DUBLIN — West Bladen’s Knights will be looking to start their second straight season at 2-0 for the first time in several years, but they will have to get past a hungry West Columbus squad that’s also looking to go 2-0.
“We’ve preached to the kids not to take these guys lightly,” said West Bladen head coach Russell Dove. “We know that they (the Vikings) will be ready for us.”
West Bladen and West Columbus scrimmaged each other at the fifth annual Buddy Burney Memorial Football Jamboree at East Bladen two weeks ago, and despite the fact that the Knights easily won that scrimmage 8-4, Dove said he’s not expecting the same Vikings team to show up.
“They are a good team, and they won a big game for them last week (32-6 over East Columbus),” Dove said.
Last week, West Bladen manhandled South Robeson in the season-opener, running up a 42-0 halftime lead highlighted by several Mustangs’ turnovers and a potent Knights ground game. The game went to a running clock in the second half and West Bladen got nearly everyone in the game en route to the 42-8 win.
Week two will bring another set of challenges.
First-year head coach Jason Jones’ Vikings operate the offense out of a spread formation, and the Vikings have plenty of weapons to choose from — including quarterback Johnny McFadden, running back Rostin Bromell and receivers Tommy Bryant, Brad Wilder and Houston Scott.
“Their skill players are really good, and they have good speed,” Dove said. “And they are big up front, just like South Robeson was.”
On defense, West Columbus operates out of a 4-3 and 4-4 base set. They have several returning players on defense, including linemen Kaylk Banks and Gary Snowten — as well as Bromell and Tariq Dundy at linebacker, and defensive backs Xavier Keel and Fred Evans.
“We’ll make some minor changes to our defense, but we’re not going to change a whole lot,” Dove said. “We just have to do what we always want to do, play hard-nosed football, execute, tackle well and take care of the ball.
“If we do those things, we should be successful,” he added.
Acoording to Dove, other than a few bumps and bruises, the Knights expect to be healthy for Friday’s game at The Castle. Kickoff against West Columbus is at 7:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the pre-game show on the radio at Cool 105.3 FM with hosts Ricky Leinwand and Robert Hester.