Storm make strong mid-season run
Southern Guilford (4-4, 2-1 Mid-Piedmont 3A) has come on strong the last few weeks, winning four of its last five — including Friday’s 28-21 win against Central Davidson — after an 0-3 start.
“We’ve been playing tougher, grinding out wins,” Storm coach Darryl Brown said. “We’ve been playing consistently well on defense and better on offense these last couple games, and we’ve just gotten a little bit better each week. ...
“The biggest thing has been our focus, our mental approach. Our kids always play hard, but in the beginning of the year and even at times the last few weeks we weren’t where we needed to be. These last couple weeks, our focus and execution has been a lot better.”
One thing that’s helped has been in finding some stability after an injury-plagued start. Quentin Mitchem has settled in at quarterback, and running back Reggie Gallaspy has been outstanding as both a traditional running back and in the Wildcat formation.
Plus, Brown said, the offensive line has continued to improve as the season’s gone on. So, now with three games left and just a half-game behind Asheboro and North Forsyth for the MPC lead, Southern is feeling a lot better about its season.
“Our kids have really been battle-tested,” Brown said. “They’ve faced a lot of adversity, and it’s made them better. They were already inexperienced, but everything they’ve faced and gone through has made them tougher and brought them closer together. And hopefully they’ll continue playing well these next few weeks — we’ve got a couple of tough ones.”
PANTHERS’ INSIDE RUNNING GAME
One area where Ledford performed particularly well during Friday’s game against Asheboro was running the ball inside. Because of injuries, the Panthers (4-3, 1-2 Mid-Piedmont 3A) have had to use a lot of interchangeable parts and figure out ways to use them well.
After George Melvin was injured in the first quarter, Austin Stilley, who is normally more of a blocking back, took on a much bigger role, finishing the game with 14 carries and a rushing touchdown, plus scored a receiving touchdown on a determined effort to stay on his feet, to keep the Panthers close in a 21-14 loss.
“He probably carried the ball more tonight than what he’s accustomed to doing, and he did great job doing it,” Ledford coach Chris Adams said. “But we also asked Garrett Hooker to step in there and lead the way for us doing some of that dirty work, blocking. And our guys up front seemed to a do a good job of that.
“But we had that in the package — that wasn’t necessarily anything we had to go to. We’re a ball-control, one-punch football team. So, we’ve had that and just hung onto it. We thought this might be a good week to do it. To be honest, we didn’t know who our quarterback would be (because of injuries). So, we spent a lot of time on the Power-I to alleviate some of the pressure.”
BISON FACE ANOTHER KEY GAME
High Point Central, in beating East Forsyth 32-14 last Friday and ending its 22-game regular-season winning streak, put itself in great position atop the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference and in contention for at least a share of its first conference title since 2004.
Facing likely their two toughest opponents to start the conference schedule, the Bison (5-2, 1-0) moved a game ahead of East Forsyth (6-1, 0-1), which dropped from No. 3 to No. 9 in The Associated Press 4A poll, and will visit Northwest Guilford (6-1, 1-0) this Friday.
If it beats Northwest, Central will have to navigate Ragsdale (2-5, 0-1), Glenn (3-4, 1-0) and Southwest Guilford (2-5, 0-1) to win the title outright. If it loses, it could still share the crown, but it might depend heavily on the Nov. 8 meeting between East Forsyth and Northwest.
RED RAIDERS TAKE ON RANDLEMAN
T.W. Andrews (5-1, 1-0) also faces a key test this week, hosting Randleman (6-1, 1-0) — likely its toughest competition for the PAC-6 2A title.
The last time the Red Raiders lost a conference game was in falling to Randleman 23-14 and Carver 22-21 back-to-back near the end of the 2011 regular season. That was also the year they started 7-0 before finishing third in the conference and losing in the first round.
So, they know from experience what a game like this can mean for their season. If they can beat Randleman, then they have Eastern Randolph (4-3, 1-0), Wheatmore (0-7, 0-1) and Trinity (3-4, 0-1) between them and their second straight PAC-6 title, plus likely several home playoff games.