Wyatt Smith’s Game of the Week Preview – Week One: Grimsley @ Ragsdale
When Grimsley visits Ragsdale this Friday night for the opening game of both schools’ 2016 season, the Whirlies will be led by an entrirely new coaching staff. Head coach Darryl Brown accepted the job at Grimsley and brought his entire coaching staff from Southern Guilford with him. The hiring of Brown and his staff, who were very successful at Southern, have the Grimsley faithful hoping for happier Friday nights in 2016 and beyond.
Grimsley is coming off of a 2-9 season in 2015, and will look to take the season opener from the Ragsdale Tigers to get the season, and new regime, headed in the right direction. Grimsley will look to Senior Quarterback Garrett Hundell to run their offense and be a leader to his teammates.
Even with a coaching change that attracted lots of local coverage since Coach Brown left Southern Guilford for Grimsley, lately, the main media focus has been on Brelin Faison-Walden. Faison-Walden was one of the most highly recruited players in the state this off-season and committed to Penn State last month. The 6’1” 200-lb senior safety/LB, was injured during the two biggest games of 2015 for the Whirlies – Page and East Forsyth. He caught the eyes of many of the top programs in the nation when he excelled at a workout in the off-season. Coach Brown’s defense will be greatly impacted by Faison-Walden. However, he is only one player.
Ragsdale also had a difficult season last year, finishing 1-10 on the season. Ragsdale returns RB Jarius Drayton who will be a threat to the Whirlie defense. Senior OLB Alex Illescas will be a leader for the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball, a place that they will need to improve on from last season if they are going to have a better record in 2016. Coach Tommy Norwood will have his team prepared to take on the Whirlies when they take the field Friday night.
Even though Ragsdale struggled on defense last season, I see them keeping the Whirlies in check, and expect to see a big night from Tigers’ RB Jarius Drayton.
The two teams have played each other in their opening contests of the season, with the home team being victorious since 2013. I see the streak of the home team being victorious continuing into 2016 with the Tigers pulling out the win Friday night.