Vikings visit Lee County tonight
Two football squads with winning records, but looking to rebound from conference losses last Friday night, will clash tonight, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m., with Union Pines (4-3, 1-1) visiting Lee County (5-2, 1-1).
The Vikings and Yellow Jackets have contested games on plenty of other fields and courts through the years, but are now Cape Fear Valley foes.
Lee County needs to regroup from a 35-21 loss at Douglas Byrd, as the Eagles moved into the lead in the CFVC standings at the expense of the Jackets’ roughest defensive game of the season.
Two Fridays ago, the Vikings beat Westover 13-6 for the first Viking conference victory since 2009. The Viking defense forced four Wolverine turnovers but couldn’t slow Terry Sanford the same way last week as the Bulldogs romped to a 52-20 win between the Pines.
Along with Douglas Byrd having success on the ground and through the air, the Eagles were the first defense this season to bottle up Jacket running back Jerry Pullum. Pullum also moved to quarterback during parts of the second half as starting quarterback Duane’ Bland was injured. The Yellow Jackets fought through multiple injuries on both sides of the ball against Douglas Byrd.
Lee County is still averaging 228 rushing yards a game, with Pullum having 856 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns for the season.
Bland and the passing game hurt the Eagles down the field. Bland hit John Nguyen for two of the three Jacket touchdowns, on a 60-yard bomb in the second quarter as Lee County took a 14-0 lead, then on a 16-yard pass into the end zone to bring the Jackets within a 28-21 deficit in the fourth quarter.
Nguyen has seven catches for 220 yards and those two touchdowns on the season. Keyonta McDougald has 12 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown. Nolan Groce has 12 receptions, 158 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior safety/wide receiver has been the Viking playmaker the last two Fridays, getting an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown in the win versus Westover, then a 69-yard touchdown run against Terry Sanford.
Quarterback Max Yates spreads the ball to a lot of Viking receivers and the Vikings rely a lot on senior running back/quarterback Kaleb Johnson, who has five 100-plus-yard rushing games this season.
Western Harnett (2-4, 0-0) at Corinth Holders (5-1, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Both programs play their first and first-ever Two Rivers Conference game tonight. The Eagles moved from the Cape Fear Valley into the new league while Corinth Holders has an impressive record going after being realigned from 2A to 3A.
The Eagles have regrouped for back-to-back wins, then had an off week to get set for Two Rivers play, after an 0-4 start. Western Harnett won 43-35 at Union Pines before topping Jordan-Matthews 26-14 two Fridays ago in Lillington.
The Eagle ground game has led the turnaround and they sport a mix of braun and speed.
Senior fullback Laron Gilchrist has carried 54 times for 352 yards and five touchdowns. Brothers Darius and Deshawn Alston are among the smaller, quicker Eagles, having combined for three touchdowns in the two wins and 471 rushing yards on the season.
Sophomores Deshawn Rolland, with 7.0 tackles for loss, and Willie Lee, with 5.5 tackles for loss, have led the Eagle defense, which has also forced six interceptions.
Corinth Holders comes into the contest off a 33-32 win at Franklinton last Friday.
J.F. Webb (2-4, 0-2) at Northwood (5-1, 1-1) - 7 p.m.
The Chargers bounced back from falling to Orange in their first 3A Big Eight game two weeks ago, to the tune of a 79-28 win at Cedar Ridge last Friday.
Needless to say, the Charger offense, which had been posting major numbers in their 4-0 start, got back on track.
Junior quarterback Ti Pinnix is averaging 325 passing yards a game. He’s tossed 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 60.1 percent of his passes. Jalen Smith is his favorite receiver as he has 55 catches for 848 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Warriors have dropped Big Eight games the last two weeks: 38-31 to Chapel Hill, then 46-21 to Cardinal Gibbons last Friday.
It’s homecoming in Pittsboro and the Chargers would be wise to take advantage as three of their last four games, all four being conference games, are on the road.
North Moore (1-6, 1-3) at Union Academy (3-3, 2-2) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Union Academy 55, North Moore 0
The Mustangs won, and romped to a victory to boot, their first game since 2010 and their first on-field victory since the last game of their 2009 season, trouncing South Davidson 41-0 last Friday.
The Mustangs did some of everything to win. Aaron Richardson, Kirby Lambert and Nick Rush caught touchdown passes from Malik McCrimmon. Patrick Harner and Braxton Beck rushed for touchdowns. Pedro Agarte-Lopez made two field goals and the Mustang defense scored a safety while getting the shutout.
North Moore travels to Monroe tonight. Union Academy fell 56-23 to West Montgomery last week. The Cardinals blanked South Stanly 35-0, one of two shutouts by the Cardinals this season, two weeks ago.
Pinecrest (6-0, 0-0) at Lumberton (0-6, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Pinecrest 24, Lumberton 0
The Patriots beat Lumberton last September for the first Pinecrest win in the series in 19 years. Now, the undefeated Patriots visit the winless Pirates in the Southeastern opener for both.
Pinecrest’s had two weeks to prepare off a 55-7 win over Jordan. The Patriots have posted 55, 56 and 55 points in their last three games and haven’t been in a one-possession contest yet.
Lumberton had a bye week last week as well. The Pirates lost 26-14 at New Hanover two Fridays ago.
Pinecrest and Scotland enter the SEC schedule with 6-0 marks. Richmond is 5-1.
South Johnston (1-5, 0-0) at Triton (5-1, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Triton 34, South Johnston 15
The Hawks had their 23-game regular-season winning streak snapped two weeks ago at Rocky Mount as the Gryphons scored a touchdown with less than three minutes to play to take a 24-21 lead and win.
South Johnston, coming off a 35-21 loss to Fike on Sept. 26, had a bye week, too, to get ready for the Two Rivers opener for both.
Last season, this was a regular-season finale in the Eastern Carolina and the Hawks prevailed to win the ECC and finish 10-0.
This fall’s Hawks are averaging 239 rushing yards a game.
Even in the loss at Rocky Mount, DeAngelo Harris had an 88-yard touchdown run and Zach Wade had a 79-yard touchdown run.
Jordan-Matthews (2-4, 0-0) at Reidsville (4-2, 0-0) - 7:30 p.m.
Last season - Reidsville 11, Jordan-Matthews 0
The Rams and Jets battled late last season to a 3-0 Ram lead in the fourth quarter before the Rams put the game away as part of its 6-0 run to the Mid-State Conference crown.
Both squads have had two weeks to get ready. Reidsville beat Northeast Guilford 32-7 before a bye week while the Jets fell 26-14 at Western Harnett for their fourth straight loss.
The Rams have allowed 76 points in their two losses and 21 points in their four wins.
Knightdale (5-1, 2-0) at Harnett Central (1-5, 0-2) - 7 p.m.
Last season - Knightdale 40, Harnett Central 13
The Knights visit Angier as one of three teams still unbeaten in the Greater Neuse River Conference after storming out to a 30-0 lead and going on to a 52-27 win over visiting Clayton last Friday.
Harnett Central has lost its last four games, including a 49-7 loss to Clayton. The Trojans fell 38-14 to Southeast Raleigh last week.