HSOT Live Game Notes: Week 1
Posted August 16
"HighSchoolOT Live" kicks off on Friday night on multiple platforms. The show will allow you to see live, in-game updates from seven games across the region.
I will co-host the studio show with coach Wayne Bragg, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday. We'll provide instant analysis, replays, interviews with players and coaches, score updates and more.
Watch "HighSchoolOT Live" every week on television on WRAL2; streaming on HighSchoolOT.com, the free HighSchoolOT mobile app, and the WRAL app for Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV. The show will also stream live on the radio on 99.9 FM The Fan for week one, and on 95.7 FM The Ticket each subsequent week.
For week one, you can watch the first hour of "HighSchoolOT Live" on WRAL-TV.
We have seven big games on Friday night involving 14 teams from six different counties, including our Game of the Week where Clayton is hosting Garner. Here's what you need to know:
Garner @ Clayton, 7:00 PM
Garner is coming off a 12-2 season in which the Trojans advanced to the third round of the state playoffs, but they must replace a lot of talent from that team – including the starting quarterback and running back. Donovan Evans is the top-returning scorer for Garner. As a junior, Evans scored nine touchdowns – six rushing, two off blocked punts, and one kick return. Prestige Bellamy rushed for four touchdowns as a junior last fall, and Daiveon Carrington is moving from the defensive side to the offensive backfield this season. Clayton returns a lot of offensive firepower, including wide receiver Devin Carter, who has committed to NC State. Carter posted 1,167 yards and 15 touchdowns on 78 receptions last season. The Comets are expected to play Austin Cagle at quarterback, who completed 62-of-127 passes for 865 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. Clayton put an extra emphasis on the rushing game in the preseason, which they hope will open things up for receivers like Carter. Clayton started the season with a 6-1 record last year before losing its next five games. In those five games, Clayton was shut out twice and averaged 3.4 points per game. This is a rivalry game that Clayton hasn't won recently. The last time Clayton defeated Garner was on Sept. 6, 1985, when the Comets came away with a 20-8 victory.
Last Meeting: Garner 50, Clayton 0 (Oct. 10, 2016)
Garner 2016 Record: 12-2, 3rd round
Clayton 2016 Record: 6-6, 1st round
Garner Last Game: L, Middle Creek, 49-30
Clayton Last Game: L, Cape Fear, 62-3
Athens Drive @ Cardinal Gibbons, 7:00 PM
These two teams are just a few miles apart, but they will meet for just the third time on Friday night. Cardinal Gibbons has won the previous two meetings, including a 49-27 win over the Jags last August. Two years ago, it took overtime for Cardinal Gibbons to come away with the 28-27 win. Both teams return a lot of offensive firepower this season. Athens Drive returns Robert Ruffin, its leading passer from last season, and Isaiah Henderson, its leading rusher. Cardinal Gibbons returns Jack Biestek who rushed for 1,130 yards and 12 touchdowns and posted 884 receiving yards with six touchdowns last season. Running back Dalen Spruill is the most prolific rusher Cardinal Gibbons has seen. As a junior, he rushed for 1,682 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Last Meeting: Cardinal Gibbons 49, Athens Drive 27 (Aug. 19, 2016)
Athens Drive 2016 Record: 4-7, missed playoffs
Cardinal Gibbons 2016 Record: 12-2, 3rd round
Athens Drive Last Game: L, Green Hope, 27-23
Cardinal Gibbons Last Game: L, Cape Fear, 47-33
Hillside @ New Bern, 7:30 PM
Over the years, Hillside and New Bern have established a strong rivalry in the eastern half of the state. Since 2004, the two teams are 4-4 against each other. Last year, Hillside came away with a 20-14 win over the Bears. Hillside went on to post a 9-1 regular season record before being upset by Hoggard in the first round of the state playoffs. New Bern finished with a 5-6 record and also lost in the first round of the playoffs. Oregon recruit Jamal Elliott returns this fall for Hillside. The running back is one of the top backs in his class. After transferring from Hillside to IMG Academy in Florida, Elliott returned mid-season last year and did not play against New Bern. Hillside has won two straight against New Bern, but the Bears are 70-17 at home since 2004.
