Each year, one game stands out above all the rest on every team's schedule. This year is no exception for the Starmount Rams.
Friday, the Rams will host the Mount Airy Granite Bears, in what has developed into a season opener rivalry. This is the one game that will have every talking, and the one game not to miss.
Mount Airy has established themselves as a dominant powerhouse in the world of 1A high school football. In 2008, the Granite Bears established the perfect 16-0 season, winning the state championship against Williamston, 37-14. Again, in 2009, Mount Airy steamrolled their way through their season with 15 wins, until they played Wallace-Rose Hill in the 1A state championship.
The Bears fell short, losing 37-38.
While the Granite Bears were busy establishing their dominance in the 1A division, Starmount has been busy doing the same in the 2A division.
The Rams have had established perfect conference seasons over the last two years. Last year, Starmount made a strong push into the playoffs.
The Ram's fell short, however, of moving beyond the second round, falling to Lexington 21-22.
While Mount Airy has been one best teams over the last few years, they have graduated several key players. Starmount, however, has had a young group of players form the core of the team's talent over the last few years.
Senior quarterback Jake Barr will be one of several Starmount players who have the potential to carry the Rams. Barr, an All-State selection from 2009, ran the ball 120 times for 703 yards with 14 touchdowns.
"We have high expectations for Jake this year," said coach Scott Johnson.
Big things are expected from senior M.J. Bryant as well. Bryant was a monster on defense during the 2009 season. He had 116 tackles, 10 of which were tackles for loss.
While Barr and Bryant are just two of the impact players for Starmount, the real test will be Friday evening. In order for the Rams to beat Mount Airy, all of the players will have to step up. Starmount can send a big message to the rest of the conference if they can defeat Mount Airy, and that message is, "We're the real deal."