Chatham on the Gridiron - Week No. 3

Posted 9/6/19

Week 3 of 2019 high school gridiron action is upon us and two area clubs have lengthy road trips while a third will be in the cozy confines of home.

As of press time on Tuesday, the biggest …

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Chatham on the Gridiron - Week No. 3

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Week 3 of 2019 high school gridiron action is upon us and two area clubs have lengthy road trips while a third will be in the cozy confines of home.

As of press time on Tuesday, the biggest intangible this week for all teams will be the impending arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Currently a Category 3 hurricane battering the Bahamas, exactly what route Dorian takes will greatly affect high school football in North Carolina on Friday night. Current hurricane models have the storm arriving off the South Outer Banks around the Emerald Isle area at approximately 1 a.m. on Friday morning with its cone staying mainly in the eastern part of the state. In that scenario, it appears that the high school games in central and western North Carolina would be played.

Jordan-Matthews Head Coach Sam Spencer is taking that approach in practice this week gearing up for a road trip to Norwood to face South Stanly.

“We are planning to play, you have to prepare for the game and can’t let the weather alter your focus,” said Spencer. “Obviously you never know with a hurricane exactly what it may do, but for now we will practice and anticipate playing at the normal time on Friday evening.”

Also that night, Chatham Central will head to North Stokes up in Danbury while Northwood will entertain Southern Lee in Pittsboro.


This week: Chatham Central (0-2) is traveling to North Stokes (2-0, 1-10 last year; 1A Northwest Conference) Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at North Stokes High School, Vikings Stadium.

Head Coach: Frank Sessoms

Leading returnees: QB Issac Wood (Sr.), WR Gabe Oerter (Sr.), RB Victor Martinez (So.), LB Ethan Puckett (So.), DE Aiden Emswiler (Jr.), DB Elijah Cone (So.), RB Jacob Murray (Jr.).

Notable: North Stokes is making its way through the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference after defeating South Davidson 34-20 in week one and North Moore 32-21 last Friday night. Chatham Central suffered a heartbreaking 41-40 double-overtime defeat at the hands of Atkins.

Game keys: Chatham Central will have to play four quarters against North Stokes after playing just a half against Atkins last week which resulted in a defeat by the Bears to an Atkins team which frankly was as good. Quite frankly, Chatham Central will be the best team on the field again this Friday, but talk is what it is, talk, and it’s time for the Bears to get it done. North Stokes was 1-10 a year ago, and 0-11 in 2017 after dropping football mid-season in 2016. The last 2-0 start for the Vikings was in 2015. Chatham Central needs to get off to a good start and get Riley Lagenor off and running early and often. This will open up things for Michael Moore and a slew of capable receivers in Brady Cunnup, Tyler Oldham, Micah Gurley and Hunter Strickland. The Bears need to be physical on both sides of the ball as North Stokes has little depth and has most of its players going both ways including talented quarterback Issac Wood and linebacker Ethan Puckett. Defensively, Chatham Central, which has been gashed for two straight games, must stop the run first and foremost. Victor Martinez has some breakaway speed while Jacob Murray and Elijah Cone provide more physical runners. Special teams will play a factor as well as North Stokes blocked a punt for a TD against North Moore while also recovering an onside kick.

From the coach: CC’s coach Sherman Howze says his team will have to “put together a complete game.” “I think we have an advantage in depth,” he said. “I think the kids are excited. It’s always fun to play a road game against a team that you don’t see every year. So it will be interesting to see how our kids react.”


This week: Northwood (0-2) is hosting Southern Lee (0-2, 7-4 last year; 3A Tri County 6 Conference) Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Northwood High School, Chargers Stadium.

Head Coach: Kenneth Neal

Leading returnees: DE Wes Kidd (Jr.), CB Tonoah Lockley (Sr.), WR E.J. Foxx (Sr.), K Daniel Pisano (Sr.), RB Keshaun Mays (Sr.), LB Julian Barnes (Jr.), OL Parker Oldham (Sr.).

Notable: Northwood owns an all-time 3-1 record against Southern Lee including a 14-8 win in 2014 in Sanford. Northwood is coming off a forgettable 60-0 loss to Lee County last Friday night while Southern Lee was mashed 63-10 by 4A power Pinecrest. The Cavaliers put up a strong fight for a half before getting blown out in the second against the Patriots. Southern Lee dropped a 19-6 decision to 4A Hoke County in the season opener.

Game keys: First and foremost, Northwood has to put what was a catastrophe against Lee County behind it after trailing 60-0 against what is the best Yellow Jacket team in recent memory. Southern Lee, also seeking its first win, will be a formidable opponent having played a tough non-conference schedule thus far in 2019. Northwood will have to find some consistent offense after failing to move the ball well in two games, including being completely stuffed last Friday night which resulted in poor field position the entire way. Coach Cullen Homolka desperately needs a quarterback to step up and an offensive line to open some holes to unleash the talents of Aaron Ross, Deuce Powell and Justin Brower. Defensively, Northwood will have to win the battle up front and stop powerful fullback Keshaun Mayes who is a strong runner out of the slightly unusual Shot-Gun, Stack I formation, and Tonoah Lockley and E.J. Foxx, both speedsters, will line up at tailback as well as wideout while presenting breakaway threats. Containing that Cavalier trio will go a long ways in determining the outcome of the contest.


This week: Jordan-Matthews (0-2) is traveling to Norwood Friday night to battle South Stanly (1-1, 8-5 last year; 1A Yadkin Valley Conference) Kickoff: 7:30 pm at South Stanly High School, Rebel Bulls Stadium.

Head Coach: Ryan Ochier

Leading returnees: QB Jaquez Cooke (Sr.), WR Jadarien Smith (Jr.), RB Darien McKinney (Jr.), WR Justin Gaddy (Sr.), RB Marcus Green (Sr.).

Notable: South Stanly owns a 3-2 record over Jordan-Matthews the past five seasons including a 37-6 win in Siler City last season. Jordan-Matthews is coming off a 55-0 blasting at the hands of Oak Grove while South Stanly traveled to Monroe last Friday night to belt Union Academy 36-13 after dropping a 55-38 decision to Southwestern Randolph in the season opener.

Game keys: There’s one thing to know about traveling to Norwood for a football game: you can expect the unexpected. Through the years, crazy things happen at South Stanly. Jordan-Matthews will have its hands full on Friday night in trying to stop Rebel Bulls quarterback Marquez Cooke, who has been a thorn in the side of the Jets for three years now. Cooke has passed for six scores and ran for three more in two games this fall, and is the key to the contest if the young J-M squad is to have a chance to win on the road. Cooke also has some talented running backs in Marcus Green and Darien McKinney while Jaderian Smith and Justin Gaddy give South Stanly some dangerous receiving threats. South Stanly plays a lot of players both ways so holding on to the ball and sustaining drives is a must for Jordan-Matthews.

From the coach: J-M’s Sam Spencer says his team will have to “contain Cooke. We have to try to keep him from making big plays to have a chance. We also need to force some turnovers as well. On the offensive side of the ball, we need to keep the chains moving. If we can control the football and not turn it over and make mistakes, we can shorten the game. The less possessions Cooke has the ball in his hands the better.”


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