The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 21, 2012

Conference battles continue for Stanly’s teams


Friday, September 21, 2012 — Albemarle (4-1, 1-0) at W. Mont. (3-2, 1-0)

Since the last conference realignment in 2009, the annual game between Albemarle and West Montgomery has helped shape the conference title race. In the past three seasons, the Bulldogs and Warriors have finished in the top three in the YVC.

Albemarle enters Friday’s road game in Mount Gilead after beating Chatham Central at home 47-14 despite over 150 yards in penalties and three turnovers, both of which have been points of emphasis this week for the Bulldogs. Head Coach Danny Akins talked about his team’s preparations, saying, “We have worked on ourselves and been stricter on them with more consequences for mental mistakes.”

This year, West Montgomery is 3-2 after an earlier 19-14 loss to North Lenoir became a forfeit victory. The Warriors on the field have won their last two games including a 13-12 win at Jordan-Matthews.

Gone is the talented Jaquil Capel at quarterback but a trio of players have picked up the slack and have efficiently run the triple option spread offense, according to head coach Nick Eddins.

Junior quarterback Caleb Drake has matured and learned to manage the offense, Eddins said, while the swift Suave Pegues and the hard-nosed Devante Gainey are two top running backs.

The Warriors’ leader on defense is Matt Harkins, a 5’7”, 155-lb. linebacker that leads the team in tackles and sacks.

“We are young; if we take care of the football and be physical, we can be there in the fourth quarter; we have to make them make mistakes,” West Head Coach Nick Eddins said.

CATA (1-4, 0-1) at

N. Stanly (0-5, 0-1)

Friday’s home game for North Stanly against Monroe’s Central Academy Cougars will be the fourth of seven home games this season for the Comets as North searches for their first win this season.

Last week, the Comets lost 41-9 at Union Academy, which included allowing Cardinal running back Rasheed Rushing to gain 304 yards on 27 carries with four touchdowns as Union ran for 470 yards against the North defense.

Speaking of rushing, the lead for the rushing title in Stanly County still belongs to a columbia-blue clad Comet in freshman Antonio Williams (699 yards) despite being held to his lowest output of the season, 63 yards.

This week, North faces a Cougars squad that relies more on throwing the football than running, including a standout quarterback in Travis Levin. The 6’2”, 195-pound senior is 51-of-130 this season for 932 yards with six touchdowns, but he has eight interceptions as well.

North Head Coach Ralph Jackson talked about his team’s practice this week as going back to the basics in terms of working on blocking and tackling.

“We haven’t tackled well or blocked consistently,” Jackson said.

The North head coach also said that the defensive backfield has had a lot of work in practice because of Central Academy’s propensity to throw the football.

Regarding the matchup, Jackson said, “If we can stop their quarterback and receivers, and our running game can do what it did at the beginning of the season, we will have a good chance of winning.”

S. Stanly (3-2, 0-1) at C. Central (2-3, 0-1)

The Bulls make the long trek up to Bear Creek Friday night to take on a Chatham Central Bears squad that has similiar numbers with the Rebel Bulls in terms of players on the varsity roster after playing several weeks against larger squads.

South lost their conference opener last week at North Rowan 42-14 but had two long scoring drives in the game of 80 and 76 yards. Backup quarterback Luke Burris had a 76-yard scoring pass to Juwan Johnson, while Anthony Smith finished a drive in the third quarter that narrowed the score to 13 points.

Bulls quarterback Russ Weiker will be available this week after missing two weeks with a leg injury, but head coach Tasker Fleming said that he had not made a decision on who would start Friday night, adding that he may use both signal callers during the game.

“Last week, we found offensive confidence in the third quarter, which is what we need to play like, getting consistent first downs,” Fleming said.

Chatham’s numbers overall will be up some this week as the Bears have dropped their JV program for this season. According to Fleming, Chatham’s first 11 are talented and play hard, but the depth advantage and experience edge both are in South’s favor.

“We should be better in certain postions; we have seniors doing a lot of work on offense for us and we have a little more varsity experience,” Fleming said.

The Bears had just 35 total rushing yards against Albemarle last week but did throw for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

Piedmont (1-4, 0-1) at West Stanly (0-5, 0-1)

West Stanly’s season continues this Friday night at home facing a Piedmont Panthers squad coached this season by a highly respected name in high school coaching circles in North Carolina.

Former A.L. Brown head coach Ron Massey leads the Panthers into Red Cross on Friday night. Massey spent 11 seasons coaching for the Wonders, posting an 120-32 overall record.

This season, the Panthers have just one win, a 35-14 win in Week Three over J.M. Robinson, but have suffered close losses this season at Hickory Ridge (23-17 in overtime) and in their Rocky River Conference opener versus Monroe. Last week, Piedmont led 14-13 but the Redhawks rallied to win 28-20. The Panthers tacked on a late touchdown as time expired. Senior running back Brandon Gentry had 123 yards and a touchdown.

Piedmont runs the option offense with senior quarterback Sawyer Baucom at the helm. Baucom has two rushing touchdowns this season and has good size at the quarterback position.

West enters Friday’s home game looking for their first win of the season for new head coach Jared Bennett, who said the team’s practices have gone well this week and the team’s overall health is improving.

“We are continuing to refine what we can do to be successful. It’s getting better and better each week; some of the guys have gotten a lot better the past couple of weeks,” Bennett said.

Against Piedmont, Bennett said that his team has to play assignment football in order to compete with the Panthers.