Fike looks for better special teams play against East Wake

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By and large, varsity football teams in The Wilson Times readership area emerged from their opening games last week with victories.

With no Gliarmis twins possessing any remaining high school eligibility, Fike High was a glaring exception.

The Golden Demons’ special teams rebuild experienced growing pains for all to see last week, with Fike getting a pair of punts blocked. One of them was returned by Northern Durham for a touchdown, and the other led to a TD en route to Fike’s 27-20 loss. Three extra points and a field-goal attempt were also errant.

As Fike prepares to host East Wake on Friday night inside Buddy Bedgood Stadium, the Demons will attempt to hand East Wake a loss for the second straight season. A late two-point conversion stop sent the Demons to a 26-25 victory on the road last year, and the Warriors will enter this year’s encounter with a new head coach in Mike Murray.

Fike’s multi-faceted ground game will be featured with senior quarterback Josh Avery, senior Cody Cooper-Speight and junior Aaron Bancroft. The trio combined for 168 yards in the opener.

The Fike-East Wake game, which will kick off at 7 p.m., will also serve as The Wilson Times Game of the Week, with Alton Britt, Cole Page and F.T. Franks on the call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30 on wilsontimes.com.

East Wake of the 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference enters having lost its opener to Knightdale, 16-0.

Wilson County’s other two teams will spend the second week of the season on the road, with Hunt visiting Hertford County and Beddingfield making the trek to Smithfield-Selma.

Shades of overwhelming ground games of Hunt’s past were on display in last week’s season opener, where junior Tiquez Taylor ran for 230 yards and three TDs on 20 carries. Taylor’s 64-yard run in the closing minutes sent Hunt to a 34-31 victory at Eastern Wayne. Fellow junior Zyquez Grooms added 104 yards and a TD of his own as the Warriors amassed 509 yards of offense, 379 of that total through the air. Hunt will be without senior wide receiver/defensive back Isaiah Watson after he suffered a sprained knee in the first quarter of the Eastern Wayne contest.

Hertford County, which defeated Hunt 27-22 in Warrior Stadium a season ago, is coming off a 21-20 loss to Gates County in its opener.

Beddingfield looks for its second 2-0 start under head coach James Ward in as many seasons when the Bruins visit Smithfield-Selma. Despite miscues, the ground game for the Bruins was more than enough to get past Oxford Webb last week in a 43-6 rout.

Led by junior Jalil Hutcherson and sophomore Raekwon Batts, Beddingfield slashed and bashed its way to 394 yards rushing.

Smithfield-Selma, a member of the 3-A Greater Neuse Conference, is 1-33 dating back to 2015 season. Beddingfield turned in a 32-22 victory over the Spartans last year in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Southern Nash kicks off the Nash County part of its schedule when it travels to former Big East opponent Nash Central. The Firebirds didn’t have much trouble with Cary Green Hope last week, prevailing 49-28 and giving up 22 fourth-quarter points with reserves on the field. Senior Darius Edmundson scored on a kickoff return just 12 seconds into play.

Senior Zonovan Knight and junior Quinton Cooley pace the backfield for Southern, which supplied 410 yards rushing in the win. Nash Central, now affiliated with the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, hammered North Edgecombe 40-6 in its opener.

In Pikeville, Charles B. Aycock will attempt to keep its winning ways intact when the Golden Falcons host Greene Central in Hardy Talton Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Clay Matthews and senior linebacker Tyler Parrish led CBA, a split member of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference to a 12-0 victory at Rosewood last week, with Matthews slinging a pair of TD passes. Greene Central is coming off a tough 18-14 loss to 4-A Winterville South Central where the Rams led 14-0 at the half.

In Edgecombe County, SouthWest Edgecombe head coach Jonathan Cobb faces off against the team his father, Raymond, once led to a 1-A state title when the Cougars travel to North Edgecombe. The Cougars will try to reach 2-0 after slamming Pasquotank County 54-0 in their opener.

At Kenly, North Johnston will attempt to ride the momentum of its come-from-behind 27-26 win over Southeast Halifax into a 2-0 start against Rosewood. The Panthers, now a 2-A EPC program, were stopped by their former 1-A Carolina Conference cohort 28-25 at Goldsboro last season.

At all sites, kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with the exception of Southwest Edgecombe-North Edgecombe. That start is set for 7:30.