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BURDEN OF PROOF TONIGHT

In Week 2, victors need to maintain momentum, and the trumped must prove themselves.

One week into the prep football season and this much is clear: A lot is not as it seems or how it was supposed to seem.

Sure, it's early, but Alonso quarterback C.J. Bennett is as good as advertised. Jefferson quarterback Quentin Williams (203 yards passing, one rushing TD) and Freedom quarterback Tyler Guy (231 yards, four TDs) may be even better than advertised. And Wharton, Leto, Chamberlain and Gaither may not want to do any advertising at all.

On the flip side, strong performances vaulted Freedom, Jefferson and Sickles to somewhat unexpected victories. And speaking of impressive victories, Steinbrenner traveled to fellow new school Strawberry Crest and left Dover with a 16-8 win in its inaugural game.

Week 2 squarely puts the burden on the Wildcats, Chiefs and Falcons (who scored a collective three points in blowout losses) to avoid coming out of the gate at 0-2.

Alonso, meanwhile, draws the tough task of the week, facing a Spoto team that thumped Wharton 28-0 last week. Bennett, who passed for 232 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score last week, will face a tougher task tonight against the tough Spartans defense.

In other games, Sickles hosts Blake, Jefferson hosts Newsome and Freedom plays at King. Gaither has the night off, and 1-0 Steinbrenner plays junior varsity foes the next two weeks.

All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

* * *

WHARTON (0-1) at CHAMBERLAIN (0-1)

LAST WEEK: Wharton lost to Spoto 28-0; Chamberlain lost to Durant 17-3.

LAST YEAR: Chamberlain defeated Wharton 42-21 in the region playoffs.

THE SKINNY: Both the Wildcats and Chiefs got off to rough starts last week. Wharton was limited to 130 yards of total offense while late-game miscues doomed Chamberlain.

THE EDGE: One of these perennial playoff teams will start 0-2. Most likely it will be Chamberlain.

* * *

BLAKE (0-1) at SICKLES (1-0)

LAST WEEK: Blake lost to King 28-12; Sickles defeated Gaither 14-8.

LAST YEAR: Sickles defeated Blake 17-14.

THE SKINNY: The Blake defense was overwhelmed by King's spread offense. Sickles pulled off one its bigger wins in years by beating rival Gaither and claiming the Northwest Trophy.

THE EDGE: Can the Gryphons jump out to a 2-0 start? You bet. Sickles wins big.

* * *

FREEDOM (1-0) at KING (1-0)

LAST WEEK: Freedom defeated Riverview 49-19; King defeated Blake 28-12.

LAST YEAR: Did not play.

THE SKINNY: The Patriots offense put together almost 400 yards in its season opener to give new coach James Harrell his first win. Meanwhile, the revamped Lions enter this game off their own big win.

THE EDGE: In Tyler Guy, T.J. Mutherson and Harrell, Freedom has a solid quarterback, playmaker at wide receiver and steadying influence at coach. Another win for the Patriots.

* * *

NEWSOME (0-1) at JEFFERSON (1-0)

LAST WEEK: Newsome lost to Armwood 48-6; Jefferson defeated Hillsborough 16-15.

LAST YEAR: Did not play.

THE SKINNY: Disregard Newsome's opening night loss. Plenty of good teams will get pounded by Armwood this year. Jefferson won't take the Wolves lightly and will remain focused despite coming in over their huge win over Hillsborough.

THE EDGE: Jefferson's offense (led by Williams and wide receiver Andre Davis) is the real deal and will put up enough numbers to top Newsome.

* * *

LENNARD (1-0) at LETO (0-1)

LAST WEEK: Lennard trumped Bloomingdale 19-7; Leto lost to Robinson 27-0.

LAST YEAR: Leto defeated Lennard 46-27.

THE SKINNY: Lennard could be one of the most underrated teams in the county. Or they could have just taken advantage of a depleted Bloomingdale team. Leto, meanwhile, certainly disappointed last week with a poor performance in being shut out against Robinson.

THE EDGE: Unless the Falcons offense gets going with running back Jeremy Deering, Leto will have another long night.

* * *

SPOTO (1-0) at ALONSO (1-0)

LAST WEEK: Spoto whipped Wharton 28-0; Alonso defeated Brandon 39-7.

LAST YEAR: Did not play.

THE SKINNY: Not only was Alonso's offense clicking in its opener, but the Ravens defense was all over Brandon. However, the Ravens lost defensive end Anthony Chickillo with a broken collarbone. He may be out six weeks. Spoto, meanwhile, comes in with an outstanding defense and a capable offense.

THE EDGE: Bennett and his stable of receivers will have a tougher time with the Spartans, but this is the kind of game the Ravens need to win to move to the next level.

Rod Gipson may be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

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