(BREAKING NEWS: Due to Friday’s potential storms, the APA vs. BCA football game will be played Thursday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m.)
Say what you will, but Friday’s showdown between the two local NCISAA football teams – the 2016 1A champs Bethel CA and 2016 2A champs APA – is nothing short of a playoff game in August.
“We’re excited to matchup 1A state champions and 2A state champions, and two schools that are five miles apart, which adds a little bit of a rivalry,” said Patriot head coach Matt Beaman, starting his sixth season as APA’s head coach. “Even though Bethel is in the 1A division, we feel that Bethel could be the best team we play all year.”
The Patriots, led by senior standouts Connor Bright (QB-DB), Holden Killinger (LB-RB), and A.J. Banker (WR-DB), seek their third consecutive NCISAA 2A state championship.
APA defeated St. David’s School (Raleigh) in 2015 and and 2016 to secure its state titles.
The Patriots suffered the loss of All-State defensive stalwarts Cole Daniels and Ro Grady, but Killinger, who also earned a spot on the All-State squad last year, will look to secure the defense.
Bethel CA will stand behind All-State running back Javon Edwards, who leads head coach Brick Crowder’s squad.
“We’re expecting (Killinger) to really step up for us defensively,” said Beaman.
APA will rely on seniors, including Zach Sylvia, Banker, and Alex Urban, on defense to start the season.
On offense, the Patriots expect contributions from 2016’s top guns, including Bright (2,007 total yards in 2016), Banker (927 all-purpose yards), and sophomore Trey McLawhorn (72 carries for 261 yards).
“So we’re excited,” said Beaman. “We’ve had a bunch of guys who have been here all summer (training). We have a number of seniors who have shown good leadership so we’re expecting big things out of this team.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hodges Field at Parrott Academy.
POINTS AFTER: Vote for your favorite team on the Parrott Post Twitter poll (@ppost2017) . . . Banker and Killinger combined for 21 TDs in 2016 . . . McLawhorn had the second most carries for the Patriots last season . . . BCA defeated APA in 2016, 54-46.
EXCLUSIVE: Click below to hear Coach Beaman’s comments.