Game of the week: Northwest at Jay M. Robinson

Two teams in the middle of the South Piedmont Conference standings, Northwest Cabarrus and Jay M. Robinson, meet Friday, trying to stay in the hunt for a conference crown.

Last season, the Trojans won a close game, defeating the Bulldogs 30-27 at home.

But these two squads are very different after losing a lot of talent to graduation. Northwest and Robinson have seen their ups and downs this season and are still looking to get in a groove.

Northwest Cabarrus (3-3)

The Trojans didn't get off to a good start this season, being shut out by a surprising Mooresville team and losing to defending 3A state champions West Rowan the first two weeks of the season.

Although Northwest played solid games against its next two opponents, South Rowan and Parkwood, the Trojans once again struggled in its SPC opener against Concord, losing 18-0.

The team earned its first win in conference play, defeating Mount Pleasant 29-15.

Williams said his team has played well overall. He said he's been especially impressed with how his specials teams, led by all-conference kicker Bradley Pinion, have performed.

Offensively, Northwest has struggled at times. They need to become more consistent in order to win this game.

"We have to complete drives and finish them off with touchdowns instead of field goals," said Williams.

That starts with junior quarterback Colby Williford, his running back Jordan Russ and wide receiver E.J. Rhinehart.

On the defensive side, the line has played well led by D.J. Bostick, Donovan Shaw and Matt Pless.

"They've shown a lot of work ethic with how hard they've played," said Williams.

Jay M. Robinson (2-4)

Bobby Cloninger's squad started off the season defeating a young Cuthbertson team before falling to Piedmont. Since winning their third game against South Rowan, the Bulldogs have struggled, losing their next three games.

Robinson lost to A.L. Brown 45-14 and to Concord 35-14 Friday.Quarterback Joey Bastine, who was averaging 176 yards per game going into last Friday, leads an explosive offense. Bastine has had some help from RB Troy Parker, who has had a good season so far, recording a few 100-yard plus games, as well as from WR Evan Mojtabai. The offense is averaging 30 points per game.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have been led by linebacker NaShaun Dingle, who will look to keep the Trojans offense in check. Robinson will have to do better at containing their opponent, as they're allowing 38 points per game this year.