Friday Preview: Bulldogs to meet Eagles in anticipated showdown
Not often, if ever, is the Chair City buzzing when East Davidson and Thomasville meet on the gridiron for Friday night football. After all, the Bulldogs lead the all-time series 16-0, and quite frankly the games have not been close.
But the Golden Eagles are believing now is the time to end that streak, while the Bulldogs are hungry to keep it going after getting the taste of victory back in their mouths last week against West Davidson.
East Davidson Community Stadium will host the Central Carolina Conference showdown between the two with an added bit of excitement. It will be homecoming at East.
“I hate homecoming week to be honest with you,” said East coach Vance Hanner. “But I told the kids, one of the reasons we have tried to make a big deal about things at our home games, is so when we have homecoming, it is old hat to them and they are not so geared up they cannot play.”
THS comes in with a 2-5 record overall and 1-0 CCC mark. The Eagles are 6-1 and 1-0 in conference. Last season it was the Bulldogs posting a 24-0 shutout.
Thomasville wound up winning big over the Green Dragons last week, but the game was a lot closer than the final 33-6 tally on the scoreboard.
Some positive news for the Bulldogs came from the offensive backfield. Running the ball has been problematic at times, but Demoris Payne and D.J. Spann looked good in chewing up chunks of yardage at Cushwa last Friday. When Thomasville can run the ball effectively, they are a tough crowd to beat.
“Both of them did a nice job for us against West,” said THS assistant coach Dickie Cline. “I believe both of them went over 100 yards last week and were not separated by much.”
It is no secret Thomasville plays one of the tougher nonconference schedules in the state. Tough times were endured during the first half of the season, but now that league play has arrived, the competition is on a more level playing field.
Hanner is not fooled by their current record.
“I have seen them against the team from Virginia and I am very impressed,” he said. “I think they have some big kids and play tough defense. On offense, they line up in some different formations and make it tough for the defense. There are a lot of areas to worry about. Thomasville is Thomasville.”
East faced a tough Salisbury defense last week that basically took away the run game and forced the Eagles to pass. Quarterback Austin Wallace had some success hitting Michael Ramos out of the backfield and got a gift when Nick Bolen picked a pass out of the air for a score on a tipped ball. Hanner expects the Bulldogs to be even tougher on defense.
For Cline, if Thomasville is to run the winning streak to 17 games, they need to be more disciplined. He was not pleased with some of the penalties against the Green Dragons. And after hearing about the wild finish last week in Salisbury, eliminating big plays will be crucial.
“We need to cut down on the penalties like we had Friday,” said Cline. “I do not care who you are playing, when you are facing a first-and-20 or 25, it is hard to overcome. And we need to not allow the big play. East and Salisbury had big plays late in the game and we need to keep that from happening.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.