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Thursday, August 22, 2013 1A An Advertising supplement to


The Wilson Times 2013 High School Football Preview is your resource for team and conference features, player profiles, schedules, rosters, stats and much more. 2-A Eastern Carolina preview - 3A Greene Central - 4A 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina preview - 5A C.B. Aycock - 6A 3-A Big East preview - 8A 2-A Eastern Plains preview - 9A Southern Nash - 11A North Johnston - 13A SouthWest Edgecombe - 14A

Beddingfield - 15A Senior Kelvin King and the Bruins look to rebound from an injury-plagued 2012 season and contend for top honors in the revamped 2-A Eastern Plains Conference despite having just 32 players on the varsity roster.

Fike - 12A Senior Jeremy Vick and the Golden Demons hope the third year under head coach Tom Nelson is the charm as they attempt to ride a bounty of talented, young players to new heights in the 3-A Big East Conference.

Hundreds of Players Thousands of Fans One Official Resource

Hunt - 10A Senior Dexter Wright and the Warriors will vie for the same success under new head coach Stevie Hinnant. And success at Hunt means winning the 3-A Big East Conference and going deep into the playoffs.

Time for a change

New coaches, new conferences highlight the 2013 season By Paul Durham Sports Editor

High school football in North Carolina is guaranteed a facelift every four years by N.C. High School Athletic Association realignment. The 2013 season, which begins Friday for all eight teams in The Wilson

Times readership area, is the first of four under the new plan approved by the NCHSAA Board of Directors last spring. Now, it’s time for that plan to go into action and with it comes a sense of newness across the state. There are new conferences, new affiliations, new opponents and new rivalries. But for four area teams — Hunt,

Charles B. Aycock, Greene Central and SouthWest Edgecombe — the change is more pronounced as each team has a new head coach. Two — Stevie Hinnant at Hunt and SouthWest’s Jonathan Cobb — come from within their programs while Steve Brooks at Aycock and Allen Wooten at Greene Central are new to their schools. With longtime

head coaches Randy Raper, Randy Pinkowski, Raymond Cobb and Kenneth Grantham either retired or out of the area, the upcoming season seems much different before the first ball is kicked. However, some of the changes might

See CHANGE, Page 2A

Thursday, August 22, 2013 2A

Change: Some things will stay the same smoothly.” The Warriors have won three straight 3-A Big East Conference championships and have gone to the NCHSAA 3-AA Eastern final each of the past three years, losing to eventual state champion Northern Guilford each time. Hunt has put together back-to-back 13-1 campaigns.


