Week four football preview

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com

With the fourth week of football approaching, three teams will be in action on Friday night. For Starmount and Forbush, the coveted Unifi Bowl will take place in Boonville. On the other side of the river, East Wilkes will be traveling to Winston-Salem to take on Walkertown. Elkin has a bye this week.

Forbush (0-3) at Starmount (0-3)

Yadkin County’s biggest rivalry will take place on Friday night under the stadium lights in Boonville. The Forbush Falcons will travel the short distance to take on the Starmount Rams for the Unifi Bowl.

The trophy is in Boonville in the halls of Starmount, as the Rams won last year’s contest 20-0. Since 2004, Starmount has won the Unifi Bowl 10 times, while Forbush has taken home the trophy four times. The last time Forbush won was 2016, which broke Starmount’s nine-year winning streak.

For the past few years, Forbush and Starmount have came into the Unifi Bowl looking for their first wins of the seasons. This season is no different, as both teams are sitting at 0-3. On Friday night, one team will be able to take its first win of the year, while the other will move to 0-4 and look for a win somewhere else.

Forbush is coming off of a 48-19 loss to East Wilkes (2-1). The Falcons stuck with the Cardinals until halftime, but the second half saw East Wilkes turn up the heat and score five touchdowns while Forbush score just one. Forbush struggled on offense with the pass game, but the Falcons also struggled on defense when it came to stopping the run game by East Wilkes.

The Cardinals looked like they were in better game shape than the young Falcons, which could play into the hands of the Rams on Friday night. The Falcons will have to play all four quarters at top strength if they want to come away with a win over Starmount.

Forbush also will have to stand strong on the offensive line. Last week, Forbush’s quarterback, Casey Graham, had to make plays out of the zone because of the collapsing pocket. Graham handled the pressure well, but the plays didn’t amount to the yards Forbush wanted. If Forbush can tweak the little things and come together on offense, things could go the Falcons way.

On the other side of the field, Starmount’s record doesn’t reflect the talent that is on the team. The Rams have matched up against three powerhouse teams in the first three weeks of the season. One area where the Rams succeed is with their offensive plays. Starmount has a versatile quarterback on Trey Dezern — he can throw the ball as well as run the ball if he needs to.

Last week Starmount traveled to West Stokes to take on the Wildcats. Starmount lost 56-20, but the Rams accumulated eight first downs with 46 total plays. While Forbush struggles to maintain its fitness through four quarters, the Rams also have struggled late in the fourth quarter. The Rams scored three touchdowns in the first quarter against West Stokes, but they were held to zero touchdowns for the rest of the game.

Another area the Rams struggled with was penalties. Starmount had six penalties which resulted in a loss of 60 yards on the night. The Rams will have to control its false starts and holding penalties to be able to get the upper hand on the Falcons.

With struggles coming from both sides of the field, the Falcons and Rams have a chance to make this year’s Unifi Bowl an exciting one.

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

East Wilkes (2-1) at Walkertown (1-2)

The East Wilkes Cardinals are on a two-game winning streak heading into the fourth week. The Cardinals are coming off of a blowout 48-19 win over Forbush last week in East Bend. This week, East Wilkes will be traveling to Winston-Salem to take on the Walkertown Wolfpack. Last season East Wilkes took a 60-12 win, while in 2016 Walkertown won 42-21.

The Cardinals seem to be getting their legs underneath them, as they have looked like the kind of team everyone expects to come out of Ronda. During East Wilkes’ game against Forbush, the Cardinals were able to put together successful plays all around the field.

Offensively, East Wilkes meshed to come up with its second win of the season. Brayson Church was a standout player for East Wilkes last week, as he had a 51-yard touchdown run and several additional top plays. Jayveon Ross also put up touchdowns for the Cardinals as he used his size to his advantage to make runs up the middle. Quarterback Caeden Howell made his mark by keeping a level head when the pocket collapsed, which resulted in a touchdown.

On defense, the Cardinals had several standout plays, but one key play came in the first half. While Forbush looked to throw the ball down field, Sean Sidden went up for the interception and returned the ball to the 1-yard line. It was a play that pumped the Cardinals up and lead them to a touchdown. If East Wilkes can put together all of the pieces like it did last week, the outcome could be the same against Walkertown.

The Wolfpack have struggled defensively, as they have allowed 110 points in just three games. On offense, the Wolfpack have scored only 35 points, which came in the second week against Winston-Salem Prep. Walkertown was held scoreless against Lexington and Parkland.

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

Unifi Bowl to take place on Friday night

By Kristian Russell