No takers, huh?
Reynolds football coach Shane Laws decided a long time ago that if no one from Western North Carolina was willing to schedule the Rockets, he’d take them down the mountain to find the best nonconference competition possible.
West Forsyth fits the bill, as does three-time defending state champion Shelby which comes to Dalton Stadium on Aug. 26. For now, the Rockets and Sean Jones (431 yards, two touchdowns) and Reynolds can only worry about the task at hand Friday in Clemmons (a town just west of Winston-Salem).
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
West Forsyth is the preseason favorite in the Central Piedmont Conference and 12th in NCPreps’ preseason rankings for NCHSAA 4-A. Running back Marcus Caldwell has scholarship offers from North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, but that’s nothing compared to fellow junior K.J. Henry, a defensive end/tight end with more than two dozen offers from ACC, SEC and Big Ten schools.
“Year-in and year-out, they have all the pieces,” Laws said of West Forsyth.
“They have the big receivers who can beat you down the field and they’re big up front on both sides. They can push you around and they’ve got a dual-threat quarterback and running back who can pound the ball. They’ve got all the things you need to win. That is typical of them and who they are. Not only that, we’re going to have to outplay them at their place.”
Jones only got 48 carries last year, which means he averaged exactly 9.0 yards per attempt. The senior has impressed in preseason scrimmages and will be getting his handoffs from first-year starting quarterback Nathan St. Onge.
Lineman Jake Setterlind and running back/safety Keyal Talbert were also All-Mountain Athletic Conference players last autumn for the defending MAC 3-A champs. Andrew Wall is an X-factor on special teams, having averaged 35.3 yards per kick in 2015.
West Forsyth holds a 4-2 edge in this series all-time but lost last year’s game, 31-28.
“I’ve been pleased with our kids in both scrimmages (North Henderson and Shelby Crest),” Laws said.
“They’ve progressed and they’re doing everything we ask. The big thing is that we’ve played hard. I’ve told them this, I can fix mistakes, but I can’t fix not playing hard. We’ve played very physical in our scrimmages and we’re going to have to be a physical team on Friday to give ourselves a chance.”