After getting stormed out of Cleveland by bad weather, the Eagles are slated to begin their abbreviated regular season at home against the Brainerd Panthers this Friday night.
The Panthers enter the game with a record of 0-1 as their game with Howard, which began last Friday night and was finished on Saturday, resulted in a 0-18 loss.
While the Panthers were held scoreless, don’t be mistaken. Brainerd has weapons on offense that can give defenses problems if they aren’t taken seriously.
Led by senior running back Jamaal Ward, junior athlete LaDerron Freeman, and senior offensive lineman JaMicheal Wilson, the Panther offense will look to get moving on the turf at Eagle Stadium.
Defensively, expect to see Wilson and Freeman contribute as well as senior linebackers Ciante’ Chaney and Jordan Evans. Against Howard, the defense held pretty strong. They only surrendered 14 points to the Hustlin’ Tigers as the stingy Howard defense recorded two safeties to contribute the remaining four points.
The Eagles, led by senior quarterback Zack Pemberton, will look to finally get some momentum rolling after the weather issues in Cleveland.
In limited action, the triple-option looked loaded and ready to roll before lightning changed everyone’s plans and snuffed out a great night of high school football.
On defense, the Eagles more than held their own against the Blue Raiders in one quarter with Bradley Goodwin making the play of the night when he hit Cleveland quarterback Jackson Moore deep in the backfield resulting in a fumble, albeit one recovered by the offense.
Game breakdown: While there is talent on Brainerd’s roster and anything can happen on any given Friday night, I don’t see the Panthers staying in this one very long. I have been wrong before, but I see the Eagles winning and doing it in a big way.
Brian’s pick: Rhea County 35, Brainerd 14
Other Region 4-5A Matchups:
Bradley Central (0-1) @ Walker Valley (0-1)
Brian’s pick: Bradley Central 35, Walker Valley 21
Loudon (0-1) @ Lenoir City (0-1)
Brian’s pick: Lenoir City 14, Loudon 10
East Hamilton (1-0) @ Soddy-Daisy (0-0)
Brian’s pick: Soddy-Daisy 24, East Hamilton 17
Baylor (1-0) @ Knoxville Catholic (0-1)
Brian’s pick: Baylor 34, Knoxville Catholic 31
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM at home this Friday night with gates opening around 5. Don’t forget to stop by the Nokian Tyres booth at the pregame tailgate for some fun and information on tire safety!
See you there, Eagle Nation!