Coach Ledford and I go way back to his days building a baseball power at Westover. One of the first times I met him was when former Westover football coach Bruce McFerren had me and fellow sports writer Bill Kirby Jr. coach the opposing teams in Westover's preseason scrimmage.
Ledford was my assistant coach and talked me into trying a fake punt. Like most of the plays he called over the years, it worked.
Ledford was part of a golden era at South View, winning a state baseball title in 1991 and serving as an assistant coach on the staff of Bobby Poss to win a football title that fall. His football teams made numerous deep playoff runs and he won a pair of Eastern 4-A titles.
He had a great sense of humor, loved his players and his community and left us far too soon.
Thanks for all the memories coach, and welcome to Randy Ledford Field.
Before I begin this week's initial predictions, I want to thank Up & Coming Weekly publisher Bill Bowman for this opportunity. I approached him with the idea of adding the weekly predictions as an online service and he was totally supportive.
As always, I remind everyone that this is done for fun and to spark debate. Please don't take personally anything written here. These words don't determine wins and losses, only the play of teams on the field does that. Feel free to use anything I say as motivation, and have a great season.
One final note, because the focus of Up & Coming Weekly is Cumberland County, I will only predict the outcome of county games. Here we go.
Cape Fear at Clinton - Both teams are dealing with graduation losses and Cape Fear is waiting to take the wraps off quarterback Justice Galloway-Velasquez, who skipped the scrimmage sessions as he continues to recover from an offseason ankle surgery.
I think Cape Fear may rely on defense early and that will be a key against the Dark Horses.
Prediction: Cape Fear 21, Clinton 14.
Fairmont at Douglas Byrd - I think the Eagles get a win under Mike Paroli.
Prediction: Douglas Byrd 28, Fairmont 12.
E.E. Smith at St. Pauls - The Golden Bulls face former head coach Ernest King and look to start Deron Donald's second season with a win.
Prediction: E.E. Smith 26, St. Pauls 12.
Southern Lee at Gray's Creek - The Bears have the makings of a strong defense. Offense figures to need some time to gel.
Prediction: Southern Lee 18, Gray's Creek 14.
Jack Britt at South View - The Tigers get the edge for a couple of reasons. They are playing at home and the Buccaneers are still trying to find themselves under new coach Brian Randolph.
Prediction: South View 27, Jack Britt 19.
Pine Forest at Purnell Swett - I underrated Pine Forest early last season. Even with Julian Hill sidelined, I think they will be competitive.
Prediction: Pine Forest 19, Purnell Swett 12.