After a weird week due to Hurricane Florence, the Piedmont District teams are back on a normal schedule again. Magna Vista and Patrick County each played on Wednesday last week and then Martinsville played on Thursday. Bassett was on a bye, so now the Cougars are the lone team locally that has not taken its bye to this point.
This is the first week of Piedmont District games. Teams have taken care of their non-district schedule and are ready to see some familiar faces.
The opening week of Piedmont action features some intriguing matchups, but also some tough challenges. Magna Vista, coming off of a second straight loss, will travel to Stuart to face off against Patrick County coming off of their first win of the season. Martinsville will play host to G.W.-Danville and Bassett will host Franklin County as the Bengals look to get that elusive first win.
Here’s what fans should look to see when they take their seats tonight, starting with the double-local matchup between Magna Vista and Patrick County.
Magna Vista at Patrick County
Tonight’s matchup is one featuring two teams with two different feelings. The Warriors will look to snap a two-game losing streak when they take the field, while the Cougars will look to make it two straight in the win column. Both teams like to run the ball and have the weapons to do it, but the run games are completely different.
The Warriors, led by Louis Taylor, continue to spread teams out and use their speed to create big plays in the run game. The Cougars have widened out the formations a bit this season, but at their core, they still want to pound the rock inside with sophomore Dae’Shawn Penn.
Magna Vista Head Coach Joe Favero said tackling has been a point of emphasis this week and that is a must against a run-heavy Patrick County team.
Both he and Patrick County Head Coach David Morrison stressed execution as a main key to tonight’s game.
“We want to see a lot better execution,” Morrison said. “We want to make sure offensively that we don’t have as many mistakes that cost us points.”
“We are just trying to execute better,” Favero said. “We’ve done well at times, we just haven’t been consistent.
“We haven’t played at our best and we’ve still got a high ceiling.”
The Warriors are no stranger to beginning PD play at 1-2 , but getting off to a 1-0 start in the PD is big for Favero.
For Morrison, he’s looking forward to being able to play the Warriors on his home field.
“We just look forward to getting them down here and having an opportunity to play Friday night,” he said.
Kickoff in Stuart is set for 7 p.m.
Frankin County at Bassett
The Bengals come off of their bye week with their PD opener with Franklin County coming to town.
The Bengals are 0-3, but after the bye week the team is feeling good about the progress they’ve made to this point.
“We went to work hard during the bye week,” said Head Coach Brandon Johnson. “We went back to basics and we’re excited about where we’re at as a team.”
Bassett will get a boost as Kevon Smith will hope to make his season debut. He will be on a snap count, but Johnson is excited to bring back one of his leaders on both sides of the ball.
Starting off 0-3 again could create tension within the locker room, but Johnson said the morale has been good, especially with bye week, and they are confident they can turn the work into wins in the PD.
“We’re still pretty confident we can pull together some wins out of the bye,” Johnson said.
The key for Bassett, no matter the opponent, is hanging on to the ball. Through three games the Bengals have nine turnovers.
“We’ve got to take care of the football,” Johnson said.
Kickoff in Bassett is set for 7 p.m.
G.W.-Danville at Martinsville
The Bulldogs need to have a strong case of amnesia after the William Byrd loss last week with the Eagles of G.W.-Danville coming to town.
G.W.-Danville is coming off of its bye week following the first loss of the season two weeks ago against Jefferson Forest.
For the Bulldogs, a fast start is critical. Last week, Byrd scored 28 first-quarter points. Against G.W., Martinsville can’t allow the score to get away that quick again.
It starts with the running game for Martinsville and the combination of Nigal Davis and Dasyne Hairston. The two of them on the field together gives opposing teams something most every other team can’t and that’s two players that can play all over the field and score a touchdown in the blink of an eye.
Kickoff in Martinsville is set for 7 p.m. tonight.