Fred T. Foard travels Friday to St. Stephens and both teams are looking for their first win of the 2010 season. Foard (0-7, 0-2 Northwestern 3-A/4-A) and St. Stephens (0-7, 0-2 Northwestern 3-A/4-A) enter the game tied for sixth place in the conference.
“It’s an understatement to say this is a big game for both teams,” Indians head coach Fred Whalen said. “Traditionally, this is a rivalry game, so emotions will already be high. I expect both teams to come out fired up.”
The Tigers are coming off last week’s 53-13 loss to Hickory, but showed a lot of promise in the ground game. Junior running back Tre Robinson ran for 150 yards in the loss and found the endzone twice. Robinson has been Foard's’ go-to-guy this season, causing him to receive a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
“He’s a big, strong kid that will run you over,” Whalen said of Robinson. “And he has some speed on top of all of that.”
St. Stephens, on the other hand, is also coming off a lop-sided loss last week to Hibriten 52-0. The Indians were without starting quarterback Tanner Miller the first four games of the season due to a back injury, but he rejoined the team and showed promise during that time.
“He’s came out on fire. It’s shocking, really,” said Whalen of his quarterback. “He gets better every day, and he is a leader that is missed when he is not out on the field.”
Off the gridiron, the two rival schools will put aside their differences to support U.S. troops overseas. The game is the third annual Military Appreciation Night at St. Stephens in honor of Indians defensive coach Matt Jones, who was called to duty in Iraq two years ago.
Players on both teams will wear camouflage wristbands in support of the troops, and fans from both schools attending the game are encouraged to wear camouflage. In appreciation, any person serving in the military will get free admission to the game by showing military I.D.
MAIDEN AT SOUTH IREDELL
The Maiden Blue Devils look to make a big jump in the conference standings this week when they travel to South Iredell. Maiden (4-2, 1-1 CVAC) trail the Vikings in the CVAC standings by one game and could make a jump from fifth place with a win Friday night.
South Iredell (6-0, 2-0 CVAC), on the other hand, will try to keep its perfect season alive. The Vikings showed their dominance on both sides of the ball last week in a 42-0 rout of Bunker Hill, and they are in a three-way tie for first place with Newton-Conover and Draughn.
The game is only the second time these two teams have met in the last six years, with Maiden winning the first meeting 27-10 last season.
“They’re a very good team,” Blue Devils head coach Brian Brown said of South Iredell. “Our biggest concern is speed—and they have a lot of it.”
Brown knows his team will have to play sound defensively to contain a Vikings offense that puts a lot of points on the scoreboard. South Iredell used a balanced attack — 172 passing yards and 102 rushing yards — in the Bunker Hill win. Vikings receivers Quataya Smyre and Tyler Smith displayed a lot of quickness in the win by scoring two touchdowns apiece. Smyre had a 21-yard rushing touchdown and returned a punt 44 yards for a score, and Smith hauled in a pair of 48-yard touchdowns in the first half.
“We’ve got to challenge them on both sides of the ball,” Brown said. “We just need to do what we do — take care of the football and take some shots when we can.”
Maiden is coming off a 40-7 win last week over West Caldwell and wants to carry that momentum into this week’s matchup. Blue Devils quarterback Matt Johnson was in his usual form, with three first-half touchdowns in the win.