The 2010 version of the Jay M. Robinson and South Rowan football teams have a lot in common.
Unfortunately, their common theme is "change," after both the Bulldogs and the Raiders have been forced to replace a good portion of last year's teams.
The 2009 Robinson team was inconsistent, beginning 1-4 before winning four of five games and then losing their final two contests.
This year, the Bulldogs have had to break in a quarterback and tailback among others.
"We have a lot of new guys in key spots, but I think our guys are finding their way," said Robinson football coach Bobby Cloninger.
"Our goal is just to be a little better every week."
South Rowan is also trying to find a way to replace 19 starters from a team that went 9-3 last year.
The Raiders had a potent offense that averaged nearly 36 points per game, but South Rowan is still working to replace all 11 starters.
South Rowan is sure to get better, but it may take time.
Jay M. Robinson (1-1)
Robinson is looking to be more consistent this year.
It all begins with quarterback Joey Bastine, who looked strong in the season-opening win over Cuthbertson, passing for 219 yards.
Bastine's main job is to get the ball to playmakers like wideout Evan Mojtabai and tailback Troy Parker.
Mojtabai is the game-breaker, with the speed and skill to make a big impact every time he touches the ball. Parker is the steady, solid, physical runner, who can wear out an opposing defense.
The Robinson defense is also a work in progress, after giving up nearly 28 points per game in 2009.
Linebacker Nashawn Dingle, who is 6-foot, 230 pounds, is the key to the front seven, while defensive back Logan Austin, who is playing his first year of football as a senior, has already made a name for himself with two interceptions.
The Bulldogs' defense has made big plays this season already, but gave up 41 points during Friday's loss to Piedmont. If the unit can continue to contribute, Robinson could be much improved.
Overall, Robinson has a chance to be just as good or better than last year.
If the Bulldogs can limit mistakes and turnovers, they should have a good chance to avenge last year' 35-21 loss to South Rowan.
South Rowan (0-3)
After enjoying one of their best seasons in recent history, the Raiders lost nearly everybody from last year's team. Now, they have to rebuild on the fly, which hasn't been easy against a tough non-conference slate.
Quarterback Nathan Lambert has looked good at times. If he can become consistent, the Raiders should see signs of improvement.
Fullback Ricky Sherrill can be a big part of making Lambert's life easier if the ground game can get going. Wingback Brandon Williams could also be key in the running game.
South Rowan, which has lost all three of their games this season, has multiple weapons at receiver, but two of their best options, Mark McDaniel and Donte Henderson, are also expected to be standouts on defense.
The South Rowan defense could be more important than ever this year.
With a young team, the defense needs to make big plays and create turnovers to put the offense in good spots.
What could be the difference in the the game: how many mistakes they can force Robinson to make.