Friday Night advance: West Forsyth hosts Asheville Reynolds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

The West Forsyth football team will start a new regime on Friday when the 2023 season kicks off at Jerry Peoples Stadium against Asheville Reynolds.

Kevin Wallace, who previously was the head coach at Northwest Guilford for the past six seasons, is now the head coach for West Forsyth. Wallace took the job last December after Coach Adrian Snow resigned after 15 seasons, amassing 121 wins.

“It’s going to be good. It’s going to be a lot of excitement out there,” Wallace said. “West has always had great fans, so it’ll be good. We’ve just got to harp on our kids every day this week of what they have to do to get better, and hopefully, by Friday, we’ll be ready to roll.”

This is Wallace’s second stint as a head coach, so putting on the headset for another school isn’t a unique experience for him.

“Let’s get to a gameplan,” he said. “You just want to get to that point. And we’re here.”

Most football teams across North Carolina will kick off their respective seasons on Friday night. Most every team will be playing 10 games over 11 weeks, and the NCHSAA playoffs will follow for those teams that qualify.

“It’s exciting,” Wallace said. “Everyone’s going to get butterflies. I mean, you always do. First game of the year. Starts out football in the area … Everyone’s really excited, and we’ve got a solid 11-week regular-season schedule, and we’ll see how the cards play out.”

Although Wallace wasn’t the head coach for West Forsyth, the two teams met in Asheville on opening night last year, and Asheville Reynolds defeated West Forsyth 37-0.

“We’ve done our page breakdowns already. We’ll just get into situational stuff now,” Wallace said. “So, like Thursday, we’ll branch out schemes.”

If last year is any indication, the Titans will have their hands full with the Rockets, coached by Shane Laws. The Rockets finished 12-2 overall last year, losing in the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs quarterfinals. The Rockets outscored their opponents 512-156. According to Wallace, running back Max Guest, a 5-foot-10, 185 junior, is their offensive catalyst.

“Offensively, their O-line comes off the ball. Their running back’s really good — the Guest kid,” Wallace said. “So, that’s going to be one we’re going to have to stop and have to key on him positionally. He has a couple offers. He’s a (NCAA) Division I-based kid.”

The offense for the Rockets is deceptive.

“They’re going to motion some. We’ve got to be able to keep our head on a swivel with some of that stuff,” Wallace said. “They’re going to try and window-wash a little bit. So, we’ve just got to play disciplined football.”

According to Wallace, the Rockets lost a lot of starters on defense because of graduation.

“They’ve got a couple D ends. They’ve got a cornerback, No. 12 (Tyvon Patterson), that’s pretty good. He’s a sophomore. He can run,” he said. “So, they’ve got a good interior nose guard, three-tech. He’s a tackle-based kid, No. 25 (senior Daylon Harper), that gets off the ball. So, we’ve got to be able to neutralize him inside to be successful.”

Even with a new coaching staff, West Forsyth is hoping to erase the first four games it had last season. In addition to the loss at Asheville Reynolds, it lost 23-14 in the home opener to Oak Grove, lost 49-32 at home against Weddington, which defeated Asheville Reynolds in the playoffs last year, and after an off-week, West Forsyth lost the Central Piedmont 4-A opener 28-13 at Mount Tabor. However, West Forsyth won four of the next five games.

Much like West Forsyth, Asheville Reynolds has a difficult nonconference schedule. It plays host to Shelby next week, then comes back to Forsyth County on Sept. 1 to play East Forsyth, and finishes the nonconference slate at home on Sept. 8 against Watauga.

“The Guest kid really makes them go, the running back,” Wallace said. “I mean, they do what they do. Team-wise, defensive scheme-wise, it’s kind of what they’ve done. They’ve not reinvented the wheel. They do it well. So, we’ll see where it plays out.”

West Forsyth plays the same nonconference schedule this year compared to last. However, it plays at Oak Grove next week and at Weddington the following week. It is off on Sept. 8, but returns for its Central Piedmont 4-A opener on Sept. 15 against Mount Tabor.

“It’s three tough nonconference, then a tough conference,” Wallace said. “You know, it’s good. Our kids want to travel. So, that will be good. We’ll get used to the traveling aspect, so hopefully, at the end of the year, we’re in the playoffs. We’re going to have to travel at some point.”