Hickory Ridge will face its toughest opponent of the season when the Ragin’ Bulls travel two plus hours north to Northern Guilford High School. The Nighthawks bring a 9 game winning streak into Friday night’s contest and a state ranking of 16 according to maxpreps.com
The stats are impressive for Northern Guilford.
Nighthawks average 44.8 points per game, while the HRHS Ragin’s Bulls have generated 23 points per game. Average margin of victory for NGHS has been 32 points, so while the offense has been lighting scoreboards each week the defense has been very stingy allowing 11 points per game. The only loss the Nighthawks suffered was in the second week of the season, a 7-12 affair against Dudley (Greensboro).
Leading the way for NGHS has been an all around athlete who seems to be able to do it all, Keenan Allen. Allen will see action on both sides of the ball. Regarded as one of the best safeties in the state, he will also work as wide receiver, running back and quarterback. In a game earlier this year, Allen threw for a TD, rushed for 2 scores and had 1 TD receiving. This past week, Keenan Allen verbally committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide to continue playing at the next level.
On defense the Ragin’ Bulls will have to manage the play of Nighthawks senior defensive end, Gabe King. At 6’5”, 260 pounds, King has been the anchor to the Nighthawks defense.
Of course the Ragin’ Bulls will counter with the dependable running of Brian Baltimore. Baltimore has been the most prolific rusher in the history of Hickory Ridge. In 12 games this year the junior running back has 1,617 yards and 17 TD’s. Baltimore running behind a solid Ragin’ Bull line averages 6.6 yards per carry and 147 yards per game. The Ragin’ Bulls will certainly like to see Baltimore chew up ground and clock to keep the Nighthawk offense on the sideline. HRHS defense will be lead by Ryan McGill and Dillion Burdette. McGill leads the team with 27 tackles, with Burdette right behind with 25 tackles and 52 assist.
Coach Marty Paxton has the team playing very spirited football in the post season. Ragin’ Bulls fans turned out in great numbers for the game against North Forsyth. The caravan from Cabarrus county was strong with 2 bus loads of players, a bus for the Blue Regiment, 75 students packed 2 activity buses all lead by the Cheerleaders bus. The fan support for Hickory Ridge has been excellent all year.
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