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HILLSVILLE –– Carroll County opened its 2010 season last year with a loss to Bassett, but avenged itself 10 weeks later by ending the Bengals’ season in the Region IV Division 4 playoffs.
The Cavaliers are hoping to get it right the first time this year.
After a disappointing showing in a 36-7 benefit game loss at Galax last week, Carroll County opens its 2011 season for real tonight when the Cavaliers head down to Henry County for a nondistrict battle with the Bengals.
Not a lot of positives came out of the 29-point loss to the Maroon Tide last week.
“One encouraging thing about Friday is that we got shown early that if we don’t play up to our potential, we’re not going to be a very good football team,” Cavalier coach Tom Hale said. “It was things that we were able to show the kids [on film], and seeing is believing.”
Hale said what he saw on film wasn’t irreparable.
“The discouraging thing is that except for one guy our offensive and defensive lines are all seniors, and in the opinion of me and our staff, there was just a lack of effort,” Hale said. “That can be fixed, and it will be fixed. But that was it in a nutshell. I felt like Galax was better than us athletically, but [the score] shouldn’t have been anywhere near where it was. Not taking anything away from Galax, because they were better than us. But we can play a whole heck of a lot better.”
The Cavaliers will have to, if they don’t want to open a difficult nondistrict portion of the schedule with an 0-1 record.
“It’s going to be one of those situations like Galax,” Hale said. “They’ve got good athletes.”
One advantage for the Cavaliers is that the Bengals start but one senior and are very young up front. But young doesn’t necessarily translate into small as the Bengals have 10 linemen listed at 240 pounds or heavier. Most if not all of them will step on the field at one point during the evening.
“The thing that could be a problem is that they’ve got good numbers and they just keep throwing big out there,” said Hale. “They’re not going to get tired. We’ve got a lot of two-way players and that can take its toll on us.”
Bassett’s main weapon is quarterback Dashaun Valentine, a 6-foot, 208-pound junior. Valentine ran for 319 yards and threw for another 562 as a sophomore, and a lot will be on his shoulders this year as the Bengals are running primarily out of the spread formation for the first time.
“We’ve got to stop him,” Hale said. “He’s been starting basically since he was a freshman, and he’s a heck of a runner. We can’t let him beat us and we can’t let their skill people get by us. If we miss a tackle they’re going to go a long way.”
Hale has challenged his team, especially its senior linemen, and had already seen a positive response through the first two days of practice this week.
This is the week to show it, as the road only gets tougher the next few weeks.
“There’s an old saying that you can tell a lot about your team by how much they improve after their first game,” Hale said. “Luckily that first game for us was a scrimmage.”
Carroll County (0-0) at Bassett (0-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Ed Bassett Field
2010 (Carroll Co. won 39-21, Region IV playoffs)
Last Bassett win
2010 regular season (17-14)
None to date
Carroll County Bassett
at Bassett 8/26 Carroll County
Mt. Airy, NC 9/2at PH-Roanoke
Christiansburg 9/9 Jefferson Forest
Open 9/16 at Christiansburg
Grayson County 9/23 at Franklin County
at Martinsville 9/30 Hidden Valley
at Abingdon 10/7 Tunstall
Richlands 10/14 Open
Tazewell 10/21 Martinsville
at Marion 10/28 Patrick County
at Patrick County 11/4 at Magna Vista
2004–#Bassett 35-14 2008–Bassett 28-7
2005–Bassett 36-19 2009–Bassett 21-20
2006–Carroll Co. 19-7 2010–Bassett 17-14
2007–Bassett 41-6 2010–#Carroll Co. 39-21
#Region IV Division 4 playoffs
Bassett leads 6-2