By: Nora Scott
The Battle Ground Academy varsity football team is set to kick off their 2013 season at 7:00 PM on Friday, August 23rd in Manchester. They will be playing the Red Raiders of Coffee County Central High School. Hopes are high for the team this season following BGA’s move from Division II-AA to II-A athletics. It will be a welcome change for football fans after the team earned only one win in their division and lost in the first playoff game last year. They finished the season with a record of 4-7, but Coffee County had an even rougher season, winning only two games.
Both teams will be eager to turn around their programs this year and get back above .500, which will make this opening game an important one that will set the tone for the rest of the season. Though the state rankings (BGA-68, Coffee County-264) indicate that Friday’s game should be an easy win for the Wildcats, other factors must also be considered. Since the Red Raiders will have home field advantage and Battle Ground will be playing their first game since the division switch, the score could be much closer than the statistics and rankings would suggest.
Since both teams will be playing their first game since losing 12 seniors each, the winning team will likely be the one that has the strongest leaders on the field. Quarterback Tucker Beathard’s performance and leadership will be a key to success for Battle Ground. Though he was also the starting quarterback last year as a junior, he will have to overcome the loss of his two best receivers, Jordan Tutler and Brian Dangerfield, as well as running back, Keenan Bass. As long as the Wildcats can go into the game without being overly confident and step up to fill the shoes of the graduate seniors, they should be able to pull out the win and start this important transition year off right.