With the fifth week of high school football approaching, it’s time for teams to start meeting with their conference rivals. This week sees every local team in action and it is also the first week of conference games. On Friday night, Elkin will host Starmount in the Battle of the Bridge, East Wilkes will host North Wilkes and Forbush will travel to Carver.
Starmount (0-4) at Elkin (3-1)
The Battle of the Bridge will take place on Friday night at Grissom Stadium in Elkin. The Buckin’ Elks are coming off of a 30-7 win over South Stokes, while the Rams are coming off of their bye week. For the past few years, Starmount has had the upper hand on the Buckin’ Elks. Since 2004, Starmount has won 12 of the past 14 meetings. Elkin has only won two, in 2014 and 2005.
Last season, Starmount took a 38-22 win over the Elks. The Rams came into the meeting with a record of 1-3, while Elkin also had a record of 1-3. This year things look different on the sidelines and in the record books. Starmount has yet to win a game this season. Elkin is coming into this week’s game with a 3-1 record and a one-game winning streak.
Starmount will be coming off of its bye week, which came at just the right time for the Rams. Starmount has been struggling to maintain possession of the football when they need it most. On third down, the Rams have trouble converting the play and gaining positive yards. When the pocket collapses on Starmount, the play is rushed and unfortunately turnovers happen. Although Starmount hasn’t won a game, it still has had bright spots during the season.
J. Max Swaim and Ethan Barnes are tough play-makers for the Rams. Swaim comes in at 155 pounds and is known for his speed. If he finds a hole in the defense, he can outrun the defenders and gain several yards. Barnes is a 185-pound running back who uses his size to battle through the middle and make the tough plays. Nik Pardue also has had several positive plays for the Rams on offense. The running back can put down runs and fool his defenders for first downs.
All of the pieces will need to come together for the Rams as they take on an improved Elkin team who has shown its skills over the past four weeks.
Elkin is coming into the Battle of the Bridge with a 3-1 record, its best start to a season since 2013. Elkin has young players on the field who have made an impact for the Buckin’ Elks. The Buckin’ Elks also have veteran players who carry the team and help the younger players.
At quarterback, Ty Townsend is a senior who is the anchor and the leader of the team. Townsend has been able to complete passes to the end zone, while also showing off his versatility with hand-offs and quarterback keepers. Brandon Loredo uses his 6’2 frame as a wide receiver to catch passes down the field.
Cortland Sturdivant is a junior fullback, who made tough plays during the game against South Stokes. Tyler Mayes, a running back who is also a junior, was able to gain several yards and made several carries over the past few weeks.
The Buckin’ Elks have been connecting on defense and offense when it matters most. Elkin has averaged three touchdowns per game, and only allowed two touchdowns by their opponents. If Elkin can keep up its momentum from the previous weeks, it could record its first win over Starmount in four years.
Friday night’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Elkin.
North Wilkes (4-0) at East Wilkes (3-1)
Ebb Tharpe Field in Ronda will be a packed house on Friday night as two powerhouse Wilkes County teams will meet under the lights. North Wilkes, who is undefeated so far this season, will travel to East Wilkes to take on the Cardinals in the opening MVAC game for both teams.
Since 2004, East Wilkes has had the upperhand on the Vikings. The Cardinals have won 13 of the last 15 meetings. The last time North Wilkes took a win over the Cardinals was in 2013, with a 49-31 victory.
East Wilkes is coming off of its bye week, which gave the Cardinals a chance to regroup and take time to study their opponents. The Vikings are coming off of a 49-0 win over the Forbush Falcons, and are looking to stay undefeated.
East Wilkes will have to come out strong on both sides of the field. The Vikings are able to put together successful run plays, as well as pass plays to get the job done. The past few weeks, the Cardinals have steadily improved on and off the field.
Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Ronda.
Forbush (1-4) at Carver (0-5)
The Falcons will be traveling to Winston-Salem to take on Carver on Friday night. Forbush is looking to make a comeback after a 49-0 loss to North Wilkes last week. The Falcons only win of the season has come over its in-county rivals, the Starmount Rams. This week, Forbush will need to play the way they did in week three to take its first conference win of the season.
The Yellowjackets have yet to win a game this season and are coming into the game with an 0-5 record. Carver has only scored three touchdowns this season — one in the first game, and two in the second game. The Yellowjackets have been held scoreless in its last three games. Although Carver is 0-5, they have matched up with tough opponents this season — Dudley, Oak Grove, Glenn, East Forsyth and Parkland have all played the Yellowjackets.
Forbush will have to play smart and not underestimate Carver in order to come away with the win. Forbush averages two touchdowns per game, and more than 135 yards in the first two quarters. Last week, the Falcons looked like a different team than they did two weeks ago against Starmount. In Hays, the Falcons struggled to get a first down while they also had a hard time stopping the Vikings from finding the end zone.
Forbush will have to put last week’s game behind them and focus on the task at hand on Friday night. Casey Graham will have to put together a strong performance at quarterback and not be afraid to put the ball in the air like he did against Starmount. The defensive line will need to collectively come together and make tough stops for Forbush.
The Falcons have a chance to win their first Western Piedmont Athletic Conference game this season if they can communicate on both offense and defense.
Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Winston-Salem.