Tropical Storm Hermine forces schedule changes for football; week three players to watch

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WILMINGTON- The potential threat from Tropical Storm Hermine in eastern North Carolina has shifted several local football games. Below are listed dates and times for each game heading into week three of the high school schedule.

New Hanover (1-1) at Havelock (2-0)  at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1

Player to Watch: Khalil Toney, senior, nose tackle: Listed at six-foot, 275-pounds, Toney plays a big role in stuffing the run on the defensive line. His size mixed with quickness is a match up problem for any center or offensive guard across the line of scrimmage.

The New Hanover football team knew they were going to be tested during the early season non-conference schedule. Coming off a disappointing performance in a 34-13 setback against a high-powered Myrtle Beach offense in week two, the Wildcats have a chance to prove their resiliency as they continue a three-game road trip at 3A powerhouse, Havelock.

Khalil Toney.
Khalil Toney.

Havelock is off to a 2-0 start, outscoring its two opponents 76-8 to start the season. The Rams are the defending East Regional Champions and 2015 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A runner-up.

While the defense will have their hands full, the New Hanover offense is looking for a bounce back performance after posting just one touchdown last week. Wiz Vaughn has a team-high six total scores through the opening two weeks

After Thursday’s contest, New Hanover gets a much deserved bye week heading into a matchup at Scotland County on September 16.

Hoggard (1-1) at Pine Forest (2-0) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1

Player to Watch: Tony Allen, senior, running back: Heading into the season, Tony Allen was the go to back alongside classmate Rashod Wallace. The two seniors have helped Hoggard average 200 yards rushing over two games, while Allen has 28 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Josh Jones has led the passing attack, completing 59 percent of his passes for 323 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Tony Allen.
Tony Allen.

While the Vikings offense has averaged 28.5 points through two games, it’ll be the Hoggard defense looking to make a statement against 2-0 Pine Forest. After scoring an 11-6 win to open the season, the Trojans dominated Lumberton 49-7 in week two. Pine Forest has thrown for nearly 500 yards through two games, with senior Willis Anthony (33 carries, 150 yards) pacing the run game.

The Hoggard defense allowed just six points during the second half in last week’s 37-26 victory against Seventy-First.  Junior Christian Hollar has a team-high 20 tackles and four tackles for loss.

Laney (1-1) vs. Lee County (2-0) at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1. Player to Watch: Ryan Daborowski, senior, defensive end: The six-foot, two-inch, 235-pound defensive end is a mismatch for any offensive line he faces. Daborowski has eight total tackles this season, with three tackles for loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries.

The Laney defense has just one turnover over two games, but held a powerful J.H. Rose offense to just 13 points in last week’s bounce back 14-13 win in Greenville. After allowing 28 points in the season opening loss to Wallace-Rose Hill, the Bucs posted a shutout during the final 24 minutes of play against J.H. Rose.

Sherod Sidbury scored a pair of second half touchdowns, including the game-winner midway through the fourth quarter to guide Laney to a 1-1 record heading into a key home game against unbeaten Lee County.

The Yellow Jackets are off to a 2-0 start following a 27-26 victory against Ben. L Smith on Aug. 26.

Ashley (1-0) vs. Fairmont (0-2) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1

Player to Watch: Bradley Plyler, senior, running back: Plyler’s aggressive running style propelled Ashley to a 40-17 season opening win last week. He accounted for three touchdowns, including a 59-yard scoring reception. Plyler could have another breakout performance against a Fairmont defense that has allowed 100 points in a pair of setbacks to open the season.

Senior quarterback Jacob Reed looked comfortable running the Ashley offense in week one, with Freddie Thames and Sean Ross giving the Screaming Eagles a pair of viable ball carriers. Corey Whaley has the ability to stretch the field, while Joe Barbera keys the defense for the garnet and gold.

West Brunswick (2-0) at North Myrtle Beach (2-0)  at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1

Player to Watch: Taye Vereen, senior, defense: West Brunswick is the only team among Mideastern Conference opponents with two wins to the start the season following the Trojans 28-15 victory over South Columbus in week two. Vereen has received attention from college coaches as a catalyst on defense.

After going down 7-0 against South Columbus in the opening frame, Vereen and the Trojans’ defense held the Stallions scoreless over the next 24 minutes before a late touchdown at the final horn made the final score a bit more manageable as West Brunswick dominated most of the night.

The Trojans look to go to 3-0 on the Grand Strand.
The Trojans look to go to 3-0 on the Grand Strand.

Bubba McCray has been the feature back with four touchdowns on 40 carries for 372 yards, but West Brunswick has eight different players who have touched the ball out of the back field this season. Maliek King has three trips to the end zone, while Tariq Thomas has 129 rushing yards and a pair of scores.

Topsail (1-1) at Dixon (0-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Topsail posted 64 points in week two after scoring just 15 points in a 16-15 setback to Trask in their home opener. The Topsail versus Dixon rivalry has a long history with the two neighboring schools located just 19 miles apart.

DJ Montano and Josh Smith have combined for 214 rushing yards, while Hayden Walsh got some touches last week in short yardage situations. Dixon was shutout 22-0 in their first game of the season against Northside on August 26. Topsail posted a 20-0 victory against the Bulldogs in 2015.

South Brunswick (1-1) vs. Pender (0-1) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1.

The Cougars have an opportunity to get back in the win column after being overmatched last week at Southeast Raleigh.

Pender allowed 64 points in their season opener against Topsail in a sloppy contest that featured a ton of turnovers and miscues. Look for South Brunswick to get the ball to their standout running back Josh Carter, who has over 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns in two games.

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