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After playing the role of gridiron desert last Friday night, Bedford County becomes a verdant field o’ football this Friday evening. Not only will two Bedford teams be playing in the county, they’ll be playing each other.
Jefferson Forest will open Sabre Stadium to the invading Golden Eagles of Staunton River. Game time is 7 p.m.
Oddly enough, these same two teams faced off in the exact same venue in the final game to be played in the county last season. That one, of course, was the Region III (Division 4) semifinal. Jefferson Forest prevailed, 21-7, before falling in the Regional final to Broadway.
Staunton River, in fact, opened and closed its season against the Cavs. In the first game of the year, the Eagles fell to JF, 42-24.
A lot has changed since then: In particular, marquee players have graduated from both squads.
This game holds the promise of giving fans a real feel for what makes these two teams tick.
We expect that this game will shape up as a battle of power vs. speed, though it would be unfair to portray it so simply. For instance, while JF has a big line, Staunton River is no slouch in the size and toughness department.
And while the Golden Eagles have the electrifying Deshawn Martin and the swift Chris Tyree, Jefferson Forest counters with Michael Foster and Dominique Royal, a pair of speedsters.
River Head Coach Chuck Poston and staff were seen in the stands of Halifax last week, checking out the Cavs. Poston knows that JF will try to drive it right at the Eagles. There’s no mystery there.
JF Head Coach Don Rice knows that Staunton River will be much more likely to air out the ball than the Eagles have in recent years.
Questions about the game
1. Can the Jefferson Forest defense rise to the occasion?
The Cavs had a tough time dealing with Halifax star Alonzo Bennett’s speed.
Containment on the corners will be key to stopping Staunton River’s swift and elusive quarterback Deshawn Martin.
2. Can Staunton River air out the ball as it wishes to do?
Coach Poston has been adamant in declaring that the Eagles become more balanced: The days of handing off to a Meech Coles or a Jarret Moon 35 times a game are over.
The Jefferson Forest pass defense went largely untested against Halifax: The Comets just aren’t a passing team.
So, a huge question mark is which of the untried entities – the Eagle passing attack or the Cav pass defense – will prevail?
3. Can the Staunton River line stand up to the mighty JF front?
What the Eagles lack in size, they’ll have to make up for in technique and heart. Yet, the JF line showed plenty of both against Halifax.
4. Will home field provide an edge?
Sabre Stadium will have it all: the motorcycles, cannon, massive marching band and fevered fans. That’s a lot for an opposing team to face.