Last Meeting: Hillside 20, New Bern 14 (Aug. 19, 2016)
Hillside 2016 Record: 9-2, 1st round
New Bern 2016 Record: 5-6, 1st round
Hillside Last Game: L, Hoggard, 38-34
New Bern Last Game: L, Scotland County, 47-8
Millbrook @ Wake Forest, 7:00 PM
Wake Forest enters the 2017 season after posting a perfect 16-0 record and winning the 4-AA state championship last fall. The Cougars have been the most dominant team in the east over the last decade, and that rings true in their games with Millbrook. Since 2004, Wake Forest is 16-2 against the Wildcats. The last time Millbrook beat Wake Forest was on Oct. 31, 2008, when Millbrook claimed a 16-15 win. Wake Forest has recorded more wins over Millbrook since 2004 than any other team. The Cougars are expected to be very good again this year. Wake Forest returns 17-of-22 starters from the state championship team, including running back Devon Lawrence, who rushed for 1,533 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, and quarterback Chris James, who is 28-1 as a starter. Running back Marquis Dunn and receiver Lex Goodwin also return after making big contributions last season. UNC recruit Javon Terry will be lined up at corner for a very strong defense. Millbrook returns Ford Werness at quarterback, Chris Twitty at running back and Tyler Snead at wide receiver, but the Wildcats have to replace a significant amount of offense from last season. The Millbrook defense will be anchored by East Carolina recruit Donovan Noel.
Last Meeting: Wake Forest 37, Millbrook, 0 (Sept. 30, 2016)
Millbrook 2016 Record: 7-5, 1st round
Wake Forest 2016 Record: 16-0, state champions
Millbrook Last Game: L, Richmond County, 28-14
Wake Forest Last Game: W, Page, 29-0
Rocky Mount @ Middle Creek, 7:00 PM
For the last two seasons, Middle Creek and Rocky Mount have met in non-conference games. The Gryphons are coming off their second appearance in the state championship game (they won the title in 2015), while the Mustangs are following up a second-straight appearance in the eastern regional championship. But both teams will have to replace a lot of talent from last season. Middle Creek lost quarterback Dominique Shoffner who accounted for all but one of the Mustangs' passing touchdowns and a significant amount of the team's ground attack. Middle Creek does return running back De'andre Jones who rushed for 731 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Jordan Mitchell is the top-returning receiver after posting 480 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season. Andrew Ihle is expected to take over as the quarterback for the Mustangs. Ihle completed 21-of-31 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown last fall. Rocky Mount will likely lean heavily on running back Charlie Williams who rushed for 850 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Jalen Watson and Detrell Revin are also key returner for the Gryphons.
Last Meeting: Middle Creek 37, Rocky Mount 25 (Aug. 26, 2016)
Rocky Mount 2016 Record: 13-3, state runner-up
Middle Creek 2016 Record: 14-1, 4th round
Rocky Mount Last Game: L, South Point, 16-7
Middle Creek Last Game: L, Wake Forest, 20-17 (OT)
Southern Nash @ Green Hope, 7:00 PM
Two teams who return several key players from last season are Southern Nash and Green Hope. The Firebirds are coming off a 12-1 season in which they won a conference championship and lost to rival Rocky Mount in the second round. Southern Nash returns its top two rushers, senior Kendrick Bell and junior Zonovan Knight. Bell rushed for 1,261 yards and 18 touchdowns last season while Knight ran for 1,142 yards and 18 touchdowns. Green Hope is bringing in a new coach in David Green. Green left Enloe for the job at Green Hope, but has also spent time as a head coach Williams and Leesville Road, and was an assistant coach at Apex. The Falcons feature two star wide receivers, UNC recruit Jordyn Adams and Blake Watson. Adams transferred to Green Hope from a school in South Carolina. Watson played for the Falcons last season and posted 666 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Last Meeting: N/A
Southern Nash 2016 Record: 12-1, 2nd round
Green Hope 2016 Record: 6-6, 1st round
Southern Nash Last Game: L, Rocky Mount, 27-21
Green Hope Last Game: L, Garner, 51-0
Terry Sanford @ Fuquay-Varina, 7:00 PM
These two teams have met just once before, a 2008 playoff game in which Fuquay-Varina came away with a 35-14 win over Terry Sanford. The Bengals return a lot of talent this season after starting 12 sophomores at one point last fall. Among the returners are Tyrus Townsend, David Honeycutt and Isaac Morgan. Fuquay-Varina will have to replace its quarterback, but Chris Canada got a decent amount of playing time at that position last season after an injury to the starter. Terry Sanford returns one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the region – and they're twins. Quarterback Christian Jayne posted 2,789 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. His brother, Andrew Jayne, had 816 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Last Meeting: Fuquay-Varina 35, Terry Sanford 14 (Nov. 14, 2008)
Terry Sanford 2016 Record: 9-4, 2nd round
Fuquay-Varina 2016 Record: 8-4, 1st round
Terry Sanford Last Game: L, Lee County, 35-3
Fuquay-Varina Last Game: L, Laney, 41-19