The 2019 high school fall sports season began this week, and I had the chance to take in a couple of endowment games as the Hickory boys soccer team hosted East Lincoln and the Fred T. Foard volleyball squad entertained West Lincoln.
Both teams impressed me and I see successful seasons ahead for both as long as they can stay healthy. The Red Tornadoes have won at least 15 matches every year since 2014, while the Tigers are a perennial powerhouse that has reached 20 wins each of the last two seasons and has six state championship trophies to its name.
Speaking of state championships, Hickory head coach Brian Jillings remarked after Wednesday’s contest that East Lincoln has a chance to contend for a 2A state title this fall. I absolutely agree, as head coach Billy Howell’s bunch has solid athletes all over the field, led by senior twins Logan and Chase Gilley.
Fall sports kick into high gear next week, with plenty more soccer and volleyball matches on tap. JV football starts Thursday, while varsity football begins Friday. Area varsity football games this week include Maiden at Fred T. Foard, Bandys at St. Stephens, Bunker Hill at Newton-Conover, Alexander Central at Hibriten, West Caldwell at South Caldwell and Statesville at Hickory.
I haven’t yet decided where I’m going to be next Friday, but there are plenty of intra-county games to choose from. There’s also that matchup between Alexander Central and Hibriten, two of the top teams in not only the area but the state. Even if I don’t attend that contest, I will definitely be checking Twitter for updates throughout the night.
Twitter is a sports writers’ best friend, particularly during high school football season. Not only do I provide scoring updates of any game I cover, but I also tweet scores of other area contests as I receive them. With that said, make sure to follow @HDR_Sports on Twitter if you haven’t already. It will be the best place to find updates during Friday night football games, although I will also do my best to get scores on hickoryrecord.com and the Hickory Daily Record’s Facebook page as soon as I can following games.
Furthermore, just as a reminder, make sure you grab a copy of next Friday’s HDR. In addition to the regular sports section, which will include previews of the aforementioned football contests, you will also find our annual football preview section. I have spent more time on this section than anything else over my first month as sports editor, attending numerous practices and interviewing several coaches and players.
There’s a lot to be excited about right now. Any time a new season begins, hope springs eternal. Every team dreams of a successful season. But which squads will prove to be the cream of the crop in 2019?
Only time will tell.
Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record. Reach him at email@example.com.