put in those notebooks for how I want things done and not seem as great once the Wooten and Brooks are schedules to run fall right grind of the season has beboth new coaches at new into place,” Brooks said. gun. We can still expect to schools in new conference “Obviously not everything’s see Hunt play solid defense and that’s just fine for both falling to script but a lot of and try to run the ball right men. Wooten comes from it has.” down an opponent’s throat Greene Central’s former The Falcons are coming and to be sure SouthWest EPC rival North Pitt, where off 6-6 mark in which they will line up in the wishbone he served as defensive cofinished 2-3 and in fourth offense. At Greene Central ordinator for eight of his place in the old 3-A Eastern and Aycock, the changes nine years there. He is enCarolina Conference. Aymight be more up front couraging his players to not cock won its playoff opener LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON but coaches Wooten and only embrace change but to before bowing out in the At SouthWest, Jonathan Brooks will have the same push for it after a 1-9 season second round in what was Cobb has had similar conchallenges, at times, each in 2012, including a winless Pinkowski’s final game sistency on his staff. Longof their predecessors have EPC stretch. in 14 years as CBA head time defensive coordinator faced. “Our motto this year is the coach. Tommy Tolson left to join Ram Revolution,” Wooten Now Aycock finds itself in THE RIGHT MAN Raper’s staff at Northern said. “Historically a revolu- the 3-A/4-A Eastern CaroAt Hunt, Hinnant was the Nash but the younger Cobb tion has occurred because lina with Wayne County right man to replace Raper will have Jeff Gould at that people wanted to change rivals Southern Wayne and and his 202 career wins. spot. He will also have an and you’ve got to ante up Eastern Wayne as the 3-A Hinnant graduated from invaluable resource in his and kick in and put everyECC holdovers joined by Hunt in 1984 and was a key father present in the press thing in the pot.” 4-A mates Greenville Rose, member of the Warriors’ box each Friday night, proThe Rams have moved, South Central, D.H. Conley 4-A Eastern finalist team viding wisdom — if needed. with former EPC rival and New Bern, the defendin 1983. He has only been Both Cobbs are quick to Kinston, to the new sixing state 4-A champion. away from Hunt football for point out that these Cougars team 2-A Eastern Carolina CONFERENCE SHAKE-UP a few years while he was are Jonathan’s team but the Conference that also inAll the coaches and teams getting his bachelor’s deson is sharp enough to real- cludes North Lenoir, South in the area and around the gree from Atlantic Christian ize who he can turn to if an Lenoir (coached by former state will have to deal with (now Barton) College. opinion is requested. Rams head coach Kenneth the change wrought by reWhile Hinnant bleeds “It’s a unique situation Grantham), Ayden-Grifton alignment. Even members Warrior blue, more imfirst of all that I have being and Goldsboro. of the 3-A Big East Conferportantly, his chances for a new head coach, but a lot Brooks, an assistant for ence, which kept intact its success are based on the of it is business as usual,” 16 of his previous years in membership of Hunt, Fike, return of nearly the entire Jonathan Cobb said. “Very coaching and the last eight Southern Nash, Rocky coaching staff. Now assisunique, it’s almost a hybrid at Ayden-Grifton, said his tant head coach Keith Bymodel.” transition has been smooth- Mount, Nash Central and rum, defensive coordinator While the new Cougars er because his players were Northern Nash, have to Andrew Farriss, offensive coach has shifted the dereceptive to it well before he deal with different non-conference schedules caused line coach Richie Pridgen, fense from a 4-4 base to a was finally announced as Tommy Barnes, Paul Wil4-3 set to deal with opposGolden Falcons head coach by the shift. “That’s been the biggest loughby are back and have ing spread offenses in the in June. obstacle for me,” said Hinbeen joined by former Hunt 2-A Eastern Plains Confer“Before they even knew nant, referring to putting toand University of North ence, Jonathan Cobb asme, they had their minds gether his non-conference Carolina star Octavus sured the offense won’t be made up this spring that slate. The Warriors have Barnes. any different in formation whoever the head coach a daunting early season “It’s been a really smooth or philosophy. is they were going to work with games at Currituck change with the coaching “I’ve learned a lot from hard,” Brooks said. County and Elizabeth City staff still intact has helped my father and so that’s Brooks, who was on the Northeastern as part of five and the things the kids are what we’re still going to try staffs of Richlands High straight away contests. trying to do, they’re used to do: Run the football,” he and East Carolina UniverBrian Foster, now the seto,” Hinnant said. “It’s gone said. sity, made good use of those nior head coach in the Big just exactly like very August The Cougars tied for sec- 16 years as an assistant by East with 15 years under has gone. I really wasn’t ond in the Eastern Plains compiling notebooks full his belt at Southern Nash, is expecting it be any other in 2012, going 4-2 and 7-5 of information for the day fairly unaffected by realignway because truthfully I’ve overall with their secondhe finally followed in his got one of the best coaching round 2-AA playoff loss to father’s footsteps as a head ment. “Some people get in situastaffs anyone can have and Bunn turning into a forfeit coach. tions that are tough on them that’s been why it’s gone so win over the offseason. “A lot of the things I’ve but for us, it’s pretty much perfect, as far as travel, rivalries, gates,” Foster said of the close-knit Big East. “It helps everything the way our conference is.” Tom Nelson, entering his third year at Fike, also has few new situations with which to contend. “We started early trying to fill out our schedule and it worked out pretty good for us,” he said. The Demons, 2-8 overall and 2-3 in the Big East in 2012, have Kinston and Smithfield-Selma new to their schedule this year. Nelson, a former Hunt player and assistant coach, downplayed the two significant coaching changes within the Big East. “We still have to line up and play against their teams so it’ll be two formidable tests,” he said of Hinnant’s Warriors and Raper’s Knights. In the Eastern Plains, North Johnston, formerly of the 2-A Northern Carolina Conference, and Washington, an erstwhile 3-A Coastal Conference program, have replaced Greene Central, Kinston and Tarboro. The switch from seven teams to six will mean a later start to the conference portion of the schedules. North Johnston will have a steeper learning curve, having cut its 2-A teeth in the Northern Carolina for the past four years after many years in the 1-A Carolina Conference. But third-year Panthers head coach Scott Meserve is going headfirst into the ultracompetitive EPC, even with Tarboro, the state 2-A champion three of the last four years, now in the 1-A Two Rivers Conference. “I’m ready for change. I don’t do well with change but I’m excited for it,” Meserve said in his New England drawl. “All my kids know that. I don’t do well with change. But it’s an opportunity to play new teams … They’re all big 2-A and we’re small 2-A, one of the

