09/08/06 — Friday forecast - Area teams deal with short week

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Friday forecast - Area teams deal with short week

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 8, 2006 2:17 PM

The dreaded "short week" is upon us.

We don't keep up with this sort of thing, though we probably should, but I think in the five football seasons that I've been at the News-Argus, we've had at least three, maybe four, Friday nights of football washed out because of some sort of tropical event.

Tropical Storm Florence might spare us next week ... hopefully. Still, we're in the peak of hurricane season, so we're not out of the woods, or water, yet.

But I'm an optimist more than a realist, so here's to hoping that we are.

I think everyone associated with high school football -- coaches, players, fans and writers alike -- could stand to go the next three months without hearing the word "postponed" again. I love high school football. But in the fall, our bodies and minds are geared for playing, watching or covering one game per week.

In a nutshell, "Friday nights" set high school football apart from every other sport on Earth. Playing two per week just doesn't seem right. Leave the Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays for the colleges and pros.

Nevertheless, the grind that was last Thursday-through-Tuesday is over and several area teams continued their winning ways. Another picked up that always-important first victory.

State-ranked James Kenan continued to roll on Saturday night by beating Farmville Central, while its neighbor, North Duplin, moved to 2-0 by pulling away at Topsail. Spring Creek and Josh Wright ran rough-shot over Midway to improve to 1-2.

Week 3, which actually encompassed parts of two weeks, wasn't as kind to others. Eastern Wayne had its chances to score and lost a heartbreaker to South Central. Southern Wayne was simply outmanned and outgunned in a lop-sided loss at home to Wilmington Hoggard. Rosewood battled in the second half on Tuesday, but Hobbton's running game and defense proved to be the difference.

Outside Wayne County; Union rolled past Princeton with a dominant third quarter, and North Lenoir lost to archrival Kinston in a shootout.

Greene Central's showdown at Charles B. Aycock was moved to Sept. 29 when both have an off week. By the way, I'm reserving the right to re-evaluate that pick when Week 7 rolls around.

On to Week 4 and back to some good ol' Friday night football.

Rivalries of the Week

Goldsboro (0-3) at C.B. Aycock (2-0) -- The Golden Falcons are the most rested team in the county as they've had nearly two weeks to gear up for this cross-county clash. The Cougars won their first game of the season Monday, but had to give it back when it was discovered they used an ineligible player. They'll need to play one of their best games of the season to get out of Pikeville as winners. Aycock has mixed the run and pass well in the early going, while the Cougars have struggled to find their rhythm in both aspects at times.

My pick -- Golden Falcons.

North Lenoir (0-2) at South Lenoir (1-2) -- North Lenoir put up a gallant effort against an improving and athletic Kinston squad on Saturday but remains winless. The Blue Devils are reeling since winning their opener against Spring Creek. Despite their lack of depth, the Hawks have more weapons on both sides of the ball and will be hungry after suffering a setback to the Blue Devils last season.

My pick -- Hawks.

Bounce Back of the Week

Southern Wayne (1-2) at Western Harnett (0-3) -- After losing two straight by a combined margin of 93 to a pair of state-ranked opponents (Wallace-Rose Hill and Wilmington Hoggard), the Saints get a break in the schedule with this trip to Lillington on Friday. The Eagles will be hungry to pick up their first win in front of their home faithful, but Southern Wayne should be able to get back on track against a more level playing field.

My pick -- Saints.

Identical Colors of the Week

Wilson Fike (0-2) at Eastern Wayne (1-1) -- The Battle of the Blues and Golds at Little Big Horn sounds more like a showdown in the Old West. This matchup should give the home team a chance to put up some big numbers as Fike is giving up close to 40 points per outing. If the Warriors capitalize on their scoring chances better than Monday against South Central and get Andrew Blevins and the running game going again, EW should be 2-1 heading into next Friday's game at D.H. Conley.

My pick -- Warriors.

Pupil vs. Teacher of the Week

Roanoke Rapids (0-3) at Rosewood (1-2) -- Roanoke Rapids coach Tim Bennett and Rosewood coach Daniel Barrow go back over 25 years when Barrow was an offensive backs coach during Bennett's playing days at Northern Durham. Bennett brings an inexperienced, winless club to take on a seasoned group of Eagles at Branch Pope Field. Rosewood will have to stop a capable passing game to come out with an even record.

My pick -- Yellow Jackets.

Undefeateds of the Week

Ayden-Grifton (2-0) at Greene Central (2-0) -- Different classifications, different conferences, but this is always a good rivalry matchup. The Rams seem to be gaining balance on offense and are always tough on defense. The Chargers are a little more one-dimensional with their running attack.

My pick -- Rams.

Carolinas vs. Super Sixs of the Week

Spring Creek (1-2) at Lakewood (1-1) -- The Gators seemed to have found their stride offensively with the old-school "I," but how much will losing complimentary back, Ronnie Butler, for five weeks hurt Roy Whitfield's squad? Lakewood beat a decent Red Springs team in week one, then lost to an even better East Carteret team on Monday.

My pick -- Leopards.

Princeton (1-2) at Midway (1-1) -- Expect Midway to be fuming after stumbling Monday at Spring Creek, which shouldn't bode well for the Bulldogs. Princeton put itself in position for its second win on Friday at home against Union as the 'Dawgs trailed just 14-3 at the half before a second-half explosion by the Spartans.

My pick -- Raiders.

Potential Blowout of the Week

James Kenan (3-0) at Heide Trask (1-0) -- This one was a 62-0 rout by the Tigers last year and Kenan is playing just as good, or better, than it was in 2005 at this time. Ken Avent Jr.'s bunch has dropped three straight 2-A teams, and the Titans will be the fourth.

My pick -- Tigers.

Forecaster's fortune: Last week -- 6-3. Overall -- 12-7.