The biggest and best game of the young 2017 season takes place at Hendersonville High School Friday night, when the Commandos welcome in cross-town rival Beech. The latest installment of this rivalry will take place on television in the MyTV30 Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week. Since 2001, Beech owns the overall record 9-7, with the most recent win coming last year on Shackle Island, 24-23.
All that information, just throw it out the window, because it doesn't matter. This is one of the great rivalries in the mid-state and I can't wait to have my popcorn ready to watch it.
Playmakers line the field from one end to the other; offensive and defensive lines matchup to a T, and the coaches? They're some of the best you will find. What a superb matchup. This game really will come down to who makes the fewest mistakes.
Let's talk playmakers:
First, we will start with the Bucs (3-0, 1-0). Quarterback Nelson Smith leads the offense and there aren't too many guys out there better. The three-year signal caller has the leadership to bring his unit together to get the job done. His ability to make plays with both his legs and his feet will keep the defense honest Friday night. Running back Kaemon Dunlap has taken over the backfield. Since Week 1, the senior leads his team in rushing with 445 yards and seven touchdowns on just 64 carries. However, Dunlap is not the only back the Commandos will have to deal with Friday night. Expect Aaron Foxx, and maybe even Chaz Williamson, to have their number called for when Dunlap needs a break from the Commandos hard-hitting defense.
The passing game hasn't been used that much this season. The Bucs have attempted just 16 passes with Smith, but they haven't really needed to dive into that bag of tricks. Hendersonville will force them to open the playbook a bit more than Glencliff did in Week 3.
The big boys are stout; the second and third level is filled with ball hawks and head hunters that are looking to ruin any given Commandos night.
For the black and gold, they showed they bring in their own hot-bed of talent. Playmakers at key positions should have the Commando faithful thinking they will win this game at home. Quarterback Brett Coker and wide receiver Gabe Dalton have shown tremendous chemistry so far this season, but it isn't just Dalton that is getting the job done in the passing game. Guys like Austin Halas, Anthony Hughes, Logan Spurrier, Derek Kincaid, Reggie Grisham and Helton Porter have all shown they can be counted on.
It's no secret head coach Bruce Hatfield wants to run the ball Friday night, and that will be his bread and butter, but don't sleep on the passing game. If you do, I can promise one of the players I just named is going to be running down the sideline for six.
Defensively, Hatfield's team is getting better by the game. The defense has dominated the last two football games for Hatfield's unit, so confidence will be sky-high Friday night. They're pinning their ears back and coming for you, Beech. The want to wreck you and they want to wreck your perfect season.
Hendersonville calls itself the big brother to Beech because HHS was here first, but if I recall, the big brother doesn't let the little brother push them around. Right now, Beech has gone 365 days pushing Hendersonville around. That continues for another year.
Beech 24, Hendersonville 20