The Concord football team is getting into the meat of its schedule.
The Raiders, ranked third statewide in Division I, are 5-0 and have outscored their opponents by a combined 195-39, winning by an average of 29.2 points per game.
But the sledding gets considerably tougher the next two weeks. Concord meets fourth-ranked Salesianum this week, then plays host to No. 5 William Penn the following week.
The tough stretch starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, as the Raiders play at night for only the second time this season. They’re pumped up for a chance to knock off a Sallies team that has handled Concord in each of the last five seasons.
“The kids love to play at Baynard Stadium. They love to play under the lights. They love the matchup,” Raiders coach Greg Mitchell said. “Year in and year out, they like the matchup. This year, with us being 5-0 and being where we hoped we would be heading into these difficult weeks, we’re excited.”
Of course, the Sals have the potential to knock the excitement out of anybody. They are 3-2, with their losses coming to No. 1 Smyrna and No. 2 Middletown. But the size advantage Salesianum has over most opponents won’t be quite as glaring against Concord.
“They’re college big, up front, at least on the offensive line,” Mitchell said. “But we’re not little. We’ll match up with most of those kids pretty well.”
The Raiders feature linemen Jaysen Ellison (6-foot-4, 255 pounds), Earl Jeter (6-2, 210), Malik Wright (5-8, 263), Tyler Narvell (6-2, 260), William Beaudet (6-3, 290), RiQuan Mack (6-1, 225) and Tyler Whitlock (6-0, 200).
Many of them play both ways and clear the way for running back Grahm “Bam” Roberts (6-0, 210), who has the size and strength to break tackles and the speed to turn a medium gain into a long touchdown. Roberts has only been needed for an entire game twice this season – a 204-yard, two-touchdown day against Caravel, and a 282-yard, four-score outburst against Appoquinimink.
The Sals counter with a mammoth offensive line blocking for Josh Patrick (6-2, 225), who has given their ground game a boost since moving from tight end to halfback two games ago.
“We’re very similar, which for us is good,” Mitchell said. “We want to play smashmouth and set up some play-action passes. We don’t run a ton of formations. We always like the matchup with them, because we’re very similar.”
Sallies may have an edge in the air, with quarterback Zach Gwynn throwing to elusive receiver Michael Drake. But Mitchell hopes the Raiders’ pass rush, which has been stout all season, can put a dent in the Sals’ passing plans.
“I just expect it to be a good, tough high school football game,” Mitchell said.
So does everybody else.
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