continued from page 1A

2012 FINAL STANDINGS 3-A Big East Team Hunt Southern Nash Rocky Mount Fike Nash Central Northern Nash

Conf. All PS PA 5-0 13-1 445 200 4-1 9-3 332 253 3-2 8-3 255 216 2-3 2-8 242 320 1-4 3-7 189 227 2-8 0-5 200 332

2-A Eastern Plains Team Conf. All PS PA Tarboro 6-0 14-2 631 270 North Pitt 4-2 8-5 416 293 SW Edgecombe 4-2 6-6 360 312 Kinston 3-3 7-5 388 337 Beddingfield 2-4 4-7 243 342 Farmville Central 2-4 2-8 150 353 Greene Central 0-6 1-9 178 387

3-A Eastern Carolina Team Conf. All PS PA Triton 6-0 10-1 355 213 Cleveland 5-1 12-2 622 257 South Johnston 4-2 8-4 326 291 C.B. Aycock 3-3 6-6 259 257 Eastern Wayne 2-4 4-7 217 343 North Lenoir 1-5 2-8 183 288 Southern Wayne 0-6 1-9 148 315

2-A Northern Carolina Team Conf. All PS PA Bunn 7-0 10-3 443 178 Franklinton 6-1 9-3 375 216 Corinth Holders 5-2 5-7 334 403 Louisburg 4-3 5-6 300 267 Roanoke Rapids 2-5 4-7 298 280 Warren County 2-5 4-7 233 353 North Johnston 2-5 3-8 179 472 NW Halifax 0-7 0-10 85 445

2012 WEEKLY RESULTS BEDDINGFIELD (4-7, 2-4 EPC) Opponent Result PF PA Northern Nash W 27 20 Southern Nash L 13 40 Fike W-OT 49 48 @ Hunt L 13 41 @ Greene Central W 48 20 Kinston W 31 12 SW Edgecombe L 13 32 @ Farmville Central L 17 22 @ North Pitt L 19 20 Tarboro L 0 34 @ Tarboro L 13 53 TOTAL 243 342 PER GAME 22.1 28.5 C.B. AYCOCK (6-6, 3-3 ECC) Opponent Result PF PA @ Rosewood W 26 0 @ Hunt L 6 40 Greene Central W 36 7 Goldsboro L 7 14 @ Triton L 14 29 North Lenoir W-OT 28 26 South Johnston L-OT 30 37 Cleveland L 6 28 @ Eastern Wayne W 38 12 @ Southern Wayne W 26 0 @ Burlington Williams W 36 22 @ Eastern Alamance L 6 42 TOTAL 259 257 PER GAME 21.6 21.4 FIKE (2-8, 2-3 Big East) Opponent Result PF PA D.H. Conley L 27 54 Bunn L 20 13 @ Beddingfield L-3OT 48 49 Jacksonville Northside L 21 34 Hunt L 21 46 @ Southern Nash L 28 35 Nash Central W 14 12 @ Rocky Mount L 14 28 Northern Nash W 42 21 @ Hunt L 7 28 TOTAL 242 320 PER GAME 24.2 32.0 HUNT (13-1, 5-0 Big East) Opponent Result PF PA @ Eastern Wayne W 44 12 C.B. Aycock W 40 6 @ SW Edgecombe W 28 14 Beddingfield W 41 13 @ Fike W 46 21 Northern Nash W 40 0 Rocky Mount W 28 7 @ Southern Nash W 30 21 @ Nash Central W 34 0 Fike W 28 7 Southern Nash W 28 7 @ Cardinal Gibbons W 25 20 Cleveland W 33 28 @ Northern Guilford L 0 44 TOTAL 445 200 PER GAME 31.8 14.3

