The Granite Bears celebrate homecoming tonight, while the three county schools all go on the road against tough competition.
The conference season kicks off with Mount Airy hosting Bishop McGuinness. North Surry travels to West Stokes, Surry Central to South Stokes and East Surry to new conference rival Walkertown.
Two weeks ago, East’s David Diamont admitted he didn’t know anything yet about Walkertown, but the veteran coach has spent a lot of time watching film since then.
The Wolfpack is mainly a passing team, he said. They use some zone-read plays, and they like bubble screens to the outside.
Quarterback Keenan Boston is a threat to run or pass.
Coach Mike Springston previously was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Eastern Kentucky. He joined Walkertown as the school was starting its football program two-and-a-half years ago.
In only its third season, the Wolfpack is undefeated at 6-0.
Forsyth schools have open enrollment, so players can change schools freely, said Diamont. Some of the players on the team were at different schools last year, he noted.
While the offense is giving the Pack 44 points a game, the defense is stout, too, holding teams to just nine points per contest.
Walkertown plays a 4-3 defense with a Cover Four secondary, Diamont said. The safeties come up strong against the run.
The inside of the defensive line is special, according to the coach. The two tackles are the best he has seen, except for scrimmaging Lincolnton and Darian Roseboro.
Roseboro is a legitimate college prospect, but these two guys are pretty good, too, said the coach.
As for his own team, Diamont said that quarterback/defensive back John Snow is questionable, but the rest of the team is doing pretty well.
East Surry is 5-1 and is ranked seventh in the state for 1A in the latest Associated Press state football poll.
Right behind the Cardinals is Walkertown, tied for eighth in the state with Robbinsville.
In the new Western Piedmont Conference, West Stokes and Carver are the cream of the crop, said North Surry Coach Danny Lyons. They are the ones the rest of the league is shooting for, he said.
The Greyhounds face these two teams in back-to-back weeks.
West Stokes has good size and athleticism, and the boys are always well coached, Lyons said.
That size and strength can wear a team down, like it appeared to do to Mount Airy, he said.
The player who can really wear down a defense is lineman Dorin Johnson.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pound lineman has always taken up a lot of space, but Lyons said he appeared to be the most-improved player on the team from the film he’s watched. Johnson is moving better than ever, and if he gets his hands on a defender, it is over.
With a good quarterback and running back behind him, the Wildcats threaten to get a big gain on any snap.
Lyons also praised the defense of #4 (Dalton Seat) and #6 (Caustin Beckner) at running downhill and making plays.
The Hounds could get a lift this week from some injured starters returning to the lineup.
Hunter Snow has played both quarterback and linebacker, sort of a quarterback of the defense, too, said Lyons.
Kandon Wilson hurt his back in the preseason and will make his season debut. Ben Nichols and Ryan March are improving as well, he said.
Central Coach Monty Southern knows he has his hands full this week, traveling to Winston-Salem to take on the Yellow Jackets.
Carver is tied for fourth place in the A.P. 2A poll, a step ahead of an Andrews team that beat North Surry 55-3 two weeks ago.
Carver is coached by Germane Crowell, who played five years in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.
After losing to undefeated 4A Dudley, the Yellow Jackets have won five straight games, scoring an average of 39 points. The last four of those wins came on the road.
“When you first put the tape in, the first thing you notice is these suckers are fast,” said Southern. “It’s not just one kid, they’ve got speed pretty much everywhere.”
However, after watching footage, Southern said Carver is still human and makes mistakes. Sure, Central is the underdog, but the team still has a fighting chance, he said.
“One thing about it, everybody in the conference has to play them,” he said. “We just get them first.”
Southern said he’s never gone to Carver’s stadium before, but he hears it usually has a good atmosphere, so he is excited.
Mount Airy (3-3) looks to go back over .500 this week against a Bishop McGuinness team that has gone 4-2 so far.
The Villains’ offense and defense look pretty good, but it is hard to gauge just how good since the two schools haven’t played any mutual opponent, said Coach Kelly Holder.
Bishop runs a single-wing offense, which is a really different offense to prepare for, said Holder. “They line up in the same formation just about every play, but they do some different things off that. Misdirection.”
“The offense is simple enough, but it’s a booger to defend,” said Holder. Bishop has three really good athletes that can carry the ball.
The Bears will have to play well up front and maintain containment, he said.
“For us, we have to get better every game,” said Holder. “We need to do the things we do well. And we need to score when we have opportunities.”