Yellow Jackets host familiar foe tonight
Athens Drive (1-1) at Lee County (2-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Athens Drive 36, Lee County 23
SANFORD - While Lee County is no longer a conference rival to Athens Drive, the rivalry will certainly continue on at least to tonight.
In the last Tri-Nine game between the Yellow Jackets and Jaguars, last October at Athens Drive, the Jaguars scored three defensive touchdowns, a safety and a return touchdown to upend a four-game Jacket winning streak.
Lee County still went on to a fine finish in its farewell to the Tri-Nine and the playoffs in its last 4A season. The bad night at Athens Drive is still in the mind of Lee County head coach Burton Cates and, although many of the current Jackets weren't on the field that night, Cates is expecting his players to rise to the challenge.
"It was not one of our better games, to say the least," Cates said.
Unlike the Jackets (2-0) though, Athens Drive (1-1) has a relatively experienced squad back.
"It's going to be quite a challenge," Cates said, citing the Jaguar returners and how the Jaguars will provide a significant step up in caliber compared to the Jackets romping over Spartanburg Christian 55-0 two weeks ago and rolling, at least for the first three quarters, to a 34-14 win at Ben L. Smith last Friday.
"It's a challenge. It's one that's important to us and it's one we look forward to," Cates said.
"We're facing a very good football team and it's a team we definitely have respect for," he said. "We know we're going to have to play a great game to have a chance in the fourth quarter."
Lee County marched up and down the field on methodical, balanced drives to take a 27-0 lead last Friday night in Greensboro. The Golden Eagles clipped the lead to 27-14 and had the ball in Lee County territory with a chance to draw closer midway through the fourth quarter.
The Jacket defense came through with an interception, by Patrick Bethea on a long ball toward the end zone down the right sideline, to end the Golden Eagle threat and help put the game away.
Running back Jerry Pullum ran for 117 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Duane Bland, in his second varsity start, added 75 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and an efficient game passing, going 8-for-13 for 74 yards.
The Golden Eagle rally gave the Jackets a little more to focus on this week in practice.
"During that span, we really played down on their level," Cates said, "we let the momentum get away from us, but we made the plays to get it back which was a good thing."
The Yellow Jackets converted on 7-of-10 third downs while holding the Golden Eagles to 1-of-9 third-down conversions. The Jacket defense also held Ben L. Smith to 37 rushing yards.
Athens Drive beat Broughton 22-21 last Friday. The Jaguars have a running back, Dominique Lynch, who has 53 carries for 298 yards and two touchdowns in two games, who will put the Jacket defense to the test. The Jaguar defense has totaled nine sacks and five interceptions on the season.
"We've still got to improve offensively, defensively and on special teams, in all areas of the game," Cates said.
"Our schedule was set up in a way that the competition gets stiffer for us each week," he said. "I guess that's the way it should be with a young team."
Northwood (2-0) at Jordan-Matthews (2-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Northwood 29, Jordan-Matthews 15
Neither the Chargers nor the Jets have faced a tight game yet this season. Northwood comes into tonight off a 56-31 win over Southern Lee. Jordan-Matthews routed Chatham Central 47-0 last Friday.
Charger quarterback Ti Pinnix threw for more than 500 yards versus Southern Lee and he's connected with wide receiver Jalen Smith for five touchdowns in two games. Smith had nine catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns last Friday.
The Jets have held their two opponents to seven points total in two games which have been over at halftime. Hunter Causey has rushed for five touchdowns.
Kestrel Heights (0-2) at Chatham Central (0-2) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Chatham Central 41, Kestrel Heights 6
Chatham Central fell behind quickly to Jordan-Matthews last Friday and, to make matters worse for the Bears, then lost quarterback Rodney Van De Walker and running back Zack Burke to injuries.
The Bears fell behind early in week one to Wake Christian before regrouping, but never getting completely back into the game.
Kestrel Heights comes into tonight after a 55-0 loss to Walkertown.
Chatham Central needs the boost of a win before taking on eight straight Yadkin Valley games starting next Friday at West Montgomery.
Harnett Central (1-1) at Triton (2-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Triton 28, Harnett Central 15
Triton took care of one county rival, Overhills, by a 48-32 final, last Friday to run its regular-season winning streak to 20 games.
Quarterback Jeremy Leggett is 12-for-23 passing for 253 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in two Hawk games. The Hawk defense has forced six interceptions, three by defensive back Emmanuel Myles, and five fumbles lost.
Harnett Central rebounded from an opening loss to beat Western Harnett 16-3 last Friday. The Trojans piled up 358 rushing yards. Thomas Staton carried for 182 yards and quarterback Jay McNeil totaled 120 rushing yards including a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The last Triton loss in a regular season game? Harnett Central beat the Hawks 22-20 in August 2011.
Western Harnett (0-2) at Overhills (0-2) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Overhills 38, Western Harnett 12
Last October, the Jaguars beat the Eagles in the midst of a late-season surge to be one of three tri-champions of the Cape Fear Valley Conference. Now, the county rivalry continues but neither team is in the CFVC. Overhills has three straight wins over the Eagles.
In last year's contest, the Jaguars rushed for 330 yards and forced four turnovers.
Overhills has scored 46 points in its two losses to start the season. Western Harnett has yet to score an offensive touchdown in losses to Southern Lee and Harnett Central.
Pinecrest (2-0) at Beddingfield (1-1) - 7:30 p.m.
The Patriots travel to Wilson tonight to take on 2A Beddingfield. It's the third straight road trip to start the Patriot season. The Bruins fell 30-24 at Southern Nash last Friday.
Pinecrest has put 80 points on the board in its 2-0 start, mostly while romping out to huge leads by halftime. The Patriots led 35-0 at halftime at Douglas Byrd and went on to a 45-28 win last week.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Ledbetter rushed for three touchdowns in the win and the Patriots topped 300 rushing yards.
Union Pines (1-1) at Providence Grove (0-2) - 7:30 p.m.
The Vikings routed county rival North Moore 49-6 last Friday and face a Providence Grove squad which has scored 10 points so far this season.
The Vikings rushed for 315 yards and six touchdowns in beating the Mustangs. Kaleb Johnson scored two touchdowns and many Vikings helped out moving the ball. Demarius Hampton carried five times for 58 yards and a touchdown, Paul Duncan carried for 46 yards and a touchdown and Max Yates connected with Tyler McRae for a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
North Moore (0-2) at South Robeson (1-1)
Last meeting - South Robeson 12, North Moore 6 - Sept. 12, 2008
It will be the Mustangs vs. the Mustangs tonight in Rowland. South Robeson comes in off a 38-26 victory over Trinity Christian last Friday.
North Moore has put yardage and points, three touchdowns, up in its first two games led by sophomore quarterback Malik McCrimmon.