Big South Kicks Off Conference Games

The heavily-hyped Big South 4A/3A so far has been living up to its billing. There are only two teams in this conference with losing records. Who those two teams are is the biggest surprise: Gastonia Ashbrook and Gastonia Forestview.

Ashbrook starts off the season 1-4. The Green Wave has lost four straight since their season opening 55-0 win over West Mecklenburg. This is not the way anyone wants to enter a conference as rigorous as the newly formed Big South 4A/3A. It is also surprising considering Ashbrook returned 10 starters on defense from last year. In fairness to Ashbrook, they have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the area. Their non-conference opponents, excluding West Meck, are a combined 12-4. It's not going to get any easier as Ashbrook opens conference with 2-time 3AA State Champ, Crest.

The Crest Chargers have not had a great year but they have not had a horrible start. Their defense has definitely lived up to their billing by allowing an average of 14 points-per-game. The most points they allowed were 21 points by Shelby. Their offense's youth has showed for the past four weeks as they are averaging only 24 a game. But, they appear to be maturing real fast as they are coming off a 43-14 win over Kings Mountain.

North Gaston has been a surprise team thus far. They are starting the season 4-1. After starting the season against three teams with a combined 2-13, they fell just 6 points short against Lincolnton and beat a respectable Murphy team 35-33. Tomorrow night's match-up is against Gastonia Huss for their first conference match-up. A win over the Huskies could boost the morale of this young Wildcat squad.

Huss is also entering the conference with momentum. After starting the season 0-2 and after a week off, they have tied that record with a couple of wins. They are coming off a 25-15 victory over the R-S Central Hilltoppers and are hoping to extend their winning streak to 3 as they travel to North Gaston tomorrow night.

No match-up in the Big South will be more exciting than the yearly match-up between the Belmont South Point Red Raiders and the East Gaston Warriors which is traditionally referred to as "Black Friday". Both teams are 3-1. South Point's loss came to the hands of the Lincolnton Wolves at the beginning of the season with a 27-21 double-overtime loss. East Gaston's loss came against Burns 36-18. Since, South Point beat the Bulldogs 24-21 in overtime last week, many Red Raider fans as well as many neutral fans would give South Point the edge. But remember, the last time these two met, it was a shootout with South Point barely getting away with a 34-28 victory and both are 3-1. So, you can expect this game to be a shootout just like it was last year.

Forestview has not had a great start and they expected to do better. They are 1-2. But, the good news for the Jaguars is that they had an off week last week, allowing them extra preparation time for conference play. They are coming off a bye week and are going to try and get back on track as they travel to Burns before opening conference at home against Crest.

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