smallest 2-A schools in the state. So that’ll get us ready to play in the playoffs for small 2-A.” North Johnston should be better than the squad that finished 3-8 and seventh in the eight-team Northern Carolina last fall. But the Panthers will be severely tested by their new conference mates, none of which are familiar. “We’ve never played any of these guys since I’ve been at North Johnston the past eight years,” Meserve observed. Beddingfield doesn’t have many changes as it looks to rebound from a 4-7 season that saw the Bruins drop their last five, including a first-round 2-A playoff game at Tarboro. While head coach Tyrone Johnson and staff will head into the season with just 32 varsity players, the Bruins are well-versed in running the spread offense that Johnson’s had in place for nearly all of his 18 years as head coach over two stints, the second one beginning in 2006. “People start telling me that everybody’s doing that now but you were doing this when nobody else was doing it,” Johnson said. And he’s right as the spread set is now being favored by offenses throughout the collegiate ranks as well as the NFL.

GREENE CENTRAL (1-9, 0-6 EPC) Opponent Result PF PA North Lenoir W 21 19 Ayden-Grifton L 18 37 @ C.B. Aycock L 7 36 @ Eastern Wayne L 14 42 Beddingfield L 20 48 @ North Pitt L 20 42 Tarboro L 16 48 Kinston L 32 36 @ SW Edgecombe L 6 52 @ Farmville Central L 24 27 TOTAL 178 387 PER GAME 17.8 38.7 NORTH JOHNSTON (3-8, 2-5 NCC) Opponent Result PF PA @ Cleveland L 3 48 Wake Forest Heritage L 7 49 East Bladen L 31 61 @ Princeton W 28 21 @ Bunn L 0 69 @ Warren County L 20 52 Roanoke Rapids W 47 22 NW Halifax W 22 8 @ Louisburg L 0 50 Franklinton L 7 44 @ Corinth Holders L 14 48 TOTAL 179 472 PER GAME 16.3 42.9 SOUTHERN NASH (8-3, 4-1 Big East) Opponent Result PF PA @ SW Edgecombe W 28 24 @ Beddingfield W 40 13 @ Bunn W 37 14 Roanoke Rapids W 42 14 South Granville L 13 23 Fike W 35 28 @ Northern Nash W 35 14 Hunt L 21 30 Rocky Mount W 36 29 @ Nash Central W 38 36 @ Hunt L 7 28 TOTAL 332 253 PER GAME 30.2 23.0 SW EDGECOMBE (6-6, 4-2 EPC) Opponent Result PF PA Southern Nash L 24 28 @ North Edgecombe W 30 14 Hunt L 14 28 Rocky Mount L 24 33 @ Kinston W 56 49 Farmville Central W 38 14 @ Beddingfield W 32 13 North Pitt L 24 27 @ Tarboro L 22 43 Greene Central W 52 6 @ East Duplin W 30 26 @ Bunn L 14 31* * Later changed to forfeit win. TOTAL 360 312 PER GAME 30.0 26.0

Aycock’s mission in the split Eastern Carolina is not to beat every league foe, just beat the right ones, namely Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne. A sweep of its 3-A foes would give CBA the ECC’s top seed for the 3-A playoffs. “You’re going to play them all and you want to win them all, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to win the 3-A and get one of the playoff spots,” Brooks said. The other change coming in 2013 is the return to the 11-game schedule. Only North Johnston played 11 regular-season games in 2012, when the NCHSAA allotted just 11 weeks to play the season. Now teams can play 11 and have the benefit of an off week, a situation that prevailed up until 2010. “I don’t mind playing the 10 but if everybody else is playing 11, you need to play 11 so you won’t be behind come the playoffs,” Hinnant reasoned. And the playoffs will come in what will seem like no time at all as the days get shorter and cooler, summer fades and the season grind comes and goes all too quickly. It’s all new now though, and it’s time for some football. | 265-7808

Thursday, August 22, 2013 3A

Same voice, new place for Friday night airwaves Britt to call games on WZAX 99.3-FM From staff reports

