The Alafia River Rivalry returns Friday night.
Durant and Newsome will both enter Friday’s Game of the Week matchup with 0-2 records, hungry to pick up the first win of the 2018 regular season. This year’s chapter of the Alafia River Rivalry is a little different than the norm but should be no less competitive.
Durant is coming off of a 39-6 loss at Sickles last week, which saw the Cougars gain 49 yards of total offense against the Gryphons. The Cougars’ scoring highlight of the game was defensive back C.J. Barnes’s 30-yard pick six, and junior Tyrhon Brooks chipped in with a 30-yard interception return of his own to go with 6.6 yards per carry on seven rushes.
Newsome looked solid on its first drive in last week’s game at East Bay, needing just six plays to score with a 37-yard touchdown pass. But the Indians immediately took control on offense as the defense found its rhythm, then stepped up big time in the second half. The Wolves’ touchdown and ensuing PAT are their only points of the season, as they were on the wrong side of a 42-0 score against Bloomingdale in their season opener.
With two teams that have nowhere to go but up in a rivalry series that’s almost always played close, Friday’s game could be fun to watch.
Durant is also adding a new wrinkle this year, as the team has declared Friday “Military Appreciation Night” at the Ron Frost Athletic Complex. The school, which is home to an Air Force JROTC program, plans to honor all branches of service during Friday’s game.
OTHER AREA ACTION
vs. Wharton, 1 Raider Place, 7:30 p.m.
The Raiders overcame a shaky first half at Hillsborough last week to score a 17-7 win over the Terriers, once again overcoming an opponent the team couldn’t finish against in 2017.
The win, propelled by a pair of rushing touchdowns from Braxton Plunk and Zamir’ Knighten, gave Plant City a 2-0 record to start the season. Toppling Jefferson and Hillsborough in back-to-back road games is a good look for the Raiders, who entered 2018 with something to prove.
They’ll now host Wharton in their 2018 home opener. The Wildcats will probably want to forget most of last week’s game, a 2-0 loss to Blake at home, besides the part where Wharton’s pass rush generated 10 sacks between six players.
The Chargers' defense excelled and Andre James-Williams scored in a defensive battle against King last week. Crest's home opener was a success, with a 7-6 win going the Chargers' way, and they now have a Sept. 7 bye before next week's duel with Tampa Bay Tech.