Full Vance County Friday Night Football and Team Schedules are below.
— by Jeff Jenkins
SV at Webb Preview
After last Friday’s trip to Stem, to dish out a serious 50-19 beat-down on 1A conference-mate Granville Central, 2-3 Southern Vance continues its 3-week tour of Granville County tonight (Friday) with a short trip to J. F. Webb in Oxford. With a good chance to even up their season at 3-3, and to improve their conference record to 2-1, Raiders’ Head Coach Darry Ragland would love to see his team play tonight like they did against the Panthers last week. If they do, the Raiders should come away with a win. Although the 1-4 Warriors scored 40 points in their win over Carrboro 2 weeks ago, they were shut out by Beddingfield in their opener 39-0, lost to 1A Gates County 42-28, and then last week took their medicine from Bunn in a 41-9 thrashing. They are averaging scoring just under 20 points per game, and they are allowing 33.
Webb’s last winning season was 2008, when the Warriors finished 9-4 overall, 3-2 in the conference, but missed out on post season play. In 2007, they were true contenders for a state championship, finishing 11-4 after a 4-1 conference record, and a deep playoff run that ended with a narrow loss in the 4th round. In those days. Webb was coached by John Hammet, who became Granville Central’s first football coach and Athletic director in 2010. Since 2011, the Warriors have finished 3-8 four times and 2-9 twice, and 5th year coach Tony Midgette has found a winning formula yet. This history sounds a lot like the Raiders last three seasons, and Webb defeated Southern Vance in both of the past two meetings. The Warriors won convincingly in 2015 by 34-18, but had to come back from a wide deficit last year to win a crazy overtime shootout 50-48. Unfortunately for Webb, those games were nonconference, and tonight will really count.
Furthermore, coaching changes and transfers have given Southern Vance a very consistent offense, with the potential for big plays, especially though the air. Thanks to last week’s production, the Raiders’ scoring average is up to 32 per game – at least a 7-year high; but even before last week, Southern was scoring 27 points per game, and they played Bunn much closer than Webb did, losing by only 4 points, 34-30. They also scored 30 in their opening day win over Bartlett-Yancey. The Raiders defense has struggled at times, allowing 33 points per game before holding Granville Central to 13 points last week until the Panthers slipped in a touchdown near the end.
The Raider defense should be effective against Webb however. The Warriors offense runs better than they pass, and they rely on one or two players for their ground game. The new starting QB, Soph Jordan Pugh is improving, but he has a 30% completion rate, for an average of 40 yds per game and 2 TDs on the season. Sr. WR Unique Heggie, a familiar name from last year’s game, has caught both TD passes, and has caught 6 passes total. On the ground, the Warriors rely on Sr. RB Tyrone Clark, Jr., who averages just under 110 yds per game and has scored four times on the gound. Clark finished with just under 1000 yards last season. Sr Jaquan Brandon only averages 30 yds per game, but he has 3 rushing TD’s. The 215 lb linebacker goes in on short yardage situations. Southern has had trouble against strong running teams, but those were teams like Red Springs and Bunn with stables of strong runners who could rotate in and out smoothly. Webb seems to have one small, fast back who can gain 100 yards a game, and one larger back for short yardage – and that might not be enough for a whole 4 quarters of football.
NV vs RR Preview
The Vikings of Northern Vance are happy to be home tonight (Friday), and they know they have to play Roanoke Rapids this season, and that the yellow jackets are in the same conference, but the Vikings would probably like to wait another few weeks to play them. Roanoke Rapids is undefeated at 5-0, and is destined to meet South Granville, the other 5-0 team in the league, on October 3 in what might be the conference championship game. The Vikings, with an 0-5 record, are coming off two exhausting losses: a not unexpected 46-0 drubbing from South Granville, and a disappointing 25-15 home loss to Warren County last week that could have gone the other way if the offense had been able to take advantage of a few of Warren’s numerous turnovers.
Roanoke Rapids got a new head coach in 2014, and immediately improved from 2-9 to 10-4, defeating Bunn for the Northern Carolina Conference crown, and losing to the #1 seed in the 3rd round of the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets lost to Bunn the past two years to finish second in the league, and they have not gotten past the 2nd round of the playoffs, but they have continued to dominate opponents during their regular season. They had a perfect season going last year until the lost to Bunn, but they still finished 11 and 2 overall, averaging 33 points scored per game, and allowing only 17 per game, both their best averages under coach McDaniel. So far this year, the Jackets have only had one close game – their opener against regional rival Northampton, which they won 30-22. Since then they have played four 1A schools, including back to back beat-downs of conference mates Granville Central and Louisburg. In those four games RR scored an average of 43.5 points per game and allowed only 7 – They shut out Granville Central 46-0, and allowed Louisburg 14 points.
The Yellow Jackets run up all those points with a pretty balanced attack. The Jackets have scored 18 times on the ground, with Sr RB Da’raj Watson scoring 8 of those while rushing for 529 yards in the 5 games. Jr. FB Ajalon Brown, at 5-9 and 231 lb, has 5 TDs in short yardage situations. Jr RB Cory Jenkins has crossed the goal line 3 times during his 200-yard season so far. The passing game is not just an afterthought, but clearly part of the game plan. Sr. QB Jack Neville has passed for 345 yards, with 7 TDs and 3 interceptions. Receiving is evenly divided among Sr. Montrell Govan, with 10 catches for 92 total yards, and 3 TDs; RB Jenkins; and FB Brown. The Jackets also has a reliable kicker in Sr Chase Johnson, who is 20 for 21 on extra points. The defense is obviously tough. Specifically, they have only allowed 10 points in 5 games, and they have 4 INTs and 9 fumble recoveries. They have blocked 2 kicks, and they are BIG, and experienced.
I hate to say it, but Northern Vance will do well to score on Roanoke Rapids. But the Viking Defense does have a knack for swarming the runners and has interceptions in every game. Their best strategy might be to work on keeping the Yellow Jackets to 40 points. Another intangible is that RR has only played 1A teams, and might be a little soft going into the game. A quick score like the Vikings had last week against Warren would be a real moral booster, and would no doubt keep the defense pumped.