2018 football season to kick off this week

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com
East Wilkes will host East Surry on Friday night. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune
Forbush will host West Wilkes on Friday night in East Bend. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune

With kickoff of the 2018 football season approaching, teams are preparing for the opening game, which will take place on Friday night. Elkin will host Surry Central, East Wilkes will host East Surry, Forbush will host West Wilkes and Starmount hosts Mount Airy.

Surry Central at Elkin

Last season when these two teams met, Elkin had been winless since October 2016. When the Buckin’ Elks took on the Eagles, things changed and Elkin was able to come up with a 31-14 win. This season the Buckin’ Elks are looking to open up their 2018 campaign with another season opener. Elkin has a 22-man roster with nine seniors on the team. Elkin will be filling in the gaps this year with the loss of several of its talented seniors from last season’s team.

Although the team is young, it has the speed and determination of a well-rounded squad. Players on the offensive side will be able to run several routes to open up options for the quarterback — who head coach Scott Wood had yet to name by Tuesday afternoon. On the option for a quarterback, Wood said, “We are working a few kids at the position and they are all progressing every day, each one of them brings something different to the table.”

On the Surry Central side, the Eagles are bringing seven seniors to the team, 11 juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen. Last season Surry Central held a record of 2-9 and averaged two touchdowns per game.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Elkin.

East Surry at East Wilkes

Last season, the Surry Cardinals and the Wilkes Cardinals were two of the top 1A teams in the state of North Carolina. On Friday night, these two teams will open up their 2018 seasons in Ronda.

Both teams have strong offensive and defensive lines which made it hard for their opponents to control last season. Although East Wilkes had a successful 2018 season, the Cardinals lost several of their starters including their quarterback, Bryce Vestal. This season, Caeden Howell will take over the starting spot and anchor the Cardinals. Along with a new quarterback, East Wilkes also had a new coach in Jonathan Wilmoth.

East Wilkes will have 17 seniors — many of whom are playing for their first year. The Cardinals are lacking in size, but they have the grit and determination to play hard against their opponents.

East Surry will be returning 16 seniors — including Logan Ray. Jefferson Boaz will be another returning player for the Cardinals. East Surry has the size, strength and skill to be a powerhouse team once again this season.

Kick-off will be at 7:30 in Ronda.

Mount Airy at Starmount

The Starmount Rams will kick off their season with a home game against one of the best teams in the 1A, Mount Airy.

Starmount has struggled in the last few years to put together the numbers it needs on the sidelines, but this season the Rams have 31 players, which helps with different play options. Trey Dezern will step into the quarterback position. The Rams also will have a new coach on the sidelines, as Sandy Grinton will be taking over the orange and blue. On defense, Ethan Barnes will be returning to help make an impact once again for the Rams.

Starmount will have its hands full with the Granite Bears, as they are returning several of their top players from last season. One well-known player is Donovan Greene, who will be playing at Wake Forest University next year. Greene and the Bears are coming off of a 14-1/5-0 season, and they are well prepared under new head coach, J.K. Adkins.

Starmount will have to play tough with run plays and pass plays. If the Rams can counter early in the game and stop the Bears on their first possession, things could go Starmount’s way. Starmount will have to buckle down and leave it all on the field to earn its opening win of the season.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 in Boonville.

West Wilkes at Forbush

Forbush will play host to West Wilkes on Friday night in East Bend. The Falcons are young and inexperienced this season, but they are willing to leave everything on the field to earn a win. Forbush will have a sophomore quarterback this year, and several younger players also will make their debut with the varsity squad. Forbush has six seniors, 11 juniors and seven sophomores on this year’s team.

West Wilkes will be returning several of its starters to the field, which will give it the advantage over a young Forbush team. This season, the Blackhawks have 20 seniors, 19 juniors, 12 sophomores and 10 freshmen on the team.

Last season when Forbush and West Wilkes met, the Blackhawks were able to take a 42-17 win over the Falcons.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 in East Bend.

East Wilkes will host East Surry on Friday night.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_EWfootball.jpgEast Wilkes will host East Surry on Friday night. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

Forbush will host West Wilkes on Friday night in East Bend.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_FHSfootball.jpgForbush will host West Wilkes on Friday night in East Bend. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

By Kristian Russell

krussell@elkintribune.com