Tonight. Double coverage of Southern Vance hosting Bartlett Yancey and Northern Vance at Southern Durham. Pregame at 6:45 p.m. following the Joy Christian Center broadcast. Kickoff at 7 p.m. for NV at SD and 7:30 p.m. for SV vs BY. Join us for the live play by play on 1450 AM WIZS plus the live stream on wizs.com and via the Tunein Radio App on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Scouting Reports by Jeff Jenkins:
For the past four years, the Spartans of Southern Durham have had good reason to consider themselves the best in the Big Eight 3A conference, and they were justified in believing they were the best 3A team in the state. After being re-classified from 4A to 3A in 2013 and joining the Big 8, Southern swept the conference two consecutive years, won the State 3AA championship in 2013, got upset in the Playoffs in 2014, and went back to the championship game again last year. They lost to Crest, the school they beat for the crown in 2013, to enter this season as the reigning state 3AA runners-up, but then last year’s Big 8 title – and last five wins – were forfeited due to fielding a player whose participation was based on an physical exam form that expired in late-season. The Big Eight title crown went to Orange County, which had finished second to Southern for three years running. Whatever the record book says now, everyone had to admit that the Spartans looked like a team that would contend with the state’s best again this year. Head coach Darius Robinson admitted that his team had lost a few stand-outs from last year, but felt his 17 returning starters would make his team even more experienced and deeper. Returning veterans include all-conference quarterback Jalen Greene and all-conference defenders Tackle Bobby Fuller, middle linebacker Andre Purvis, and end Ezekial Jennette.
But something went wrong. As usual, the Spartans started their season against four tough 4A teams, all of which reached the playoffs last year. But, instead of beating 2 or 3 of the big schools and entering Conference play with their usual record of 4-1 or at least 3-2, Southern came out 2-3 against nonconference opponents. Then, they lost to Orange County for the first time in recent memory, and by an eye-popping score of 49-7 – the Spartan’s worst defeat since 2012. Orange was gunning for Southern, and with good reason – the Panthers had been conference runners-up to the Spartans for three straight years, AND fell to Southern in the playoffs in two of those three years as well. Orange is undefeated this year and, with Southern Durham out of the way, they are likely to stay that way throughout the regular season.
Statistically, the Spartans do not look like an elite team; before the Orange game, they were scoring 23 points per game, compared to 34 last year, and they allowed 24 per game, compared to 19 last year. The Orange blow-out does nothing to improve that picture. The Offense averages a respectable but unspectacular 325 yards per game in total. Sr. QB Jalen Green has passed for 143 yards per game and 6 TDs, and he is also the #2 rusher on the team with 53 yards per game and one TD. Sr. WR Montrel Cooper, at 6’4,” averages 64 yards per game receiving for 2 of those TDs, followed by Sr. Marcus McDonald at 6’3” with 53 yards per game and one score. The rushing game is surprisingly mediocre, with only 130 yards total per game and Sr Joey Strong Jr leading the team with 83 yards per game. As predicted by Coach Robinson, Southern’s defense is indeed being led by Sr MLB Andre Purvis with nearly five tackles per game, and Sr. Tackle Ezekial Jennette with over four, but Sr. Tackle Bobby Fuller has missed three of the six games, and has not been a factor. However, Soph DB Taron Beauford, Jr. utility player Ryan Bond and Sr. LB Dezmon Criss-Barnard have all stepped up with four or five Tackles each per game.
Northern Vance will still need to play their best game of the season to come out on top tonight, but there is a real possibility that the Vikings can go toe-to-toe with the 2016 Spartans, something they could not even hope for in previous seasons, when they were thrashed by Southern by scores of 62-6, 69-0, and, last year, 42-13.
The Buccaneers of Bartlett Yancey, the only high school in Caswell County, invade Raider Stadium tonight under the leadership of second-year head coach David Weathersby, who is being credited with changing a culture of losing that gripped the school’s football program around the turn of the 21st century. In Weathersby’s first game as coach, the Bucs won their 2015 season opener against Raleigh’s 4A Enloe, ended a 19-game losing streak, and laid the groundwork for a 5-6 record and their first playoff appearance since 1996. Graduation robbed Weathersby of his starting quarterback and some other key players, but the winning season brought out a good crop of new players, and “the new BY” is continuing to rebuild. Enloe got their revenge with a 58-35 win over the Buccaneers in this season’s opener, and 4A Person County beat them in week two, but Bartlett-Yancey has now won three in a row to bring a 3-2 record against the Raiders, who lost last year’s meeting 42-8 in Yanceyville.
This season, B.Y. features 14 seniors, including starting QB Tre Dildy, and several experienced receivers, including Sr. Jaylon Jeffries and Jr. Brandon Budd. Among the talented newcomers are 6’2” Fr WR and kick returner Dequondre Newman, the team leader with 316 yards receiving for 4 TDs. In the five games this season, Dildy has a 61 % completion rate, passing for 549 yards and five TDs, and rushing for three more scores. Sr RB Shay Jeffers rushed for over 1200 yards last season on his way to an all-conference selection. So far this season, Jeffers is on schedule to exceed his 2015 production, rushing for 1120 yards and 9 TDs so far. In a 19-14 win over Granville Central two weeks ago, the Bucs had 477 total yards, with Dildy passing for 117 yards, and Jeffers rushing for a whopping 261 yards.
The defense is led by the linebacking group of Sr. MLB Tyree Foster who was a leader in the first five games last year, before an injury ended his season; Jr. Joe Durden, this year’s leading tackler with 8 tackles per game; and Jr. Hart Modlin. As a RB, Durden has also rushed for 2 short-yardage TDs
The Bucs offense is averaging 27 points per game, an improvement over last year’s 21 per game. As a result of their high-scoring losses to begin this season, the defense has allowed 34 points per game, but only 19 per game in their 3 wins. Overall the Buccaneers tend to lose big and win close, suggesting that their defense needs more improvement. Their 42-8 win over Southern Vance last year was their highest scoring and most lopsided win of that season.