Posted: September 13, 2007
HIGH POINT In the grand scheme of things, Friday night’s matchup between T. Wingate Andrews and High Point Central means nothing.
The Red Raiders could lose to the Bison and reel off an 11-game winning streak that culminates in a 3A state championship. Ditto for Central, except the Bison would need to win 10 in a row to capture the 4A crown.
Realistically speaking, though, Andrews and Central find themselves at a fork in the road this week. Since the teams moved this series to mid-September in 1997, at no point have they entered the matchup with a worse combined record.
Central comes in at 1-3 following last week’s 43-16 loss to Wake Forest-Rolesville. Andrews, thanks to a pair of bye weeks, is just 1-1 but stumbled mightily in last Friday’s 276 effort at Grimsley.
“It’s the fact that both teams obviously are looking to win a football game, and this week we happen to be playing our rival,” said new Bison head coach Wayne Jones of the importance of this game. “That’s what makes a win probably a little more important for the kids, but as coaches we just want to get back on the winning track.”
After a loss, explained new Andrews head coach Rodney McKoy, “The kids are all uptight, ready to go. You want your nonconference season to be consistent. You don’t want to win a week and lose a week.”
Certainly the loser of Friday’s rivalry game isn’t done for the season. But winning in the following weeks won’t get any easier. The Bison travel to undefeated 4A foe North Davidson for their final game of the month, then get a bye week to prep for the Metro 4A Conference season. First up on that slate is mighty Grimsley.
Andrews, meanwhile, travels to Asheboro next Friday and then welcomes 2A state title contender Reidsville. The Raiders’ Piedmont Triad 3A Conference schedule opens with a trip to powerful Glenn. The players know full well that the pressure to perform is on.
“Since we lost to Grimsley last week, we’ve got to redeem ourselves,” strong safety Jamal Haizlip said. “Especially me. I’m a senior and it’s my last time playing Central.”
Bison defensive end Teddy Warren agreed with that assessment, especially since Andrews snapped a five-game skid in the series with last year’s 34-28 decision. “We’ve got to get the respect back from everybody,” the senior said. “We need to win. We’ve got a good team and we’ve got to pull it together.”
Now that both teams find themselves at this crossroads, pulling it together for this rebound game is paramount.
Besides, if either the Raiders or Bison crash on the road ahead this fall, they’ll need the satisfaction of winning this contest to ease the pain of a rebuilding year.
“It doesn’t matter how far you go – you could win the state championship,” Warren said. “If you didn’t beat Andrews, it ain’t nothing.”
Courtesy of: Steve Hanf, High Point Enterprise