After not playing last season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosewood and C.B. Aycock will renew The Little River Rivalry on Friday evening at Hardy Talton Stadium.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Golden Falcons and Eagles had opened the season against each other nine straight times before not playing against each other last season. C.B. Aycock has won 13 straight in the series and 28 of 38 meetings overall since 1975.
“It’s always big, and I really enjoy it being the first game of the season. It gets the communities together,” Rosewood head coach Robert Britt said. “This game kind of kicks the school year off for both schools.
“It’s exciting to play the game again after not being able to play it last year.”
Britt is not discouraged by his team’s losing streak in the series. He believes his squad has put in enough work during the offseason to finally topple the Golden Falcons.
“We haven’t beat that crowd since 1999, so for us even to have a chance to compete with them, we’re definitely going to have to play a good football game,” Britt said.
Junior Ethan Brock will start at quarterback for the Golden Falcons. Other Golden Falcon impact players to watch out for are running back David Reid and wide receiver Daniel Frederick.
Under former head coach Steve Brooks, the Golden Falcons were primarily a shotgun team, but now under Zietlow, the Golden Falcons will run more plays under center.
“Their base offense is an I formation, so they’re definitely going to want to establish the run and go downhill,” Britt said.
The Eagles will counter with running backs Terquavis Butler, David Lamm and Keovin Vance, while Rocco Raper is the new Eagles’ starting quarterback. Raper replaces three-year starter Will Harris, who graduated last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles have plenty of experience coming back. Linebackers Hunter Lassiter and John White, defensive lineman Matthew Wade and safety Rylan Hobbins are the core of an Eagles’ defense that will make plenty of big plays throughout the season.
“Rocco is very capable of leading our team and helping us win some ball games. Terquavis Butler was our second-leading rusher last year, and we definitely have to get the ball in his hands,” Britt said. “David Lamm has played really well in the preseason, and Keovin Vance is going to be able to give us some reps there, so we’ll be a three-headed monster at running back.”
As for what will decide the 40th edition of The Little River Rivalry? Turnovers and explosive plays could determine the outcome.
“Like most games, we can’t allow them to throw the ball over the top of our heads,” Britt said. “We can’t lose the turnover battle, so those are two areas of the game where we’ve got to win that.”
The Deacon Jones Auto Group Football Game of the Week is broadcasted on 98.3 FM WGBR and streaming live on GoldsboroDailyNews.com.