RINGGOLD — The Dan River football team knows that after its Week 1 win over Bartlett Yancey it cannot take its Week 2 opponent, Magna Vista, lightly.
The Wildcats (1-0) ran the ball for 404 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-28 win over the Buccaneers (1-1). Sophomore quarterback Zemar Anderson threw for 80 yards and another score. Dan River coach Ferrell Edmunds was pleased with how the offense got started up front in Week 1.
“We had established a line of scrimmage,” Edmunds said. “We challenged the offensive line to come out and get our skill guys an opportunity to make plays. Our offensive line came out and established the line of scrimmage early. By establishing the line of scrimmage, it gives you the option to do a lot of things — pass the ball, run the ball, get a lot of opportunities.”
A couple Wildcat offensive contributors thought the offense looked sharp in Week 1. Senior wide receiver Terrell Edmunds thought the running game looked strong because of the push up front. He also thought the Dan River defense looked strong for the most part.
“Our run game was great, our line, they blocked great,” Terrell said. “Our defense, we did pretty well overall, we’ve just got to work a little bit on pass defense, but overall, we did pretty well.”
Senior running back Re’Shaun Myers, who led the Wildcats with nine tackles last week from his middle linebacker spot, thought the offense succeeded on many of its plays.
“A whole lot of things opened up,” Myers said. “We used our speed.”
Junior outside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds shared his brother’s view on the defense playing well overall.
“We did the keys that coach told us to do, we executed well,” Tremaine said. “So hopefully, this week, we can go into the game with the same intensity.”
Senior defensive end Kimoni Fitz was pleased to see the Wildcats maintain their intensity throughout their Week 1 win.
“We jumped on them quick, and that was one of our goals through that game, just to put them away fast,” Fitz said.
Dan River will need its focus and intensity on defense in Week 2 facing a Magna Vista team that specializes in a no-huddle, hurry-up offense. Ferrell compared the Warriors (2-0) to George Washington, a neighbor of the Wildcats who they had seen in the preseason.
“They’ve got a lot of kids, and they’re going to be flying around,” Ferrell said. “Last year, the game went right down to the wire. We had a chance to tie it and go into overtime. We basically chose, instead, to keep them from winning, we tried to go for two. We got stopped on the half-yard line. It was our endowment game. In the regular season, we probably would have kicked their butt. I call it preseason, and go for the win.”
Magna Vista beat Dan River 14-13 in last year’s preseason. Tremaine feels that the Wildcats have to play with a chip on their shoulders in order to do well.
“We need to come in the game just like we did last year; we need to come proving to make a point,” Tremaine said. “Our defense needs to come out, we don’t give up too many yards, the offense come out pounding, our offensive linemen come out pushing the defense back and just working the ball up the field.”
Terrell knows it’s important that the pass defense improves for a team like Magna Vista.
“We’ve just got to bring the intensity up on Friday,” Terrell said. “Just come out, play as hard as I know we can.”
Tremaine, Myers and the linebackers have addressed the issue by working on getting to their proper zones this week in practice.
“We’ve been working our zones, we’ve been practicing getting back in our flats, we’ve been practicing manning up,” Tremaine said. “So basically, we should go out there this week, and the stuff that we did at practice, apply it to the game, and I think we’ll be all good.”
Dan River also added to the defensive playbook this week.
“We had to get some more plays on defense to stop Magna Vista and what they do,” Myers said. “We worked really hard this week.”
As for the offense, the Wildcats want more of the same out of the running game as they got in Week 1.
“I know our running backs are going to do great, and I know our line’s going to hold up,” Terrell said. “That builds confidence and intensity for the whole team, and we run off adrenaline.”
Tremaine sees the running game opening things up for Anderson and the receiving corps. this weekend. Anderson is a first-year starter at quarterback after an injury to senior Brian Cook.
“He’s stepped right up,” Ferrell said. “He’s stepped right up, accepted the challenge. It’s definitely fun to see him come to practice, the willingness to learn, staying after practice trying to time the things up…fun to see.”
Ferrell doesn’t see Anderson as one to panic when he faces adversity. Ferrell said the guidance from the upperclassmen has helped his young quarterback adapt.
“We’ve got a lot of senior leadership,” Ferrell said. “Terrell, he’s right there in his ear all the time saying, ‘Don’t worry about that. Do what you do.’ Terrell, Re’Shaun, Tremaine, Kimoni, they’re always constantly in his ear saying, ‘Hey, don’t worry about that. Just do what you do. You’ve got other players. You don’t have to make every play.’”
Dan River and Magna Vista kick off Friday at 7 p.m. in Ridgeway.
Nick Gueguen is a sports reporter for the Register & Bee. Follow Nick on Twitter: @NGueguenGDR