A familiar voice to Wilson County high school football fans will once again bring the hard-hitting action of Friday nights to area radio dials, but this year, it will be on a new FM station. Veteran broadcaster Alton Britt, “The Voice of Wilson Sports” begins his first season as the exclusive play-byplay voice of Wilson County high school football on WZAX 99.3-FM of Rocky Mount. He will tentatively be joined by a guest analyst each week. Entering his 38th consecutive season of calling Wilson sports events on the radio in 2013, Britt will open his tenure with Jammin’ 99 on Aug. 23, when Fike travels to face the Bunn Wildcats. Eleven games comprise the regular-season schedule, with postseason coverage assured as long as a Wilson team remains alive in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. On Thursday, Aug. 29, Beddingfield faces Southern Nash inside Firebirds Stadium. However, with Jammin’ 99 contractually obligated to air the Carolina Panthers’ final NFL preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on

DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 30 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

GAME Fike at Bunn Beddingfield at So. Nash* Wilmington New Hanover at Hunt Beddingfield at Fike Hunt at Currituck County Hunt at Beddingfield Southern Nash at Fike Hunt at Rocky Mount Beddingfield at Washington Fike at Northern Nash Hunt at Fike

*Game will be played Aug. 29, but aired the next night due to WZAX programming commitments Pregame show begins at 7 p.m. and kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. this date, the BeddingfieldSouthern Nash broadcast will be taped Thursday for playback the following evening on 99.3. During the final three weeks of the regular season, the broadcast schedule may change to accommodate relevant playoff or conference championship races, as well as listener appeal. The pregame show gets underway at 7 p.m., with kickoff of all contests slated for 7:30. Broadcasts may also be heard via the Internet at

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

returning area offensive leaders


Nixon (Minimum 40 rushes)

G 11 11 12 12 11 12 10 11 12 10

Att. 149 78 86 68 66 62 56 95 47 60

Yds. 825 519 518 416 353 357 283 293 275 225

TDs 7 6 7 3 4 2 1 7 4 3

Avg. 75.0 47.2 43.2 34.7 32.1 29.8 28.3 26.6 22.9 22.5


(Minimum 30 attempts)

Name, school Javius Nixon, BED Deon Lavender, SN Tyquavious Wooten, SWE Austin Batchelor, GC

G 11 11 12 10

A-C-I Yds. TDs Rating 172-100-13 1,598 7 111.87 90-43-2 727 11 105.88 86-32-3 625 6 88.42 262-125-16 1,620 8 81.74


(Minimum 10 receptions)

Name, school Kentrell Brown, HUNT Daryn Parker, GC Shikwon Suggs, GC Richard Hall, SN Alex Gilbert, GC

G 14 10 10 11 10

Rec. 24 17 22 15 11

Yds. 491 282 271 187 157

TDs 7 2 1 4 1

Familiarity abounds in start-up 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference Ayden-Grifton edges Kinston, Goldsboro for No. 1 in coaches poll By Jimmy Lewis Staff Writer

KINSTON — The latest round of N.C. High School Athletic Association realignment has given birth to the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference, but don’t expect a lengthy acclimation period on the part of the league’s six head varsity football coaches. Whether through membership in previous conferences or non-conference clashes, Greene Central, Ayden-Grifton, Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir and Goldsboro should not have many surprises for its conference brethren over the next four years. “Being at North Pitt, and I think I just looked at it, every single one of these teams has been in the Eastern Plains at some point as I was a defensive coordinator there for the last eight years,” first-year Greene Central head coach Allen Wooten marveled at the preseason coaches meeting at King’s Restaurant in Kinston. “So there’s a lot of familiarity. Coach (Ayden-Grifton head coach Paul) Cornwell was my high school offensive line coach, so it’s a very comfortable, closeknit group of coaches and we all get along.” The story lines in this new league are plentiful. How will preseason favorite Ayden-Grifton, a former 1-A power, handle its return to the 2-A ranks after a 13-year absence? Will Greene Central’s Wooten, in his first head coaching stop, be able to turn around the direction

coaches poll KINSTON ­— Results of the 2013 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference preseason football coaches poll. Five points for first place, four points for second place, etc. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches could not vote for their own team. 1. Ayden-Grifton (3) T2. Goldsboro (2) T2. Kinston (1) 4. Greene Central 5. North Lenoir 6. South Lenoir

23 20 20 12 9 6

of a Rams program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007? Then there’s Kenneth Grantham, the former Rams coach who was relieved of his duties following a 1-9 ledger last season. He has since surfaced at South Lenoir, another program that has been starving for consistent success. One of the infant league’s most interesting matchups will come on Nov. 1, when Greene Central travels to Deep Run.

