Cleveland (1-0) at Garner (0-1), 7
So the roles are reversed from where both teams were entering last year’s clash when Cleveland was coming off of the tough loss and Garner was riding high after topping Middle Creek. Now, it’s the Trojans trying to bounce back.
In its opener, Garner’s offense was far from the juggernaut it became last year. Yes, Nyheim Hines got his yards but the Trojans didn’t have much else. Hines had a hand in 239 of Garner’s 290 offensive yards.
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Cleveland, meanwhile, had one of its most productive and impressive offensive nights in school history. Aaron Farmer was the poised, productive, clutch performer a third-year senior quarterback should be and Corey Brown and Daquan Goodwin were very productive runners as well.
That formula sounds a lot like the concoction the Rams worked up in last year’s wild second-half comeback over the Trojans. Garner must find a way to limit some of Cleveland’s offensive options.
On offense, the Trojans need to improve their passing attack. The Rams were susceptible to the pass against Clayton.
Last Year: Cleveland, 45-44
Bunn (0-1) at North Johnston (0-1), 7:30
The Wildcats took a somewhat surprising 28-0 loss at Wilson Fike in their opener and head to North looking to show more of the fast, varied offensive attack that was highly thought of in the preseason.
The Panthers struggled on defense in their opening loss to Louisburg last week, giving up 49 points. North’s offense showed very solid at times in the loss but will need to be more consistent.
Last Year: Bunn, 51-20
Corinth Holders (0-1) at Clayton (0-1), 7
Both teams came very close to notching exciting victories to open the season but fell victim to late game-winning drives. Both had the ball in the final seconds with hopes of a long pass salvaging win. Corinth Holders’ last pass was knocked away from a receiver near the goal line, while Clayton’s was tipped and intercepted in Cleveland territory.
On the bright side for Clayton, the new offensive approach looks like a winner. (See the 643 yards of total offense the Comets put up last week against Cleveland.) Defensively, the Comets need to improve up front. Cleveland banged out run after run where runners weren’t touched until they were five or more yards downfield.
The Pirates must hope their experience in a tight game on the road last week at Northern Nash will help them this week in what should be a packed stadium.
Last Year: Clayton, 16-14
West Johnston (1-0) at South Johnston (0-1), 7
West did things just the way it had hoped to do them in its season-opening win over Smithfield-Selma. The Wildcats relied on the production of Tre Frederick and Cameron Williams on offense and played great team defense to limit Smithfield-Selma to less than 20 yards in the first half.
South had as promising a debut as a team playing under a first-year head coach could have in a loss. The Trojans were within a touchdown of East Wake — a team expected to contend for a 4A conference championship — in the fourth quarter despite being outgained more than two-to-one in offensive yards.
This week, South has to find a way to be more productive on offense against West. The Wildcats would like to make it two straight great defensive performances heading into next week’s battle with high-scoring Cleveland.
Last Year: West Johnston, 24-0
Wake Christian (1-0) at Hickory Grove Christian (0-1), 7
Wake Christian’s in the exact same spot as it was after Week 1 last year, carrying a 1-0 mark into a meeting with Hickory Grove. That diid not mean much in last year’s tough loss. The Bulldogs know they will have to be even better than they were in the season’s opening week.
Last Year: Hickory Grove Christian, 48-0
Southern Wayne (0-1) at Smithfield-Selma (0-1), 7:30
Southern moved the ball at times against the defending 1AA state champions (James Kenan) in the state in its opener but didn’t get on the scoreboard. SSS got on the scoreboard but was stymied offensively for much of the game against West Johnston.
Somebody is going to be more consistent on offense and that team’s going to get its first victory Friday night.
Last Year: Southern Wayne, 48-14
Princeton (1-0) at Midway (1-0), 7:30
Princeton displayed a more varied offense than most would expect — i.e. not all Johnny Frasier all the time — in a win over East Carteret last week. Michael Wooten, Matthew Hewett and Nick Hare also scored touchdowns for the Bulldogs. That kind of balance and production will be needed again as the Bulldogs try to knock off a talented 2A squad this week.
Last Year: Midway, 14-7
Southeast Raleigh (1-0) vs. Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Socastee (1-0) at Myrtle Beach High, 5:45
Southeast coach Michael Thibodeau called his team’s season-opening win over Fayetteville Jack Britt “picture perfect.” That sets quite the standard for the Bulldogs in the early season.
This week, Southeast makes its second annual trip to Myrtle Beach to take part in the Carolinas Kickoff Clash, meeting Socastee — which went 12-1 last season and is making the move to the 4A ranks in South Carolina this season. It will be the Braves’ second straight game against an N.C. team. They beat West Brunswick 48-26 in the opening week.
Compiled by D. Clay Best