Salem vs. Princess Anne 2019 (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
Princess Anne vs. Salem kicks off the season at the Beach
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Princess Anne Cavaliers (0-0) vs. Salem Sun Devils (0-0) at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, Friday 7:00 p.m.
The schedule makers give us a dandy right off the bat.
Salem ran the table in the Beach District in 2019, making it all the way to the Region 5A Final before running into the buzzsaw that was the Maury Commodores. Both teams were undefeated heading into that game (also played at the Sportsplex). Maury won and went on to win the Class 5 state title.
Princess Anne rode a wave of resurgence in 2019, posting their best record in decades. The Cavaliers went 8-2 in the regular season, falling only to Salem and Bayside. PA lost their playoff opener to Woodside, but made a big leap forward in terms of achievement.
A win against Salem to open the season would make a huge statement. Princess Anne hasn’t defeated Salem since 2004.
WHEN SALEM HAS THE BALL:
You can always expect Salem to run until they’re stopped. From Kevin Whaley (2004-07) to Kaelon Black (2016-19) the Sun Devils have produced a slew of prolific running backs. This year, the task falls to Jawan Johnson (2021 RB 5-10 180) and Keimar Carter-Gatlin (2022 RB 5-10 195) who will split carries.
Quarterback Saquan Miles (2022 QB 6-1 220) returns and will have senior tight ends Zemarion Harrell (Coastal Carolina) and Isaiah Henderson (Air Force), as well as Malaki Jones (St. Anselm) and Desmond Green (JMU) who are experienced, sure-handed targets. Salem also has four seniors and a sophomore on the starting offensive line.
WHEN PRINCESS ANNE HAS THE BALL:
Salem has the system and the experience. Princess Anne has the playmakers. Tychaun Chapman (2022 WR/DB 5-10 170) and Zaakir Brown (2022 RB/DB 5-10 175) will lead the offensive attack with transfer quarterback Ryan High (2021 QB 6-3 225) distributing the ball.
Tony Grimes decided to forego his senior season and instead starred for the North Carolina Tar Heels last fall. That doesn’t mean that the cupboard is bare defensively.
James Smith (2021 DE 6-4 225), Miguel Rijo (2021 LB 6-2 235), Hunter Sherman (2021 LB 6-2 225), Jayden Truesdale (2021 MLB 6-2 220), and Mike Newell (2022 WR/DB 5-11 170) all return to the defensive side of the ball to provide their own answer to Salem’s “Black D” that shut down seven out of ten regular-season opponents in 2019.
WHO’S THE FAVORITE?
Salem has proved themselves over and over. Princess Anne has the swagger.
If Princess Anne can’t get on the board early due to Salem’s swarming defense, you might expect the Salem run game to wear down the Cavaliers.
In a low-scoring affair, Salem has the advantage. If Princess Anne opens up the game early and controls the tempo, this game could go the way of the Cavaliers.
– Andy Hilton