West Forsyth travels to Oak Grove Friday in hopes of avenging last year’s home loss

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 24, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

The West Forsyth football team was able to strike off one of its goals last Friday night after edging A.C. Reynolds 8-7 in the season opener at Jerry Peoples Stadium.

After all, playing the same schedule as last season, just at reverse sites this year, A.C. Reynolds rolled past West Forsyth 37-0. Last season, playing at Jerry Peoples Stadium, Oak Grove defeated West Forsyth 23-14.

Almost a year later, West Forsyth will try to seek some matter revenge Friday night in Midway in hopes of improving to 2-0 with new Coach Kevin Wallace, who coached at Northwest Guilford before this season and replaced Coach Adrian Snow after last season.

“I’ve played them in some JV games,” Wallace said of his knowledge of Oak Grove. “I know their coaching staff very well. The OC was the head coach at Northwest before I took over. I’ve known Rob Creason. I’m good friends with Mark Holcomb, going back to when Mark was there and when Mark was at North Davidson. And I’ve known Creason since he was with him at North Davidson.”

Creason is now the head coach at Oak Grove after Holcomb left after last season to become the head coach at Bishop McGuinness.

“Creason and I go back,” Wallace said. “We talk almost every other week. It’ll be good. We’ll look at the film (this past Saturday), make corrections and we’ll go out and improve next week.”

Oak Grove defeated Southwest Guilford 49-30 last Friday in Creason’s head-coaching debut.

“It’s fun. To me, it’s filled with being a football coach, but being able to do it at that school I’ve been at since the beginning, and being able to be with that staff, that’s a special moment for sure.”

According to Creason, he’d been with Holcomb in some capacity since he was a teenager. It’s Creason’s first head-coaching job.

“I would imagine we’re going through some very similar things,” Creason said. “I guess I just don’t have to get used to the school now I’ve been there before. Well, Kevin was (at West Forsyth) for a little bit (before he took the Northwest Guilford job).”

Although West Forsyth and Oak Grove will be competing on the same field this Friday, Wallace and Creason have a mutual respect.

“I’ve known Kevin (Wallace) for a while,” Creason said. “He’s a good dude. He actually called me (Friday) night and congratulated me, so yeah, we’ve known each other for a while.”

One player who remembers last year’s game is West Forsyth senior Caleb David. The 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker/running back, who had an interception at the end of Friday’s game against A.C. Reynolds to seal the win, still has a bad taste in his mouth after losing to Oak Grove last year.

“Same thing, same mentality,” David said. “A Week 2 win. A loss last year, so (we’re) coming to get it back this year.”

The losses against A.C. Reynolds and Oak Grove last season were part of a four-game losing streak.

“It hurt tremendously,” David said. “It was a pain I can’t even explain. I started crying after the Oak Grove game last year, and I know for sure that’s going to happen this year.”

The Titans’ defense last week against the Rockets was stellar, creating five turnovers.

“Defensively, I think we did amazing,” David said. “I think we had five turnovers…We had five, but it was a good performance from us. We had many good outs, so I think it was good for all night.”

According to Creason, the Grizzlies rushed for 392 yards — led by running backs Karson Williams (192 yards and three touchdowns), Jayden Barnes (75 yards and a touchdown), and quarterback Connor Creech (75 yards and two touchdowns) in last week’s win against the Cowboys. Creech only threw four passes, but one was for a touchdown.

“I’m a complementary football kind of guy,” Creason said. “We’re going to play defense and run the football. That’s kind of our, that’ll be our game plan going into every game.”

As for the Titans, quarterback Bert Rice finished 9-of-22 passing with one interception and 116 yards and a touchdown last week against the Rockets. However, one of his completions was an 18-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Paige with 1:37 left in the third quarter. Rice converted a two-point conversion run to help give the Titans an 8-7 lead at halftime.

“(Rice) doesn’t get rattled,” Wallace said. “There was a couple times where I got on him because he just didn’t do what we expect him to do, but he was good. I mean, he’s been through it. It’s not his first time. We’ll correct some things. There’s some little fundamental things sometimes he goes back to reverts back to some stuff that if he just will concentrate on and go, and we’ll get it on film, and he’ll be better.”

It doesn’t get any easier for West Forsyth. In addition to playing at Oak Grove, it plays at Weddington next week, followed by an off-week. It starts Central Piedmont 4-A play at home on Sept. 15 against Mount Tabor.

“The atmosphere here was great for us,” Wallace said of the A.C. Reynolds game. “…We played well because of the noise in the crowd and the fans and the band, and stuff like that. We’ve just got to be ready to go. We’ll be alright.

“We have a very experienced team that’s played in different places. We just got to correct some things and make sure that we’re still working on moving forward and not looking in the past.”