New school, new coaches, new season on the way

Bobby Collins and Jason Fowler have a lot in common right now.

Collins, the football coach at the new Hough High, and Fowler, who is taking on the same position at Rocky River, are faced with the daunting task of building their programs from the ground up.

Collins and Fowler also will take their first step together Friday night when Hough travels to Rocky River for both high schools' first-ever varsity football game at 7 p.m.

"Bobby and I have talked about this game all summer long," Fowler said. "Somebody is going to get to win their first game, and of course, we hope it is us."

Collins feels the same way.

"We are trying to be as successful (as possible) this year," Collins said. "Regardless (of what happens), I think it's going to be fun."

Hough draws mostly from North Meck and Hopewell's junior varsity teams and will compete in the I-Meck conference from the start; their quarterback, however, likely will be Keegan Brennan, a rising junior from Lake Norman Charter.

Other key players include receivers Brandon Mobley (North Meck) and Jared Sabo (Hopewell), as well as linebackers Connor Milliken (North Meck) and Ryan Lemke (North Meck).

Lemke is the most accomplished player, as he led the Vikings in tackles as a freshman.

Meanwhile, Rocky River drew most of its players from Butler and Independence, and will be in the Southwestern 4A conference immediately.

The Ravens have only one player with varsity experience in tight end Elijah Roberson (Independence). Rocky River will feature mostly freshmen and sophomores, including freshman quarterback Christian Allen-Brown. Classmate Deron Davis and sophomore Sydney Lawson, both running backs, will also be key players.

"It's almost unbelievable that the first game is finally here," Fowler said. "This has been our focus since we got here June 16. We're ready to starting playing real football."

College commitment

North Meck senior golfer Katie Kirk verbally committed to East Carolina earlier this month.

Kirk finished fourth at the 4A state meet last year. The Vikings' senior is also one of the top golfers on several juniors' circuits, as she currently is ranked No. 2 in the state (, No. 55 in the nation (2011 class) and No. 170 overall.

Kirk, who won the Peggy Kirk Bell Tour Order of Merit last week with a victory at the Precision Girls Championships at Bryan Park in Greensboro, is also ranked No. 4 (in the Carolinas) by the Carolinas' Golf Association.