Thursday, September 4, 2014
Wando head coach Jimmy Noonan knows for the Warriors to be contenders they have to first win on the road.
Wando (1-0) gets its first shot Friday as it travels to Ashley Ridge (2-0) with hopes of snapping a seven-game road skid.
“The first test in this young season is getting off the bus,” Noonan said. “Obviously, we didn't do a good job of that last season. We'll be looking for our guys to play a complete ball game against a very tough opponent this week.”
If the two teams' early season showing is any indication of what's to come, Friday's matchup has the potential for an offensive shootout.
Ashley Ridge followed a 21-point performance against Woodland in Week Zero by racking up 56 points last week at James Island. Wando hanged 45 points on White Knoll in one half last week.
“They've shown they're going to put up some points,” Noonan said. “Even though our offense has been inconsistent at times, I think we've also shown the capability to score.”
Ashley Ridge is led by 6-foot-5, 225-pound quarterback Steven Duncan. The junior threw for more than 3,300 yards last season for Porter-Gaud and looks to be one of the Lowcountry's top passers this season, throwing for 390 yards, three touchdowns, while completing better than 60 percent of his attempts through two games.
The Swamp Foxes' spread offense utilizes two senior backs in 210-pound 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Garland and 150-pound speed back Chris Jones. The two run behind an offensive line with five starters 240 pounds or heavier.
Duncan's favorite target so far has been 6-foot senior Matt Linton who's tallied 10 catches, 162 yards and a touchdown this season.
“They're a complete offense,” Noonan said. “Great skill at receiver, big running back, they're not one-dimensional at all. They're so tough in the short passing game but can get the ball downfield as well.”
Ashley Ridge runs a 40-front defense and returns almost its entire defensive line from last season. The Swamp Foxes are aggressive upfront and rely on the big-play potential in their secondary.
Wando is 4-0 all-time against Ashley Ridge, outscoring the Swamp Foxes 76-39 the past two seasons.
“We're going to have to be on our toes upfront from a pass-protection standpoint,” Noonan said. “Strenghts and weaknesses of teams haven't really shown yet. Non-region football is all about finding yourself and getting everything ironed out.”
Frankie Mansfield, the Moultrie News sports reporter, can be seen all around the state following teams to meets, games, and matches. For score updates, breaking sports news, and more, follow @fjmansfield on Twitter and like Moultrie News Sports on Facebook.