Off-season workouts and several practices have all led up to Friday night’s season opener for the Huskies as they travel to West Caldwell to take on the Warriors.
Both teams have several new faces in key spots compared to last year, all the way from the starting lineup to the head coaches.
Brian Hampton replaces the retired Bill Strong on the sideline for the Huskies while the Warriors have a new head coach named Kyle Dunn. Dunn takes over after West Caldwell fired Randy Baldwin following a winless 2011 season. Baldwin coached the team for only two seasons.
Hampton makes the move after coaching North Surry for three seasons. Dunn takes over as the ninth head coach in West Caldwell school history. He spent several seasons as an assistant football coach and also served as the wrestling head coach. Dunn will be taking over a program that has accumulated just 19 wins in the last nine years and only four playoff appearances in the last 20 years.
Ashe will turn to Eli Gambill at the quarterback position. Gambill took some snaps at QB last year, but was mainly used as a wide receiver. In the backfield, Kolten Pilar, Johnathan Cox and Dustin Guy will see most of the carries in the ground game.
Defensively, Carson Knight and Dominic Maxwell anchor the line up front. Justin Scarborough and Cullen Ashley look to be the top linebackers on this year’s Husky squad.
For West Caldwell, this season appears to be another rebuilding year, hoping to turn around a program that has been struggling for the last few years. The Warriors finished 0-11 last year and were 0-7 in the Catawba Valley Conference. West Caldwell surrendered a whopping 461 points to the opposition last year, the worst in the conference by nearly 100 points. At the same time, the team only scored 125 points in the team’s 11 games, and just 80 points in the seven conference matchups.
The Warriors will have some experienced skill players hoping to make in impact on the offensive side of the ball. Junior quarterback David Denison is expected to take most of the snaps and run the Warrior offense. Joining him in the backfield will be two seniors that should get most of the carries. Aaron Rowe will line up at the tailback position while Robert Caldwell is slated to be the starter at fullback.
Defensively, the warriors feature a strong tandem of linebackers up the middle in Dayton Helton and Clay West, while Daquan Suddreth should be one of the top playmakers in the defensive secondary.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at West Caldwell. For those that can’t make it to the game, live play-by-play can be heard on 580 WKSK or streaming on their website at www.580wksk.com.