Here are my week one predictions for high school football:
Greenbrier vs. Westside
Westside has beaten Greenbrier three consecutive seasons and five of the past six meetings. Last season the Patriots blasted the Wolfpack 47-14. This season Greenbrier will likely put up a much better fight. A year ago Nick Richards was making his first start at quarterback. He now has a full year under his belt running Scott Chadwick's offense. Westside's star is QB/DB Sanders Cummings Jr. The 6-2, 190-pound standout already has offers from Auburn and Georgia. This season is Cummings' first under center. The 'Pack cannot let him beat them with his legs, especially when passing plays break down. The game should be much closer this year, but Westside will be a bit too much.
Harlem vs. Evans
This is the fourth consecutive season that the Knights and Bulldogs have opened the season playing one another. The Knights have taken two out of three, including a 21-16 win a year ago. Evans has most of their key offensive players back this season, while Harlem must replace several key players. That experience could be the key to an Evans victory. Look for the Knights to get the ball to the talented trio of 6-4 WR Jonathan Nicely, 6-3 athlete David Smith and speedy Trey Henderson early and often. Evans needs to keep an eye on the Bulldogs' Carlos Beard who takes over this season at quarterback. Harlem will need Beard to have a big game on offense and limit their turnovers to steal this one.
Lakeside vs. Aquinas
New Lakeside coach Jody Grooms might be in for a long first season, but this is one the Panthers can win. The Panthers do not have a ton of offensive firepower, but they do have a pretty solid defense. With DB Kyle Tudor leading the way, the Irish will likely have a tough time putting points on the board, too. This type of game usually comes down to who can protect the football, and that will likely be the case on Friday night. Also, the Panther crowd should be a huge benefit, as they will be pumped up for Grooms' first game.
Augusta Christian vs. Charlotte-Latin
The Lions looked outstanding in their opener as they blasted Orangeburg Prep 49-7. Saying this week will be tougher is a huge understatement. Charlotte-Latin won the Class AAA private school state title in North Carolina last season. They return the state's top QB prospect in 6-5 signal-caller Braden Hansen. Hansen has already committed to play for North Carolina next season. On defense they are led by LB Ben Ashcroft. The 6-0, 220-pound Ashcroft is headed to the Air Force Academy in 2008. The Lions will need to play mistake-free football and get lots of pressure on Hansen if they want to be 2-0 come Saturday morning. This week will be tougher.
Charlotte Latin 31,
Augusta Christian 20
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