Northwestern v South Pointe
Two teams with the same agenda will face each other Saturday.
South Pointe will take on Northwestern. That game will end the first weekend of high school football in the Rock Hill are. Action started Thursday night with Aiken against Chester and C. A. Johnson taking on Great Falls.
Season previews of all the area teams have been published at heraldonline.com. You can go to the high school football page to get an early look.
Friday night there are seven more games: York-Clover; River Bluff-Fort Mill; Sumter-Rock Hill; Spartanburg-Nation Ford; Indian Land-Lancaster; Catawba Ridge-Carolina Pride; and Lewisville-Eu Claire.
Then comes Northwestern-South Pointe.
South Pointe, 10-2 last year, and Northwestern, which finished 4-7 last season, square off at 7 p.m. at District III Stadium. For the first time in several years, the Stallions and Trojans will have new head coaches.
South Pointe is on a three-game winning streak against Northwestern. Trojans’ new head coach Page Wofford said the game isn’t as much about the opponent as it is about his team doing things correctly.
“Really its about Northwestern,” he said. “We have to improve on ourselves, especially early on in the season. It doesn’t matter who we play. There are no gimmie games. This is just one more game, it just happens to be against a team that is seven miles away. We are going to do our best and try to put a good product on the field and let the chips fall where they may.”
Wofford said don’t expect Northwestern to be perfect.
“We are going to make mistakes,” he said. “We have to be able to overcome mistakes and come together as a team. We have to play fast and play together and be the best player at our position on the field.”
Being nervous won’t help.
“We know each other,” Wofford said. “The kids know each other. We see each other out. We see them out at the grocery store and at church. I have a lot of respect for that program and I know our kids do as well. You can see the way they practice they have a lot of respect for South Pointe.”
South Pointe head coach Devonte Holloman said, with it being the first game of the season, even more pressure comes with winning and starting things off the way each team wants.
“One of our goals is to be the best in the city and we will find out right away if you are or not,” he said. “It will be a good matchup. Northwestern looks like they are coached well and we are trying to get ready to do our part. The kids want to beat those guys. If we lose to them, we have to hear about it for a whole year. They are gearing up for it.”
Early observations of the Trojans’ offense show that Air Raid mentality that once was all the rage for Northwestern, but they incorporated the run in their most recent scrimmage against the Providence Panthers. That highlighted players like senior Jayshon Williams and sophomore Zaylan Page. Wofford said a lot of the credit for the success of the running game goes to the offensive line.
“The big key this year will be our offensive line,” he said. “You talk about the running game, that only happens because of the offensive line. Running the ball is easy, but you can only do that if you have people up front that can block.”
Holloman said because the game is Saturday, having an extra day to prep for a team like the Trojans can only be beneficial to his team.
“We were able to do some things that we aren’t able to do in the future like a little more film and a little more studying,” he said. “For the most part, we are just trying to set how we prepare and get into rhythm.”
Early observations of South Pointe show that they have a lot of speed and athleticism, led by senior quarterback Tahleek Steele and junior utility player O’mega Blake.
Keeping those two players contained is something the Trojans will have to do if they hope to be victorious.