Fall Sports Preview — The Friday Night Lights are upon us

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2022

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Youthful Titans ready to get season started

By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier

Fifteen years is a big milestone number for a coach.
Adrian Snow, the head football coach at West Forsyth, just started his 15th season on Aug. 1 when practice started, and he and the Titans will hit the ground running Friday night when it starts the regular season at Asheville Reynolds.
“We’ve had a lot of good people that have helped us along the way to make it as good as it’s been,” Snow said of the program. “Have I been a part? Yes. But it’s been a cool ride, and it’s been one that, we’ve got great people to be around, great kids to be around.
“Right now, we’ve just a good bunch of kids to get to coach. We’ll keep working, keep fighting, keep getting better, and we’ll see what happens.”
West Forsyth finished 5-5 overall last season and 3-3 in the Central Piedmont 4-A, losing 27-21 to South Mecklenburg in the first round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs.
“I think the kids see how West Forsyth is,” Snow said. “We’re going to play real hard, play real smart, play real fast and do the best we can. And I think this group has taken to that. It’s good. I think right now, we’re just putting in the work, and hopefully it pays off in the end.”
Friday’s game against Asheville Reynolds, as well as the whole season in general, is a chance for Snow and the rest of the West Forsyth football program to settle back and have a more normal season than the one last year.
Last year, Snow was diagnosed with COVID-19 and missed the first two games against Asheville Reynolds and Oak Grove, which were wins, led by offensive coordinator Sean Joyce and defensive coordinator Jonathan McIntosh.
After the Oak Grove game, Snow returned to practice and drove down to Matthews for the Titans’ game at Weddington. West plays the same three teams this season in its nonconference games before the Central Piedmont 4-A season convenes on Sept. 16 at Mount Tabor.
“Hopefully that’s a positive,” Snow said. “We don’t have to go through all the craziness. They had a lot of distractions last year. At this juncture we’ve not had many distractions, which has been nice, So, hopefully we keep it going where you don’t have to worry about who’s coaching or when they’re coaching, or what’s going on. All they worry about now is playing football and getting better.”
According to Snow, the Titans lost “in the mid-20s” players from last year’s team.
“It’s been good,” Snow said of the first two weeks of practice. “We’ve got a new group, there’s some new faces with the same expectation. That’s kind of the way we roll around our place.”
The Titans lost Mack David, a 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker and battering ram of a running back from last year’s team. In addition, they lost David Eldridge a 6-1, 290-pound defensive end, Chris Van Kleeck, a 6-1, 210-pounder, who played safety and quarterback, and Don Robinson III, a 5-11, 165-pound cornerback.
“We lost some quality guys there that did really well for us,” Snow said.
David’s brother, Caleb, a 5-11, 200-pound junior, will help fill the role of his brother on defense and offense. Eldridge’s brother, Davion, a 5-11, 210-pound junior, has moved from the defensive line to linebacker.
Offensively, the Titans lost running back Jevante Long, who is 5-11, 201 pounds and a key cog on the offensive line, center Jacob Wolf, a 6-4, 320-pounder.
Caman Chaplin, a 5-10, 165-pound junior, will likely get the majority of carries at running back. Jalen Grimes, a 6-0, 165-pound junior, and Marcus Wilson, a 6-0, 190-pound junior will also play running back.
Bert Rice, a 6-3, 165-pound junior, will be the starting quarterback. He was the backup to Van Kleeck last year before Van Kleeck hurt his thumb in the Reynolds game on Oct. 22. Rice was the starting quarterback the rest of the season. Daviare Eldridge, the brother of David and Davion, and a 5-10, 165-pound sophomore will be Rice’s backup.
“Bert Rice has done a great job for so far,” Snow said. “He played for us at the end of the year last year and Bert’s done well.”
Although the Titans have experience at many positions, this year’s team is quite young overall.
“Sometimes there’s years where they’re a little leaner than others in the sense of size. It’s part of it. Right now, I think we’ve got 23 seniors, which is a low class for us.”
Snow and the rest of the coaching staff had a chance to see West Forsyth scrimmage against Mooresville and Maiden last week.
“The good, the bad, the ugly,” Snow said of the performances. “There was some good stuff that happened. There was some bad stuff that happened. There was some ugly stuff that happened. But I think at his point, they are fixable issues. It’s not like it was ever a physical issue — they were more physical. It was more of things that we can control, and that we’ve got to really work to control. And hopefully we can get that done and go from there.”
After the Asheville Reynolds game, West Forsyth plays host to Oak Grove and Weddington in two more nonconference games before having the week off on Sept. 9. Following the off-week, West Forsyth is scheduled to play seven straight games within the Central Piedmont 4-A.
“At the end of the day our conference is a gauntlet,” Snow said of the Central Piedmont 4-A. “The nonconference is a gauntlet. I mean, literally right now, A.C. Reynolds, they’ve got some players. I think they were really young last year, and kind of showed it last year against us. But right now, you can tell, they’ve lifted, they’ve run, they worked real hard. We’re going to have to play, and if we don’t come to play it won’t end well for the Titans.”
As for the Central Piedmont 4-A, there are no gimmes on the schedule.
Last season, Glenn and Reagan tied for the conference title at 6-1, with East Forsyth a half-game back because it played one less game. West Forsyth (3-3) finished a half-game ahead of Davie County (3-4) for fourth. Mount Tabor (2-4) was sixth, Reynolds (1-6) was seventh, and Parkland (0-5) was eighth.
“I think our conference from top to bottom is one of the best, if not the best, in the sense, there’s not an easy out,” Snow said. “So, if there’s not an easy out, you don’t have a chance. You’ve got to line down and play. And if you don’t line down and play, you’re going to get beat.”

2022 West Forsyth Titans Football season

• Aug. 19 at AC Reynolds

• Aug. 26 vs. Oak Grove

• Sept. 2 vs. Weddington

• Sept. 16 at Mt. Tabor

• Sept. 23 vs. Parkland

• Sept. 30 at Glenn

• Oct. 7 at Reagan

• Oct. 14 vs. Davie (Homecoming)

• Oct. 21 vs. RJ Reynolds

• Oct. 28 at East Forsyth