By MIKE DUPREZ
Southwestern Randolph made history in 2021, going 8-3 and and getting a home playoff game for the first time in school history.
Much of that good record was built on the strength of a 5-0 run through the non-conference part of the schedule. The Cougars appear primed to do that again as they look to have another solid football season. Their five non-conference foes were a combined 8-41 last year.
Adam Cole is back for his senior season and that’s a great thing for the Cougars. He’ll get the ball a bunch on offense and he’ll be trying to steal it a bunch on defense again. The biggest question mark is behind center since all-conference quarterback Keaton Reed graduated.
A turbocharged non-conference start would help. Here’s how it looks.
The Cougars open at home with Jordan-Matthews, a team they beat 45-0 last year. J-M went on to have a 1-9 season.
Next up is a game at South Stanly, a team the Cougars walloped 55-6 last year. South Stanly finished 2-8.
Then the Cougars host West Davidson, who they crushed 57-10 last season. West Davidson wound up 2-7. The Green Dragons do have a new coach in Brian Billings and they return two-way star Joseph Baker, who accounted for 1,016 yards of total offense last season.
Southwestern Randolph then travels to Albemarle, a team it did not play last year. The Bulldogs, a former 1-A state power, were 2-8 last season. Albemarle replaces Starmount on the schedule. The Cougars beat Starmount 42-30.
The final non-conference game is against crosstown rival Asheboro. Of course anything can happen in these rivalry games and last year’s game was a 17-7 slog, won by the Cougars. Asheboro used its size to slow down the high octane Cougars. The Blue Comets ended up with a 1-9 record and have their own question marks entering the 2022 season.
It all adds up to a likely 5-0 start to the 2022 season for Southwestern Randolph. That’s something they would gladly take every year.