The high school football season will swing back into action Friday night with all area teams competing in regular season games against non-region opponents. Following is a preview of this week’s action:
Opp at Elba
The Elba Tigers will be looking to bounce back from a season opening loss to Daleville Friday night when they host the Opp Bobcats, at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers outscored the Bobcats 53-33 last season, but trail in the history of the long series 44-38, in a series that began way back in 1923. Elba dropped its season opener last week on the road at Daleville 38-28, but did show spark on offense as Ja’Quez Prince rushed for 108 yards and passed for 52 yards and one touchdown, while Carson Wise rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown and running back Collin Harrison added 59 yards and one td on the ground. While the Elba offense tracked up plenty of yards and points, the Tiger defense was shredded for 371 yards on the ground and allowed an average of over nine yards per carry and five scores on the ground. Opp struggled to an 0-10 record last season and has a 4-16 record over the last two seasons, but posted a big 21-7 preseason win last week over defending 3A state champion Flomaton last week, and will be brimming with confidence Friday night when they arrive at Tiger Stadium. The Bobcats return seven starters on offense, including 6-2 quarterback Hal Smithart, 6-5 wide-receiver Erik Matthews, 180-pound running back Ashton Patel, and 270-pound offensive lineman Jaylen Stoudemire, while on the defensive side they return eight starters, including linebackers Dakota Cornelius (185), James Cornelius (225) and Jaydon Lacey (190). This match-up should be another classic in the Tigers oldest football rivalry.
New Brockton at Brantley
The New Brockton Gamecocks will be looking to get in the win column Friday night when they head to Brantley to tangle with the 1A Brantley Bulldogs, at David Lowery Stadium. New Brockton leads the short series 2-1, while the Bulldogs posted a big 35-17 win last season. The Gamecocks dropped their season opener 42-13 to 3A power Providence Christian last week, but quarterback Kaden Cupp had a big game both running and passing, and this week there is no doubt that the New Brockton coaches will be hoping to help the Gamecock qb and add to the offensive attack. Brantley competed in a preseason game last week and posted a win over Highland Home. The Bulldogs are coming off a 7-4 season and have won only 22 games the past three seasons after rolling up 33 wins the previous three years.
Red Level at Zion Chapel
The Zion Chapel Rebels will kick off their regular season on Friday night at Green Memorial Stadium when they host the 1A Red Level Tigers. Zion Chapel leads the brief series 2-1 and last season posted a wild 40-33 win. The Rebels are coming off a 5-5 season, their most wins since back in 2011, and averaged over 22 points per game, while the Tigers are also coming off a 5-5 season, their most wins since back in 2010.
Kinston at Samson
The Kinston Bulldogs will kick off the Rudy Free era Friday night when they travel to Samson for a clash with the 2A Samson Tigers. Samson leads the long series 31-6, has won seven of the last eight meetings, and last season rolled to a 37-18 win. The Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing 2-8 season, their fewest wins since back in 2009, but have a new head coach and a new attitude and enter the season determined to be a factor in the region race. The Tigers surrendered 54 points last week in a lopsided loss to Geneva County, and will no doubt be anxious to get a much needed win to even their record.