Game of the Week: Randleman vs Providence Grove

After ten weeks of grueling practices and games under the Friday night lights, the final game of the regular season is here. It is one last chance for teams to make a statement before the NCHSAA makes their final decisions for the state tournament. It is a chance for teams to finish strong in their respected conferences and to gain some momentum heading into the post season. This week’s “Game of the Week” is important for both teams to regain momentum after disappointing losses last week. Randleman will host the Providence Grove Patriots in this week’s “Game of the Week”.

Randleman heads into Friday’s match up after a last second loss to the Eastern Randolph Wildcats, while Providence Grove is coming off a loss to Trinity after leading most of the game. In the series between the Tigers and the Patriots, Randleman holds a 5-3 advantage. However, Providence Grove won last season’s meeting 22 to 7. This is a must win game for both teams. Should Randleman pull out the win they will wrap up third place in the PAC-6 conference, but if the Patriots top the Tigers there will be at least a two-way tie for third.

It will be senior night for the Tigers and they will have a chip on their shoulders coming into this game. After losing to the Patriots last season and the disappointing lost last week, Randleman is going to come out hungry and ready to make a statement. The Tigers’ offense will need to send a knockout punch early if they want to blow out the Patriots. Senior running back Austin Stone has had the best season of his career and with it being possibly his last game at Charles R. Gregory Stadium, he is going to extremely hard to stop. Putting the ball in Stone’s hands always results in something good and can cause defenses to fall apart. Junior quarterback Tanner McGee has shown that he has what it takes to lead this team into difficult territory. If he can find Gunnar Gantt or Isaiah Davis open, then the Tigers should have no problem putting points on the board.

Just because their offense can put this one away early does not mean that Randleman’s defense can take the week off. Providence Grove is one scrappy, hardworking team and if they catch the defense sleeping then they will make them pay. The Tigers are going to need to pay attention on defense and make stops to get the win. Senior middle linebacker Cyle Cassidy has been a solid contributor defensively for the Tigers all season and he along with fellow senior Trevor Ivey and junior Samuel Gribble will anchor the Randleman defense.

While their record may not reflect it, the Providence Grove Patriots have played hard all season long. If the Patriots hope to beat the Tigers, then their defense will need to be solid. If any of Randleman’s wide receivers or running backs find holes in the defense, then a touchdown is likely coming. Providence Grove’s defense will need to pay special attention to Stone and McGee. If the Patriots can put a stop to one half of the duo, then this one just might get interesting. Senior Micah Griffith is a key member of the Patriots’ defense and he knows how to get them fired up. Senior Cam’ron Gray will also be key for the Patriots on defense. Gray plays with so much heart and determination that he can cause problems for the Tigers.

With their defense trying to make stops, Providence Grove’s offense will need to find ways to score in order to keep this one close. Xavier Andrews and Malik Sutton will need to have huge offense games for the Patriots if they hope to spoil senior night for the Tigers. Andrews has shown that he can barrel his way through just about any defense and fight for extra yards. Sutton can go up and get just about anything thrown his way. If he comes down with it and there is an open field, then he will find his way to the end zone.

Both teams need a win, but only one will get the W on Friday night. For the Tigers, they will need to play a fundamentally sound game both offensively and defensively. Their offense will lead the way, but their defense needs to stay focused and watch out for the rally from the Patriots. Defense will be the first step for Providence Grove should they hope to pull out the win. If their defense can bother the Tigers, then their offense has a chance to keep this one within reach.

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