Garner Cleveland: Sports

Football Focus: A look ahead to Friday’s games

Clayton finished up a 4-0 run against Johnston County opponents in non-conference play with a win over Smithfield-Selma last week.
Clayton finished up a 4-0 run against Johnston County opponents in non-conference play with a win over Smithfield-Selma last week. newsobserver.com

Friday Matchups

Clayton (4-0) at Fuquay-Varina (2-1), 7

Clayton coach Randy Pinkowski perfectly described this old rivalry early this week when he referred to the contest as going “to an old neighbor’s house.” The Clayton-Fuquay-Varina rivalry dates back more than 50 years and seems to always produce hard-hitting, work-to-earn-everything-you-get battles. This year should be no exception. Plus, the last two games have been one-point Bengal victories.

The Bengals have been solid since a surprising opening-week loss to Millbrook. Clayton will be playing its first non-Johnston County opponent this season.

Corinth Holders (3-1) at C.B. Aycock (3-1), 7:30

Both teams are off to great starts and their lone losses have come against really good teams: Corinth Holders’ against 4-0 Clayton, and Aycock’s against 1A power Goldsboro.

The Golden Falcons are at home but it would be tough to call home a big factor when it comes to the Pirates, who have won their last five regular-season games on the road.

Cleveland (2-2) at Southern Wayne (2-2), 7:30

Cleveland gets together with what qualifies as an “longtime opponent” in former conference foe Southern Wayne. The Rams won both meetings when the two were in the Eastern Carolina 3A Conference together. Both teams are capable of scoring in bunches. Southern Wayne has scored 48 or more in its two wins and averages just more than 40 a game.

Cleveland is averaging 33 a night but is giving up 42 on average. That needs to improve for the Rams to stay perfect against the Saints.

Coach Speak

David Lawhon

Smithfield-Selma Coach

“Clayton is a good football team. They’re going to go a long way. They’re strong and they’re very good at what they do.”

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