South vs Martinsville preview

John Kelly, Editor

Martinsville Artesians (1-0) at Bloomington South Panthers (1-0)

When: Friday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m. 

Where: Fred Huff Field

Last meeting: Sectional 28-25 (W)

This Friday night brings to the table a rivalry that dates back to 1970, when South clapped Martinsville 84-0 and sparked a rivalry in not only football, but every sport from varsity to 7th grade. The now 4A Artesians are coming off a dominant win over BNL and will make the trip down to Bloomington. 

Offense: Although the Panther offense got off to a hot start last week, they became stagnant in the second half. Now that junior quarterback Mason David has a varsity start under his belt, a more confident and aggressive passing game should develop as the season progresses. Senior running back Maveric Thiery should see a slight increase in carries, but will likely sit the later portion of the game if South takes a big lead again. Martinsville brings back three very experienced linebackers in senior Jacob Burkett, junior Will Nix, and sophomore Westyn Pemberton, who combined for 305 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries last season. On the other hand, very little experience returns to the Artesian secondary, so look for senior wideout Sean Azcui to receive a large percentage of the target share again. 

Defense: South defensive coordinator Gabriel Johnson can only ask for more of the same out of his defense, as they kept a “bend don’t break” mentality throughout last week’s game against Castle. The front seven did a phenomenal job of causing havoc in the backfield, forcing four fumbles. A new QB-RB duo takes over for Martinsville with junior Tyler Cox seeing most of the carries and senior Xavier Tuntis taking over quarterback duties. Cox tallied 307 yards on 58 attempts last year in a backup role, so he should bring a challenge to South’s defense. The highlight of this offense comes on the outside with senior wide receivers Matt Thomas and Andy Meyers returning for their fourth and third varsity years, respectively. Thomas, who stands at 6 foot 5 inches and 200 pounds, is an ideal go to target for his first year starting quarterback. 

Overview: Although it’s unlikely Martinsville will be the team they were last year, they are still a well-coached group who have a hatred for Bloomington South. Expect another strong performance from South’s defense and a more productive Panther offense throughout the game. Prediction: BHSS- 38 MHS- 14

Keys to the game: 

  1. Make big plays in the passing game
  2. Stop Meyers and Thomas
  3. Avoid unnecessary penalties