Five questions about the 2018 Ridgeview Wolfpack

The time is drawing nigh, Wolfpack Nation!  It’s the first week in August, and a week from Friday, it will be football time again in Dickenson County!  The Wolfpack will scrimmage the Lebanon Pioneers on Rose Ridge, Friday, August 10.  As we head into the 2018 season, there are five questions that not only citizens of Wolfpack Nation will be anxiously wanting answered, but also the fans throughout the Mountain 7 District schools and  Region 2D.

1.  What game is the most anticipated game on the 2018 Ridgeview Wolfpack schedule?

The season opener on August 24 against Grundy at Nelson Memorial Field is intriguing due to the fact that it is game #1.  Another contest the folks in Dickenson County have circled is the September 7th matchup with Wise Central at home. Wise Central is rivalry week.  No matter the team, the location or who you are, when you defeat your rival, it’s a great week.

However, as much as the aforementioned two games are very much anticipated, the answer to this question is simple. The home contest with Mountain 7 District foe Union on September 14th is a game that many marked on their calendars throughout southwest Virginia heading into the 2018 football season.

The Bears from Big Stone Gap are the launching pad for Mountain 7 supremacy.  If the Pack are going to win the Mountain 7 District in 2018, they have to dethrone the Bears to achieve the goal.

2.  Can the Wolfpack defeat Union?

If anyone can knock off the Bears in the Mountain 7 District, it is Ridgeview.  The Bears have lost many keys to their success, such as Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell, Braxton Zirkle, Dakota Owens, Zack Qualls, Jeb Stidham and Tanner Kennedy.

The Bears are known for their tremendous run defense which limited Ridgeview playmaker Trenton Adkins to 45 yards in last season’s matchup at Bullitt Park.  Adkins has bulked up in the offseason and should have a more power to go along with his speed and athleticism that he quickly became known for in 2017.

Home field advantage will be huge for the Wolfpack in this one. This is a marquee game on the week 4 VHSL slate, so expect an overflow crowd on Rose Ridge.

3.  What is the ceiling in 2018 for Trenton Adkins?

The main story for the Wolfpack in 2017 was making the playoffs with a 9-1 record to prove they belong in the upper echelon of the Mountain 7 district.

The second largest story for the Wolfpack was the emergence of freshman phenom running back Trenton Adkins.  In week 1 of 2017, Adkins was still on the JV team.  In week 2 at Shelby Valley, Kentucky, the Wolfpack had a comfortable 21-7 4th quarter lead.  Enter Adkins.  The rest, as they say is history.  Adkins scored two touchdowns to help Ridgeview seal the deal on a 35-7 victory.  Adkins showed incredible speed and video game-like agility that has impressed region wide.  Adkins finished 2017 with over 1,000 yards in just a little over eight complete games.  Pretty impressive for a freshman campaign.

Over the summer, Adkins has garnered the attention of major Division 1 and Power 5 programs. The sophomore tailback has received offers from Tennessee, North Carolina, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Memphis and Penn State.  Virginia Tech, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida have also shown interest in the youngster.

With one season of varsity experience under his belt, what can Trenton Adkins do in 2018?  Adkins has hit the weight room hard in the offseason and added muscle to his frame.  Can we expect Adkins to surpass 1,500 yards as a sophomore?  With the talented Wolfpack offensive line and the speed of Adkins coupled with the power developed in the offseason, I believe Adkins can get to 1,500 yards in 2018.  Adkins should also be an easy favorite for Mountain 7 District player of the year, if not region 2D.  .

4.  Who will be the starting quarterback for the Wolfpack in 2018?

Noah Mullins did an admirable job as the Ridgeview Wolfpack quarterback over the past 3 seasons.  Mullins took over midway through the inaugural season in 2015 when starter Austin Reynolds was injured.

Back to 2017, Mullins was a tremendous leader and signal caller for Ridgeview and was instrumental in the Pack’s 9-1 record.  Mullins graduated after the 2017 season which leaves uncertainty at quarterback heading into 2018.

The leading candidate in the preseason appears to be McKenzie Sproles, a tremendous runner who would transition from running back to take the snaps. Sophomore Nick Phillips is also in the mix.  This battle may not be decided by the time the Pack take the field at Grundy on August 24.  If Sproles wins the battle, it will be interesting to see what the Pack does on offense with two proven runners in Adkins and Sproles.  The number of scenarios that could sprout from coach Rick Mullins’ playbook would be endless, which leads us to the final question.

5.  Will the Wolfpack utilize the draw as their go to play in 2018?

One of the most entertaining aspects of the Ridgeview Wolfpack on social media is the witty, yet brilliant Tweets from @MickRullins, the parody account of coach Rick Mullins.  If you do not follow this account, I highly recommend that you do. An entertaining aspect of the account is the constant infatuation with the draw play and the various GIFs or memes used to express the affection for the play.

As sarcastic as the account seems to portray the draw, the play actually worked many times during 2017.  Perhaps, the most notable came in a key Mountain 7 District game against Abingdon in October.  On a 3rd and forever play well into the 2nd half in a game where the Falcons seemed to have all of the momentum, it happened.  Noah Mullins dropped back to pass with the Falcons dropping back in coverage. However, Mullins handed off to Trenton Adkins and Adkins pulled off one of his Madden-esque runs we became accustomed to seeing. The freshman went for a touchdown that turned the game on its head and propelled the Wolfpack to a stunning victory at home.  If Sproles does win the QB battle in the preseason, do not be surprised to see the QB draw or the HB draw many times during 2018.

There you have it!  With the 2018 high school football season approaching, those are the questions surrounding the Ridgeview Wolfpack.  We shall see how the answers unfold over the course of the upcoming season.


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