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North Cross Raiders and Virginia Spartans to square off on Friday

This will be a battle of two explosive teams with a lot of talent

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s been a long time coming, but the North Cross Raiders will open the season on Friday against the Virginia Spartans.

“There’s nothing normal and football is just one of them, we’re excited to play, and we have high expectations,” said head coach Stephen Alexander.

The Raiders are notorious for their explosive offense, but quarterback Gabe Zappia said there’s one thing that makes them stand out this year.

“Speed, for sure,” he said. “I say it all the time, it’s definitely our speed. James Jackson, he’s huge, but he will just take off at any point. Same with Michael Mack too, those guys are fast.”

But Spartans assistant coach David Heckman said their experience last week helped prepare them for players like Virginia commit James Jackson.

“We worked a little bit last week on the game we had at Cincinnati, they had a very similar where he could come around the outside. So we’re going to make sure we’re prepared better this week,” said Jackson.

And the Spartans have play makers to get after the ball, “They’ve got some talented guys, big bodies, they’re tough. We’re expecting a good contest,” said Alexander.

“As a defensive coach, I want the ball back so the offense can get moving," Heckman aded. “They have to be very aggressive and go after that ball.”

But one thing is for sure, both teams are ready to play.

“It feels real good. I know we’re one of the only teams in southwest Virginia playing,” said senior Carlton Ward. “I’m glad we’re able to get out here and play like it’s a normal year.”

About the Author:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.