It’s time for the main event. After weeks of anticipation, the biggest game in the Catawba Valley 2-A this season will kickoff Friday when Newton-Conover travels to South Iredell. Both teams enter the game 9-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play. The winner will most likely be the 2010 CVAC champion.
“The game should be a good one,” Vikings head coach Scott Miller said. “We’re happy to be battling Newton-Conover for the championship, because they are a good, well-coached football team.”
South Iredell has been the surprise team of the CVAC this season and impressed opposing conference coaches with its team speed. The Vikings’ offense is well balanced and is led by quarterback Cory Powell, running back Cameron Mattox and receiver Quataye Smyre. The trio has combined to light up the score board with 325 points this season.
Newton-Conover has put big numbers as well, scoring 378 points this season.
“Our offense is fast,” Miller said. “But Newton-Conover has a good defense. Everyone talks about all the points they score, but their defense is tough. We have to protect the football.”
The Vikings speed on defense has been the real surprise for spectators this season. South Iredell has only allowed 75 points this season, recording three shutouts – two in conference play.
Newton-Conover running back Octavius Harden had a game changing, 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in last week’s 42-20 win over Draughn. Harden and Jamal Coates have been the Red Devils spark on offense this season.
“We play with a lot of intensity,” said Miller. “We’re smaller than teams that we play, so we have to fly around the ball and we’ll have to play fast to contain Newton-Conover’s playmakers or they could put up 50 points.”
Red Devils head coach Nick Bazzle does not over look the Vikings lack of size and is aware of the speed South Iredell has on both sides of the ball.
“Those little ones deliver a big blow,” Bazzle said. “They play hard and don’t give up many points. Size does not matter to them.”
Bazzle said the Red Devils’ defense will have to be more consistent this week if they have any chance of winning.
“They have some good offensive threats,” Bazzle said of the Vikings. “They are the best we’ve seen in 2010, bottom line.”
Bazzle compared the Vikings’ teams speed to that of Reidsville, Salisbury and Tarboro — all postseason opponents for the Red Devils during the past two seasons.
Newton-Conover won’t go too far from its game plan to stop the Vikings’ speed
“We’re not going to do anything different,” Bazzle said. “You dance with the one that brought you there.”
BUNKER HILL AT MAIDEN
The battle for third place is close to home Friday with Bunker Hill (6-3, 2-3 CVAC) at Maiden (6-3, 3-2 CVAC). Last week, Bunker Hill beat West Caldwell 39-14 and Maiden cruised to a 49-7 win over East Burke.
“This is another big game for us,” Bears head coach Travis Conner said. “It’s a chance for either team to finish third in the conference and help in the playoff seeding. We’d like to have a home game in the playoffs.”
Bunker Hill snapped its three game losing streak last week, with another big game by running back Reggie Davis. Davis has been the key player in Conner’s run-oriented offense this season and finished the game last week with 267 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Davis’ running mate, Davontaye Wilson, provides the speed in the backfield and had an electrifying 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in last week’s win.
“Reggie put on a show last week,” Conner said. “And Davontaye had a big game. Anytime he puts his hands on the ball, he’s dangerous.”
On the other side of the ball, the Blue Devils come into the game with a one-game lead over Bunker Hill in the conference standings. Quarterback Matt Johnson threw four touchdown passes in last week’s win at East Burke. Maiden’s offense amassed 450 yards of offense – 239 rushing yards and 211-passing yards, in the contest.
Bunker Hill has lost each of the previous five meetings with the Blue Devils, being outscored 187-29.
“We are just trying to get ready,” Conner said. “This is a huge test for us. Maiden is a very good football team.”
The Blue Devils’ three losses this season were to teams that are still undefeated – Lincolnton, Newton-Conover and South Iredell.
“How you finish the season is important to how you go into the playoffs,” Conner said. “We want to finish on an upbeat.”