Following last week’s victory over Elizabeth City Northeastern, Reidsville head football coach Jimmy Teague said to his team that no one ever expected to be playing football in May instead of the fall, but because the season was moved to the spring due to of the 2020 pandemic shut down, the Rams are once again in familiar post season territory as they get set for the program’s fifth-consecutive 2A NCHSAA state championship game this Saturday.
Reidsville, the 2A Eastern Division Regional champs, will face Western Region title winners Mountain Heritage at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill on the University of North Carolina campus this Saturday.
Like their last two playoff opponents in Wallace-Rose Hill and Northeastern, the Rams once again face a program with shared post-season history.
Cougars snap shot
Mountain Heritage head coach Joey Robinson and his staff have built a hard-hitting football program which is very familiar with Ram-tough Reidsville, and there is probably no love lost between these post season adversaries. Last week was a perfect example of what type of team RHS will face in the championship game next Saturday.
Tied at 22-22 at Hendersonville in the NCHSAA 2A Western Region Finals, with a trip to the state championship on the line last Friday night, junior quarterback Gabe Silvers stretched the ball over the goal line for the 2-point conversion which clinched the win with just one inch to spare. It was a gutsy call that gave Mountain Heritage a dramatic 30-29 win over the Bearcats who advance to their first state championship game since 2009.
After Hendersonville scored and kicked the extra point on the first drive in the extra period, the Cougars cut it to 29-28 on the ensuing drive in overtime and everyone in the stadium knew what was coming with all the marbles on the line since Mountain Heritage typically does not kick.
Silvers has proven to be the engine that makes the Cougars offense go in a season where he has compiled 890 yards rushing.
Mountain Heritage (7-1) is your prototypical smash-mouth, run-oriented football team that only has 330 total yards passing, so obviously shutting down Silvers and running back Kason Hall (526 yards) will be Reidsville’s primary concerns defensively.
The Cougars are averaging 31.6 points per game while allowing 18.6.
More than likely, whomever controls the running lanes in the trenches will have a clear advantage.
Just like the previous two playoff opponents in Wallace-Rose Hill and Northeastern, the Cougars and Rams have significant recent post season history.
Reidsville defeated Mountain Heritage 45-16 Nov. 25 in the second round of the 2016 playoffs, 27-20 Dec. 1 in the 2017 Regional Finals and again by a 21-14 margin in the third round in 2018, so the Cougars will be extremely motivated to rewrite their shared history with the Rams.
Rams snap shot
For the fifth-consecutive season, the Reidsville football team is headed to the state championship following a 49-28 2A NCHSAA East Region win over Elizabeth City Northeastern last Friday night.
In what was initially a close game at halftime with the Rams leading 14-7, turned into another dominant scoring barrage down the stretch which allowed Reidsville to close out the win and punch their ticket to yet another title game.
Defensively, the Cougars will have their collective hands full trying to slow down Rams senior running back Ste’vian Harrison, who has scored eight rushing touchdowns in his last two games.
Also senior dual-threat quarterback Kyle Pinnix and wide receiver and special teams extraordinaire Breon Pass pose a variety of threats due to their versatility. In addition, several of the younger players including Cam Peoples, Devin Shyrock and Queshyne Flippen have proven to be vital assets for the potent Rams offense over the course of the last several weeks.
Reidsville is averaging 51.1 points per game offensively while on the other side of the ball, the Rams are sturdy at every position, allowing just 7.9 per contest on average in a season where they have posted five shutouts. Last week’s 28 points were the most RHS permitted all season. Considering Mountain Heritage is run-oriented, expect the Rams secondary to play up.
RHS has won three out of the last four state championship games and are now just one step away from bringing home the programs 22nd title next Saturday. The Rams won 58-12 over Edenton Holmes in 2016, lost 35-28 in overtime to Wallace-Rose Hill in 2017, then defeated Elizabeth City Northeastern in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 by margins of 31-28 and 14-0 respectively.