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WHC Season Opener (Aug 23rd)

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Welp, it's been 8 long months, but its finally football time again in the high country. The 2019 season should see the conference still top-heavy, but also stronger top to bottom. So without further ado, let's dive in.

Ashe @ Avery

The Vikings enter the 2019 season with nothing to lose. Coming off a 2-9 season under first year coach Mac Bryant, the Vikes look to improve. Returning 10 starters, with decent skill, Bryant should have his system moving in the right direction. Look for Avery to be a pass first team, and if the smallish line can give Hoilman enough time to pass, he can do such with great accuracy. They open up against Ashe, who is coming off a 10-3 season, an MVC title, and a 2nd round appearance. Ashe returns alot of skill, but the line is on the small side, and fairly green. Nonetheless, look for Ashe to take control by halftime.

Ashe-35

Avery-14

 

East Henderson @ Owen

Owen won more games last season than the previous 3 combined. The Warhorses are hungry, and after a taste of the playoffs, they want some more. With a fair amount returning, a good sized, and experienced line, and decent skill, anything less than >.500 will be a disappointment. Owen opens up against East Henderson, who are coming off a good rebuilding year themselves. This should be a good matchup, and test for both teams, but home field should be the deciding factor.

Owen-27

East-21

 

Madison @ Carver

Madison is, is, *sigh*, Madison. They have no depth, no size, and no skill. I hate to be so demoralizing, but there's no motivation in Marshall, and the whole stadium issue seems to have defeated them already. On the plus side, the once proud and dominant Carver is coming off their worst season in recent memory, and things don't look any better for 2019. Expect a pretty even matchup, with a nod to the home team. Madison will be defending their basement fort again this year.

Carver-14

Madison-12

 

Mitchell @ Erwin 

Mitchell went home a little too early last year, and those 16 returning starters still have a bad taste in their mouths. The Mountaineers bring tons of skill, a fast and large line, the best special teams in conference, and the 2018 WHC athlete of the year. Look out everyone. Erwin, meanwhile, is coming off a dandy season of their own, but graduation and transfers have not been kind to the Warriors. Still, this is a small 1a team playing at a 3aa team. Expect a fairly close game, with the Mountaineers pulling away late.

Mitchell-35

Erwin-20

 

Brevard @ Mountain Heritage 

Heritage is still engineering the WHC train, winning their 4th straight conference title last year. With good team speed, a strong run game, and the returning lineman of the year, the Coogs are poised to have another dandy season. They open up with Brevard, who last year, lost to heritage on opening night, but went one round deeper, going toe to toe with Reidsville before falling just short. Heritage returns more than Brevard, but both should be strong again this year. Heritage's returning talent should out muscle Brevards up and comers.

Mountain Heritage-30

Brevard-21

 

Cherokee @ Polk

Bruce Ollis and Co. made a surprise run to the 3rd round of the playoffs last year, and the players want to go back. Polk returns more than anyone else in the conference, 17, and have picked up some key transfers in the off season. With a 200 win coach, and some pretty good skill, Polk could be a dark horse to sneak into second place or even force a tie on top. Line size is a little small, so that could be a factor late in a close game down the line. Opening up with Cherokee, the Braves have a new coach, and honestly, not much else to mention. Look for Polk to strike early and often, giving the 2nd string some valuable playing time in the 4th quarter.

Polk-42

Cherokee-7

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I will do a little more in depth predictions later on but I'm thinking:

Ashe by 13

Owen by 17

Carver by 7

Mitchell by 10

Heritage by 13

Polk by 21

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Ashe by 10 - If Ashe's line is not very good I would not be surprised if the Vikings pull off an upset.  To me that seems one of the strongest parts of Avery's team.  Avery's line looked really good in the scrimmage I went to.  Not sure the level of competition at the scrimmage.  (Enke, Patton, Happy Valley, Rosman).  On another note Avery seems to actually be hitting on defense.  Something I haven't seen in about 4 to 5 years.  Coach Bryant and staff are doing a great job of turning this ship around.  Good luck this year Vikings!

Owen by 10

Carver by 7

Mitchell by 10 - Mitchell should be be the real deal this year.  Should really win the conference this year but the conference goes through Heritage.

Polk by 21 - Ollis is back!  Last year was a real surprise.  They should not be able to sneak up on anyone this year, they will be really solid.

Heritage by 21 - Good start to another good season in Burnsville.  Good luck to my old friend Joey.

Can't wait to see how the conference is going to shake out.  Should be a fun season.  This is will be more competitive from top to bottom.

 

 

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Would somebody please pick Erwin.  I know I picked Mitchell as well but that may just be a homer pick. Anytime you travel to Erwin to play it is always a tough place to get a win. If I was laying odds I would have Erwin as a favorite. I know Mitchell returns alot but they also have to replace key players on both sides of the ball. Mitchell has historically had trouble with athletic teams who can pass the ball. That describes Erwin. Oh well, good luck to all WHC teams this week go forth and represent the conference well. 

Go Mountaineers 

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Ashe @ Avery

Avery should be a little better defensively than last season and their QB can toss it around pretty good.  Ashe has to replace a lot of starters off of a very solid 2018 team that ran roughshod over Avery. This year’s game will be much closer but Ashe still has the upper hand.

Ashe-27

Avery-14

 

Owen @ East Henderson

Owen is finally starting to climb back up towards the top of the WHC. Transfer Saevion Gibbs makes a huge impact along the lines and Owen has more team speed than many conference teams. East Henderson could score a lot of points last season but must replace many key parts. Owen is the favorite here, but it could turn into a shootout.

Owen-40

East-23

 

Madison @ Carver

Madison is taking a LONG trip east towards Winston Salem for a week 1 game against another perennial struggler- Carver. I don’t know a whole lot about Carver but reports from Madison have not been overly encouraging and their stadium itself is currently a safety hazard... Could be a rough season for the Patriots.

Carver-21

Madison-14

 

Mitchell @ Erwin 

Mitchell should be just a strong or almost as strong as last season up front and has a great QB and WR. Can they finally get over the hump? Heritage and possibly Owen/Polk will stand in their way, but they open up with an always quick Erwin team. The warriors are rebuilding from last season but still have athletes in skill positions to test Mitchell. Mitchell should win the battle up front and control the clock in a nice win.

Mitchell- 34

Erwin-21

 

Brevard @ Mountain Heritage 

Heritage has become the gold standard in the WHC the last 3 or 4 seasons. This year’s cougars will be very strong up front once again and have the best linebackers in the conference and possibly WNC. They are a little thin at RB but return QB Calin Randolph who can run and throw it. Is there any team mentally and physically tougher than Heritage in North Carolina? Brevard pays their own brand of hard-nosed physical football that almost led them to a state title berth last season. The Blue Devils face a bigger rebuild than Heritage and should be moderate underdogs on the road.

Mountain Heritage-36

Brevard-22

 

Cherokee @ Polk

 Some good early reviews from Polk, including a bruising transfer TB/FB from RS Central who will love playing under Coach Bruce Ollis. Cherokee should be overmatched here and Polk is in store for another solid season.

Polk-28

Cherokee-7

 

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The Avery game could be interesting.I friend of mine does the radio game of the week for Caldwell Co. and a sports show in the morning on Saturdays told me this.The Ashe QB that moved up is about 6’4 around 200lbs and has a big arm .The RB Peterson is back and is pretty good. What might hurt Ashe is that they are replacing all 5 lineman is what he told me. It might be a good game. Should find out if Avery can stop the run.

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