Who: Knoxville (0-0) vs Newton (0-0)
Where: Ken Locke Stadium in Knoxville
When: Friday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
This series has been back and forth since 2010 with both teams winning four games a piece. Knoxville won the most recent meeting 41-14 back in 2019.
One key player for Knoxville
Gavin Montalvo needs to set the intensity on both sides of the ball for Knoxville. The junior fullback/linebacker returns with a year of experience under his belt. He brings great physicality on both sides of the ball and will be asked to fill bigger roles this season. Offensively he is going to fight for the hard yards up the middle after leading the team in rushing in 2020. Defensively, he will have to cover more space after finishing with 15.5 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks on the defensive line.
Keys for Knoxville
Both teams are looking to get off to better starts after the two teams combined to win just win game last year. Newton returns a plethora of seniors on both sides that have played a lot of downs while outside of their two backs, the Knoxville offense faces a lot of turnover from last year’s squad and will see a new quarterback under center in sophomore Noah Keefer. Cardinal QB Zayvier Arguello returns along with his top receivers for the Newton offense that had it’s struggles last season. Both sides will be trying to figure things out as they go with new teams and a new season after tough years in 2020. Knoxville has been historically tough against Newton at Ken Locke Stadium. They will look to keep that trend going and start the year on the right foot on Friday.