The Transylvania Times -

Blue Devils Host Warhorses Under Thursday Night Lights - Brevard, NC

 

September 14, 2017



For the second year in a row football fans will be able to watch the Brevard Blue Devils without leaving the comfort of their homes as the Blue Devils will take to the field for a televised Thursday Night Lights game.

Last year’s televised game was a tough one for Brevard, as they lost 42-6 on the road at Tuscola.

This year, the task isn’t quite as formidable.

This Thursday, Brevard (3-1) hosts the Owen Warhorses (0-3) in the first meeting between the two schools in three years.

The early game date automatically means teams have one less day to prepare, but with this week’s stormy weather Brevard also lost a day of practice on Monday.

For head coach Craig Pritchett and his staff, that makes preparing for this week’s game even trickier.

“You try to keep your weekly schedule as normal as possible, but with the game being on Thursday you can’t do it and then we lost another day with the rain. So, all the things we thought we learned from last year, we’re having to learn something new for this week. We’re going to do our best to keep our kids comfortable and have them ready to go when we kick off,” Pritchett said.

Owen might be a winless team, but they’ve played stiff competition, including games against A.C. Reynolds and Hendersonville.

Pritchett said some of the players that stand out are Otis Mallory, who plays on the defensive line, and Antonio McDowell – a 6’2”, 230-pound fullback who gets a lot of carries on the ground.

That being said, the Blue Devils will have to come ready to play if they want to impress the fans and the TV audience.

“I was actually surprised when I saw them on film, as they looked better than I expected them to. I told the guys not to be fooled by their record because they’re going to be a good football team looking for their first win,” Pritchett said.

Brevard enters Thursday’s game fresh off a 42-32 win over Madison that saw the team rush for a season-high 237 yards.

The Blue Devils carried the ball 31 times against the Patriots – their second most attempts all season – and were able to exert their will despite going up against a physical defensive unit.

A bruising run game is something Pritchett would like to see more of and he said having cohesion in the trenches was a big reason behind the success on the ground against Madison.

“We’ve been shuffling people on the offensive line and finally we had the same starting five in back-to-back games and they started to find their groove,” he said. “We’ve got three seniors and two juniors up front. They’ve got good size and they’re starting to hit right when we need them to.”

Brevard also got a spark from the special teams against the Patriots as Anjel Whitesides racked up more than 135 return yards.

Whitesides had a few big returns in the Blue Devils’ previous games, but most were called back due to penalties.

Pritchett said maintaining focus was a big part of cutting down on those penalties and also having a special teams unit composed of younger players start to adapt on the field.

“(Special teams) was one aspect of our game that we did well in last year and we missed it the first few games. We had a bunch of guys who are just now figuring out varsity football and you can see that confidence starting to build,” he said.

Before the season started, Pritchett dispelled the notion that 2017 might be a down year for Brevard or a rebuilding effort.

So far, his team has proven him right as they’ve turned in stronger performances every week and are in a great position as the season nears the midway point.

“I’ve been impressed with the growth of the team and how quick some of the guys have found their confidence. We’re seeing the young guys build and hopefully by the time we hit conference play they’ve got that confidence and we can compete with Franklin and Hendersonville and Pisgah,” Pritchett said.

 
 

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