Richmond-Gibbons, Glenn-Chambers highlight playoff quality week of football Friday

Today we flip our calendars forward to September, and while technically speaking, we still have 21 days left of summer, our mindsets are quickly shifting their focus to fall.

Why is the start of fall so important you may ask? Well, if you are a high school football fan, it means that you can start looking ahead to crucial conference battles, exhilarating rivalry games, and of course, some cooler Friday night temperatures.

However, coming back to reality for a moment, we all know that the temperatures are anything but cool now, and looking ahead to this weekend’s games, the action on the field will be scorching as we’re going to be treated to some playoff-like matchups.

Thus far, we’ve seen some performances for the ages. We’ve watched some of our young boys turn into young men right before our very eyes, all of them playing their hearts out under the bright lights, and on the biggest of stages, affectionately known as the prep gridiron in communities around the state.

Year after year, these young boys, and sometimes even young girls, win the hearts and minds of local fans and become community heroes. Often, the game breaking performances on Friday nights will turn some of these players into instant stars who will be talked about at water coolers for decades to come.

Look at the performance one young man made this week.

Adam Cole, a junior running back and defensive back at Southwestern Randolph churned out a 225-yard performance while helping his team defeat South Stanly 56-6. Not only did he score six different times, he did so in about every way possible that night, scoring on the ground, through the air, and on defense.

In the eastern part of the state, senior running back William Reid from Washington High was nearly unstoppable as he rushed for 194-yards on just eight carries. For those math folks out there, that’s a rushing average of 24.3 yards-per-carry. That masterful performance led the Pam Pack to a 48-0 victory over First Flight and upped his season yards-per-carry average to a whopping 20.3 yards.

Finally, I’ve got to give an “atta-boy” to the team at Madison High School. Jamie Extine inherited a tough situation when he was hired as the head football coach, wins have been hard to come by in the small mountain town of Marshall of late, but his Patriots were able to snap a 26-game losing streak on Friday by defeating North Buncombe 47-24.

Games this week: Gibbons-Richmond features

Okay, let’s look forward at what’s to come this week.

Do you remember when Bryan Till led his Richmond Raiders up to Raleigh to take on Cardinal Gibbons in last year’s playoffs? It was a highly anticipated contest, but Gibbons took control early and trounced Richmond 28-14.

The true question is, will the Raiders get revenge this week as Steven Wright brings his Crusaders down U.S. Highway 1 to Rockingham to play in Raider Stadium?

You know that Raider die-hards will be there in full-force, and of course we all know about the flashing light show, but how will Gibbons do against the battle-tested Raiders who are coming off a 32-29 victory over a Top-5 ranked Butler squad?

Raider signal-caller Kellan Hood ran 23 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns and tacked on 117 more yards through the air against one of the top defenses in the state, but can he do it again this week? My advice is to arrive early and get a good seat.

Last Friday, the highly ranked Glenn Bobcats traveled to Sanford and totally dominated Lee County, then ranked No. 2 in the 3A by a score of 41-13. This week they’ll have to travel to Charlotte to face Julius Chambers in the Cougars first home game of the season.

If college football recruiting is your thing, this is a must-watch game that will be full of young players who will soon star on the collegiate gridiron. We all know that Daylan Summers is a can’t-miss talent from Chambers, but keep an eye on Glenn’s Albert Redd, who’s also on the Mr. Football short list.

A week ago, Hoggard stunned perennial power Scotland County 24-7. This week they’ll get a chance to do it again against 4A power Wake Forest. These are two teams that know how to move the ball on the ground, so if old-school, smash-mouth football is what you like, make the trip to the Port City.

Finally, I mentioned last week how special Cleveland County football is on the statewide landscape. Well, if you missed out on those big games, you get another opportunity this week to see some incredible rivalries as Kings Mountain travels across the county to Burns, while Crest pays a visit to Shelby in what’s certain to be two action-packed contests.

Whether it’s these games I mentioned, or any game across the state this weekend, go out and support these young people who give it their all on the prep gridiron. It’s money and time well spent, and I still contend that it’s the best family entertainment value in existence!

About the author

Chris Hughes, 44, has loved high school football since he was kid growing up in Kannapolis. He played at South Rowan and coached for eight years at South Rowan and Fayetteville Byrd. He’s covered high school football since 2007. Reach Chris with story ideas and comments at chughes@carolinapreps.com or @guruchrishughes on Twitter