PRESEASON POLL Parity ruled the day in the top three. With coaches not allowed to vote for their own team, the ECC’s coaches narrowly tabbed Ayden-Grifton as the preseason favorite with three first-place votes and 23 points. Kinston and Goldsboro (20 points each) were tied for second, with the Vikings garnering two first-place



Name, school Kelvin King, BED Taylor Finch, SN Neil Clark, CBA Devontrell Hyman, SWE Sebastian O’Neal, SN Devante Williams, SWE Ronshon Bullock, GC Javius Nixon, BED Barry Smith, SWE Anthony Evans, FIKE

Jimmy Lewis | Times


Veteran Wilson sportscaster Alton Britt, calling a Hunt-Nash Central last season, will move to WZAX 99.3-FM this season.


Varsity football coaches from the new 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference, from left, Paul Cornwell of Ayden-Grifton, Eric Reid of Goldsboro, Allen Wooten of Greene Central, Ryan Gieselman of Kinston, Calvin Sutton of North Lenoir and Kenneth Grantham of South Lenoir after their coaches meeting in Kinston on Aug. 7. Wooten, Gieselman and Grantham are in the first year with their teams.

Avg. 35.1 28.2 27.1 17.0 15.7

FRIDAY, AUG. 23 Ayden-Grifton @ Riverside Martin; Goldsboro @ Franklinton; Greene Central @ Beddingfield; Kinston @ Jones Senior; North Lenoir @ Eastern Wayne; South Lenoir @ Harrells Christian FRIDAY, AUG. 30 D.H. Conley @ Ayden-Grifton; Goldsboro @ Eastern Wayne; C.B. Aycock @ Greene Central; Nash Central @ Kinston; North Lenoir @ Farmville Central; Southwest Onslow @ South Lenoir FRIDAY, SEPT. 6 North Pitt @ Ayden-Grifton; Southern Wayne @ Goldsboro; Greene Central @ SW Edgecombe; Kinston @ Fike; North Lenoir @ C.B. Aycock; South Lenoir @ North Duplin FRIDAY, SEPT. 13 Ayden-Grifton @ Farmville Central; C.B. Aycock @ Goldsboro; Eastern Wayne @ Greene Central; Havelock @ Kinston; North Lenoir @ Southern Wayne; Richlands @ South Lenoir FRIDAY, SEPT. 20 Ayden-Grifton @ Pamlico; Farmville Central @ Greene Central; Kinston @ Greenville Rose; East Duplin @ North Lenoir; South Lenoir @ Rosewood; OPEN

— Goldsboro FRIDAY, SEPT. 27 Ayden-Grifton @ Southern Nash; Jacksonville Northside @ Goldsboro; North Pitt @ Greene Central; North Johnston @ North Lenoir; South Lenoir @ East Duplin; OPEN ­— Kinston FRIDAY, OCT. 4 Goldsboro @ Scotland County; Washington @ Kinston; OPEN ­— Ayden-Grifton, Greene Central, North Lenoir, South Lenoir FRIDAY, OCT. 11 Greene Central @ Ayden-Grifton; South Lenoir @ Goldsboro; Kinston @ North Lenoir FRIDAY, OCT. 18 Ayden-Grifton @ South Lenoir; Goldsboro @ Kinston; North Lenoir @ Greene Central FRIDAY, OCT. 25 Ayden-Grifton @ Goldsboro; Greene Central @ Kinston; South Lenoir @ North Lenoir FRIDAY, NOV. 1 Kinston @ Ayden-Grifton; Goldsboro @ North Lenoir; Greene Central @ South Lenoir FRIDAY, NOV. 8 North Lenoir @ Ayden-Grifton; Goldsboro @ Greene Central; Kinston @ South Lenoir

