Week 2 - 2018 - Game of the Week


Well-known member
by Leman Saunders

Week 2 Game of the Week:
Blackwell @ Highland – Friday 7:30pm


photo: Dency McClure

Call it what you will, The Nolan County Showdown, The Battle of the Hornets, The Blue and Green Game, or by the new moniker The Battle of the Bell, this rivalry game has all the markings of being a barn burner once again this year.

Last year Blackwell snapped a long 10-game losing streak to Highland dating back to 2002 as they snatched away the victory with a late touchdown and held on to win 35-34. It was only the second time in this rivalry game’s history that the game was decided by a single point (1963 Highland 31 Blackwell 30).

This year it is a non-district affair as realignment has thrown Highland up in division one and kept Blackwell down in division two. There are some striking similarities between these two teams: Both a solid core of players off last year’s squads, both are run first oriented with small speedy backs, and both had harder times against their week one opponents than was expect but managed to squeak out victories.

Blackwell returns many key players off their 2017 district championship, 11-1, team. Sophomore RB Cameron Coldiron is the only returning all-stater on either team having received newcomer of the year honors last season. RB/LB Joe Sanchez had a solid night last week against Eden rushing for 147 yards with three touchdowns and QB Brandon Brinkman, splitting time with fellow QB Michael Lowry, added over 100 yards of total offense in that game as well for the green Hornets.

Highland also returns a solid number of players from last year’s playoff squad. Four starters on both sides of the ball. RB Eli Sauer, B/LB Nolan Montgomery and B/CB Richard Fomby are the big three for the blue Hornets. Sauer is coming off a solid game as he scored three of his teams four touchdowns, one a big 71-yard kickoff return, as they held off a rallying Grady 32-28.

Keys to the Game:
Highland will need to be healthy first and for most, as they have been battling a little injury bug to start the season. They will need to control the clock and limit Blackwell’s time of possession by utilizing the running game to move the chains and stay in bounds. Obviously winning the turnover battle for either team will be a big plus, but coach Jeffry sites being in the plus margin on the stat sheet in this category as a must in this game.

Blackwell will need too sure up the middle of the field on defense, stop Highland on short yardage situations and have better pass coverage over the middle than they did last week against Eden. They have the playmakers and those players will need them to make plays in this game offensively yet not turn the ball over.

My Thoughts:
This is a tough game to call! Both teams are coming off victories that I’m sure they will take, but both feel are a bit ugly. Blackwell has been the subject some preseason hype, which might have played a role in why they had a tough time with Eden, while Highland has been bitten by the injury bug. Highland will be out for revenge this year and if the Green Hornets of Blackwell are still thinking far ahead instead of focusing on the task at hand, the Hornets of Highland will have them feeling blue come nights’ end on the hilltop.
In these “too close to call” games I tend to favor the team with the most play makers. Highland has some good ones in Sauer, Fomby and Montgomery, but I think Blackwell holds a slight edge with Brinkman, Lowry, Coldiron and the little talked about two-way standout Joe Sanchez. So I’m going with Blackwell in another instant classic on the hilltop (weather permitting) 46-40.