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Valley football faces familiar foe to start 2020 season

Football in Chambers County will be back when the Valley Rams welcome in the Beauregard Hornets on Friday night. Friday will also be head coach Adam Hunters’ first game as a head football coach.

“I’m ready to get out on the field and work with the kids,” Hunter said. “The kids are ready to get on the field. They’re excited. They’ve worked all summer to get here, so they’re excited and I’m excited as well.”

The Rams and Hornets have faced off the last four years as regional opponents, splitting the series. Valley has won the last two games, winning 27-0 in 2019 and 41-20 in 2018.

Even though the Rams were able to come out on top pretty handily the last two years, Hunter is focused on what the Hornets are going to look like in 2020.

“We can go back and look at what we did against Beauregard last year, but they were a young team and we’re going to be a young team this year,” Hunter said. “They’re going to do some different things than they did last year and the same with us. It’s kind of up in the air until you get on the field and see what they’re going to give you.”

In both of those matchups, the Rams were able to thrive in the running game, as a Ram running back has surpassed 134 yards in both games.

In 2019, Josh Heath ran the ball just 13 times and accumulated 134 yards and a touchdown. Heath will be the Ram’s main ball carrier in 2020 and is expected to build off the success he saw in 2019.

“You want to be as balanced as much as you can on offense,” Hunter said. “We’re going to be a run team that sets up the pass, play-action and some boot stuff. We want to be able to run the football, that’s most important. If we can run the football, we think we can control the game a little bit.”

The running game is an integral part of the Rams offense, but a big question mark for the Rams in 2020 is how well will their offensive line hold up, as the entire starting five from 2019 are no longer on the team? While the lack of experience is a flaw, Hunter believes his line will be able to hold up because they play hard every step of the way.

“We’re young but our guys really get after it,” Hunter said. “What they make up for in a lack of experience, they make up for with hustle. That’s the main thing, we want them to get after it. We just have to adapt and work on it and get better every week.”

The Rams young offensive line will face Beauregard’s defensive tackle Eston Harris Jr.

Harris is a three-star prospect and is listed as the No. 29 defensive tackle in the 2022 class and the No. 14 player from the state of Alabama.

“He’s going to be really physical,” Hunter said. “He is quick off the ball. He uses his hands really well, so it’s going to be one of those instances where we’ve got to be good and meet his physicality.”

Will Kennedy will be the Rams starter on Friday night. The senior had a rocky start to his junior year, but Hunter said that he has developed and matured from his junior to senior seasons.

“Will’s a different quarterback then he was last year. That year of maturity has really helped him,” Hunter said. “He’s taken the offense, learned it and applied himself as a leader in the huddle and on the field. Your quarterback is the leader of the offense, and that’s what his role is. He’s earned it. It wasn’t just given to him.”

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at the Sportsplex.