nods. Goldsboro received one vote for the top spot, with Greene Central (12), North Lenoir (9) and South Lenoir (6) rounding out the poll. Ayden-Grifton captured four 1-A Carolina Conference titles from 20012012 and advanced to the NCHSAA 1-AA title game in 2011, falling to Swain County. “The advantage I think that maybe we’ve had is that we’ve really focused on ourselves and not really worried about who we were playing,” Cornwell said. “It’s about us trying to get better every week and trying to use the non-conference schedule to get us ready to play conference games and hope that we’re peaking at the right time of the year.” Kinston, under the direction of first-year head coach Ryan Gieselman, was 7-5 last year after a four-year string of 10 wins or better from 20082011. The Viking enter the ECC needing to replace 19 seniors. “You’re picked second, and that’s a pretty bold prediction,” Gieselman assessed of his squad. “But it’s going to be all about how you finish. We’ll see how the season plays out.” Goldsboro, which joins Ayden-Grifton as 1-A newcomers from the Carolina Conference, finished 10-2 last year en route to the conference title and has amassed double-digit wins in four of the last five seasons. With a clear dividing line between the top half and bottom half of the ECC, fourth-place Greene Central — owner of a nine-game losing streak — will need a quick start in 2013.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to turn it around,” Wooten said. “We’ve got to learn how to win. We need success early, whether its individual success running plays, getting stops and then actually translating into winning ballgames.” Fifth-place North Lenoir, headed by alumnus Calvin Sutton in his fifth season, will try to trend upward after a 6-37 mark in four seasons that includes a 1-31 record in conference skirmishes over the past six years. At South Lenoir, Grantham arrives at the helm of the Blue Devils happy to have the opportunity to prowl the sidelines again in Deep Run. He was prepared to remain in a teaching position in Greene County before South Lenoir swooped in and offered him its vacant position. “Things happened so quickly there at the end of the season,” Grantham reflected. “I’m just thankful to God that I got an opportunity to work at a good school with the principal and AD (athletic director) where I’m at now. I don’t think I could have landed in a better place.” So does Grantham have the first night of November circled on his calendar? If so, he’s not hedging. “For me personally, I don’t think it will be that big a deal,” he said. “Me and Allen have talked a lot during the spring and the summer. I don’t have anything against him or the kids there at Greene Central. For me personally, it’s just going to be another ballgame.” | 265-7807 | Twitter: @JimmyLewisWT

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 4A

Veteran Rams look for turnaround in new settings Wooten takes over at Greene Central as it moves to the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference By Jimmy Lewis Staff Writer

SNOW HILL — The 2013 edition of the Greene Central High varsity football team hardly registers as a young outfit with 25 seniors making up the 37-player roster.


QUICK FACTS Mascot: Rams Colors: Royal blue and red Conference: 2-A Eastern Carolina Head coach: Allen Wooten (1st season) 2012 record: 1-9 overall, 0-6 2-A Eastern Plains (7th) Top returning passer: Austin Batchelor (262-125-16, 1,620 yds., 8 TDs) Top returning rusher: Ronshon Bullock (283 yds., 1 TD) Top returning receiver: Daryn Parker (17 rec., 282 yds., 2 TDs) However, the Rams, entering their first season under the direction of head coach Allen Wooten, are certainly young when the business of winning football games is considered. Greene Central carries a nine-game losing streak into 2013 after posting a 1-9 mark last season, a figure that helped contribute to the ouster of former head man Kenneth Grantham, now at 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference rival South Lenoir. Thus, a healthy senior class has arrived at its final opportunity to post the Rams’ first wining record since 2007. “They don’t have the next year to get better,” Wooten said of his senior group. “They don’t have the natural progression of dealing with a new coach and working the program out and letting it get stronger. They have to want it now for themselves.”

MULTIPLE ON OFFENSE With the triple-option approach no longer in town, the Rams revamped offense will once again fall under the controls of senior quarterback Austin Batchelor. Entering his second full season as the starter, Batchelor returns as the leading passer in The Wilson Times readership area with 1,620 yards through the air and eight TDs. However, contained within those figures were 16 interceptions, largely compiled in situations where the run-first Rams were forced into throwing the football against expectant defenses. “That comes with the feast or famine and the situation in which you throw the football,” Wooten reviewed. “If you’re in a down-anddistance situation where its 80-percent odds you’re going to throw the football, obviously the defense is a little more prepared. We want to be a little more balanced this year.” Included in that desired balance is a decree to throw the football more on first down and other situations that lean towards the run. Batchelor will be given more — not less — leeway to change up protection schemes at the line of scrimmage and deliver the football to receivers on short to intermediate routes designed to take what high school defensive coordinators will cede. In the backfield, the bulk of the carries have been split between seniors Ronshon Bullock and Jamar Jones. Both are returnees, with Bullock presenting as the Rams’ leading returning rusher with 283 yards and

