Grassfield vs. Deep Creek 2019 (Photo: Danny Haymond/recruit757)
Six Southeastern District teams kick off the season Monday
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Monday Night Football in the 757 is rarity, but then again, everything related to football in the past year has been a rarity.
The “Fall Sports Season” gets underway here in late February with a trio of Southeastern District games. Most of the other public schools competing in the 757 will play on Friday night or Saturday.
Oscar Smith (0-0) at Hickory (0-0) 6:15 p.m.
The Tigers might look at this as a soft opening to their schedule. Oscar Smith was a preseason favorite a year ago. All they had to do was bring back most of their 2019 state championship runner up team, and see a few athletes rise from lesser roles during the off-season. For the most part, that has happened. Quarterback Ethan Vasko is now in his junior year. A lot of the senior talent is still on board, and for a coach like Chris Scott, the extra months of planning may have given his coaching staff a new perspective.
Hickory is breaking in a new quarterback in Kobe Wettstein. Head Coach Donnell Brown explained in the preseason preview: “We have an experienced offensive line with some playmakers at the skill positions. Our biggest concern is dealing with an offseason like no other. Can we get the offense to get on the same page and execute at the high level needed in the Southeastern District?”
Oscar Smith won last season’s meeting 58-6.
Grassfield (0-0) at Deep Creek (0-0) 6:15 p.m.
The Grizzlies had a good turnout for pre-season workouts considering the circumstances. They’ll be led by the brother duo of Anthony and Stephen Smith. Demani Ward also returns for his senior season. Ward played all over the field in 2019 including quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and strong safety.
Deep Creek should be incredibly strong in the trenches and that will give some relief to first-year quarterback Tony Barnes. The Hornets have been tough to beat since Andre Twine took over as head coach, and this should be the game of the night.
Deep Creek won the 2019 meeting by a score of 37-17.
Great Bridge (0-0) at Western Branch (0-0) 6:15 p.m.
Great Bridge may be a team looking for an identity after a breakthrough 2019 season. Head Coach Brian Boerboom’s son Nathan will depart for the University of Central Florida and does not return for his senior season with the Wildcats. Running back/return man Kole Jones transferred to Oscar Smith. Great Bridge will see Landon Swanson (2021 QB 5-11 175) split quarterbacking duties with Zion Frink (2023 QB 5-10 170).
Western Branch has a new identity, courtesy of new head coach Rashad Cook. Cook is a Western Branch grad, and Coach Cook has attracted some talented multi-sport athletes who should provide some excitement if the playbook is executed properly. Watch out for Paul Billups, Desmond Cook, C.J. Fraser, and Shimique Blizzard.
Western Branch topped Great Bridge in 2019 by a score of 36-14.
– Andy Hilton
Access to these games will be extremely limited. Fans wishing to watch from home can access a video feed with a subscription at the NFHS Network.