City League: Eastmoor Academy-Walnut Ridge clash headlines this week's action

JARROD ULREY
ThisWeekSPORTS.com
Walnut Ridge's Damien Whaley (left) gets past Centennial's Roderick Peterson and returns a punt for a touchdown in the Scots' 36-14 win in the season opener Sept. 17.

Two City League programs off to impressive starts will meet Thursday, Sept. 24, when Walnut Ridge plays host to Eastmoor Academy.

After both teams made the playoffs in 2018, with Eastmoor winning their City-South Division matchup that season, the Scots won 27-7 last fall on their way to an 11-1 finish while the Warriors went 6-4.

Walnut Ridge is preparing for the Division II, Region 7 playoffs while the Warriors will be in Division III, Region 11 for the postseason, which begins Oct. 9.

“They know what it takes and they’re going to be real coachable (this) week,” Scots coach Byron Mattox said. “It’s one of those that you throw out the records when Eastmoor and Walnut Ridge play. It’s going to be a battle and our guys will be up for the task.”

The Scots opened Sept. 17 with a 36-14 win over Centennial in a matchup of last year’s City-South and City-North champions. Running back Javarus Leach led the way with 107 yards rushing and one touchdown on 14 carries and three catches for 92 yards and two scores.

Quarterback Howard Thornton was 10-for-17 passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns for the Scots, who made it 22-6 on a 26-yard pass from Thornton to Leach that was followed by a two-point conversion run by William Felts. They then increased the lead to 28-6 on a 30-yard scoring run by Leach early in the fourth quarter.

Eastmoor led Northland 35-0 by halftime and made it 42-0 when Isaiah Pressley returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown.

Pressley also had an interception for the Warriors, who got two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Ahmad Armstrong and two rushing scores from senior running back Cameron Foster.

“(Armstrong) came on at the end of last season,” coach Jim Miranda said. “Cameron Foster is going to be a player for us.”

•Another matchup of teams off to impressive starts will take place when Independence plays host to Marion-Franklin at noon Saturday, Sept. 26.

The 76ers opened Sept. 19 with a 58-12 win at East as senior Orlando Jones ran for one touchdown and two two-point conversions and returned an interception for a score. Senior running back Vontez Brice scored one touchdown on a run and another on a reception, and junior running back Jalin Sample ran for one touchdown and returned a kickoff for another score.

“Right now Orlando Jones is the engine of our team,” 76ers coach Maurice Douglas said.

Marion-Franklin is coming off a defensive performance in which it allowed just 15 total yards in a 25-0 win over Beechcroft on Sept. 17.

Sophomore quarterback Mickail Perry ran for a touchdown and threw for one, senior running back Taylen James rushed for a score and junior linebacker Dimir Thomas returned an interception for a touchdown to lead the Red Devils.

•Two teams looking to bounce back from opening losses will match up when Northland visits Centennial at noon Saturday, Sept. 26.

Senior quarterback Syquee Womack and senior running back Tyreek Gunnell scored one touchdown apiece for the Stars against Walnut Ridge.

Northland will try to bounce back under first-year coach Ryan Sayers following a 49-0 loss to Eastmoor on Sept. 18. It was the worst loss the Vikings have endured against a City program since it lost 69-20 to Brookhaven in 2005.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

WEEK 5

EASTMOOR ACADEMY at WALNUT RIDGE

•When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24

•Last meeting: 2019, Walnut Ridge 27-7

•Eastmoor (1-0) to date: Defeated Northland 49-0

•Walnut Ridge (1-0) to date: Def. Centennial 36-14

•Top Warriors: Ahmad Armstrong (QB), Malachi Coleman (DL/WR), Cameron Foster (RB/DB), Isaiah Pressley (WR/DB) and Diamonte Salley (WR/LB)

•Top Scots: Daaron Brown (WR/DB), Jamarius Dinkins (OL/DL), Antonio Felts (RB/LB), William Felts (WR/DB), Javarus Leach (RB/LB) and Howard Thornton (QB)

MARION-FRANKLIN at INDEPENDENCE

•When: Noon Saturday, Sept. 26

•Last meeting: 2019, Marion-Franklin 54-34

•Marion-Franklin (1-0) to date: Def. Beechcroft 25-0

•Independence (1-0) to date: Def. East 58-12

•Top Red Devils: Leviticus Brown (OL/DL), Taylen James (RB/DB), John Martin (QB), Giovanni Scales (WR/DB) and Quannaire Tatum (OL)

•Top 76ers: Vontez Brice (RB/DB), Michael Johnson (LB/WR), Orlando Jones (QB/DB), Shawn Munnerlyn (WR/TE/LB), Jalin Sample (RB/DB) and Benzle Sieh (DB)

NORTHLAND at CENTENNIAL

•When: Noon Saturday, Sept. 26

•Last meeting: 2019, Centennial 33-7

•Northland (0-1) to date: Lost to Eastmoor 49-0

•Centennial (0-1) to date: Lost to Walnut Ridge 36-14

•Top Vikings: Japhrone Chapman (WR/DB), Corey Craddolph (OL/DL), Rob Dorsey (WR/DB), Isaiah Jackson (QB), Shemar Watson (WR/DB/QB) and Isaiah Willis Jackson (WR/DB)

•Top Stars: Jake Barnes (OL/DL), Justin Grimes (OL/DL), Tyreek Gunnell (WR/DB), Noah Hatem (OL/DL), Kevin Motely (OL/LB), Tavarres Overton (WR/DB) and Syquee Womack (QB)