defense tonight against a Newton-Conover squad that is coming off a bye last week.
The Red Devils beat Bunker Hill 44-14 two weeks ago in Newton, with senior running back Allen Wilfong carrying 19 times for 83 yards and two TDs and junior quarterback Justice Craig completing 8 of 18 passes for 128 yards and a score. Junior Brandon Johnson also had a huge game for Newton-Conover, scoring three TDs in the first six minutes on a 50-yard reception, a 42-yard fumble return and 25-yard interception return.
Bunker Hill (0-2) vs. Maiden (1-1), Bunker Hill Stadium in Claremont
A week after suffering a one-point home loss at the hands of South Caldwell, the Blue Devils return to the road to battle another area opponent. Maiden has excelled away from home over the past four years, winning 20 of 22 regular-season road games since 2015.
On the other side, Bunker Hill hasn’t won more than two games since finishing 8-5 in 2013, but the Bears made positive strides against St. Stephens in a 21-13 home loss last Friday. Sophomore quarterback Carson Elder completed 15 of 20 passes for 120 yards and a TD, while junior Jay Abrams totaled 136 yards (70 receiving, 66 rushing) and a rushing score and sophomore Chadz Stevenson finished with 87 total yards (44 receiving, 43 rushing) and a receiving TD.
Maiden had a chance to take a third-quarter lead against South Caldwell last week, but its 2-point conversion failed before both teams were held scoreless in the fourth. However, Week 1 was a good one for the Blue Devils, who had 365 yards of offense in a 48-24 road win over Fred T. Foard.
Fred T. Foard (0-2) vs. Draughn (0-2), Tiger Stadium in Newton
Something has to give when the winless Tigers and Wildcats meet in both teams’ Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference opener. Last year, Foard handed Draughn a 54-7 loss on the Wildcats’ senior night behind Corey Siemer’s 18 carries for 284 yards and three TDs. And while the senior running back hasn’t appeared to be back to 100 percent yet following an offseason ankle injury, he has still rushed for 209 yards and two scores in losses to Maiden and Bandys.
Perhaps the Tigers can get on track against a Draughn team that has surrendered 56 points per game so far, albeit against talented squads West Lincoln and Freedom. Both teams have struggled to get off to strong starts on offense, with Foard scoring 24 of its 31 points in the second half and the Wildcats scoring 19 of their 27 points after halftime.
Hibriten (1-1) at Ashe County (0-2), Husky Stadium in West Jefferson
The Panthers bounced back in a big way last week at Hickory after losing at home to Alexander Central in Week 1. After throwing four interceptions against the Cougars, junior quarterback Daren Perry had seven carries for 45 yards and three scores while completing 3 of 5 passes for 105 yards and another TD. Additionally, junior fullback Zion Norwood had 11 carries for 93 yards and a TD and junior wide receiver Marcus Jones had two catches for 85 yards and a score in Hibriten’s 30-point win.
As for the Huskies, they are primarily a passing team, recording 622 yards through the air thus far compared to 29 carries for 60 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Dawson Cox has completed 41 of 81 passes for 622 yards and five TDs, but has also been picked off five times in losses to Avery County (53-33) and Watauga (56-7).
West Caldwell (0-2) vs. North Lincoln (1-1), Thuss Stadium in Lenoir
If the Warriors hope to earn their first win since 2017, they will have to stop a North Lincoln offense that already has 571 rushing yards and 237 passing yards. Following a 29-22 overtime loss to Parkwood on the road in Week 1, the Knights defeated East Rutherford 57-21 last Friday in Lincolnton.
Junior Jack Carter has six carries for 141 yards and two TDs to lead the Knights’ rushing attack, with sophomore Ty Williams adding 31 carries for 120 yards and senior Jake Soorus tallying 16 carries for 108 yards and two scores. Carter has also completed 5 of 6 passes for 114 yards and three TDs, while senior Landon Beard is 3 of 3 passing for 114 yards and senior Sam Brady has three receptions for 128 yards and one TD.
For West Caldwell, junior Isaiah Gause has 16 carries for 75 yards and a TD and sophomore Cameron Beaver has the Warriors’ other two TDs (1 rushing, 1 receiving).