Austin Batchelor Senior • QB 6-foot-2, 160 pounds Enters second season as the full-time starter at quarterback for the Rams. Returns as the leading passer in The Wilson Times readership area with 1,620 yards and eight TDs. Now out of the triple-option offense and into a system with multiple formations, Batchelor will be expected to keep opposing defenses off balance by hitting receivers on short to intermediate routes.

said of his senior duo. At wide receiver, additional responsibilities will be placed on the Greene Central fleet in the passing game. While receivers may not have to memorize as many plays in the Rams’ offense, they will be called upon to read the opposing coverage and make adjustments to their routes based on what the defense is showing. Led by a quartet of seniors in Michael Mitchell, Brandon Belcher, Antwayn Lewis and Daryn Parker, the Greene Central wideouts can expect to be used as extensions of the running game via jet sweeps, as well as senior Shikwon Suggs and his 22 catches from a year ago. Senior Alex Gilbert, a sound student, continues to be integrated into the offense. Mitchell and his 6-1 frame will reside on the outside, while Belcher and Lewis plan to line up on the inside slots and create after the catch, to include bubble screens. One of the biggest transitons from the triple option has taken place on the offensive line, but a bevy of returning experience has eased the process. Four seniors will patrol the Greene Central offensive front, including Travon Williams (left tackle), Eric Barfield (left guard), Davis Wilson (center) and Alton Perry at right guard. Junior Laettner Fulford will man the right tackle spot. Williams, hailed by Wooten as one of the program’s hardest workers, has slimmed down to the 300-pound range.

Senior linebacker Shyheem Carmon, right, of Greene Central wraps up an Ayden-Grifton receiver during a multi-team scrimmage Aug. 16 at Southern Wayne in Dudley.

Scott Jones | Special to the Times

have weaknesses,” Wooten said of the defensive line. “If they put it together, they are going to be a good group.” “We’re giving him a lot of responsibilHowever, Wooten cites ity. He’s got some reads himself he can the Rams’ linebackers and make at the line of scrimmage, and secondary as the key to the based on the read of what route he defense. Senior Shyeem thinks is going to be the best receiver, he Carmon, described as a can change up the protection schemes “physical kid,” will own one himself. He’s calling that at the line, and of the linebacker spots. Furhe’s going to make some mistakes early.” ther physicality will come — Allen Wooten from Bullock and senior Thomas Radford. Radford was described as the “heart and soul” of the Greene Central defense in the middle. Senior Curtez Braswell, when not handling the kick return duties, will man the “jack” linebacker posiTO BLITZ OR NOT TO BLITZ tion, giving the Rams an allsenior linebacker corps. DATE OPPONENT As a former defensive “He just brings so much Aug. 23 @ Beddingfield coordinator at North Pitt, to the table, either in covAug. 30 C.B. Aycock Wooten has sent extra pres- erage or getting to the Sept. 6 @ SW Edgecombe sure as little as 10 percent quarterback,” Wooten said Sept. 13 Eastern Wayne of the time or as much as 60 of Braswell. “Those four Sept. 20 Farmville Central percent depending on his being seniors, at the four Sept. 27 North Pitt personnel. With new Rams linebacker spots where you Oct. 4 OPEN defensive boss Gary Horton want the plays happening, Oct. 11 @ Ayden-Grifton* running the show, Greene it’s going to be really excitOct. 18 North Lenoir* Central’s blitz frequency ing for us. Oct. 25 @ Kinston* will vary depending on the In the secondary, junior Nov. 1 @ South Lenoir* week’s opponent. The early Ronnie Battle and Mitchell Nov. 8 Goldsboro* plan is not to play linemen are penciled in at weak on both sides of the ball as and strong cornerback, * 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference Wooten and Horton plan respectively. Senior Bailey game to install a 3-4 scheme with Ormond is the free safety, certain variances. while the “Ram” or strong Up front, the defensive safety will alternate beline will see a rotation of tween Belcher and Lewis. junior Jurman Leveston, one TD. Bullock and his Junior Alex Firme will junior Syquan Williams, 6-foot, 205-pound frame handle the kicking and field senior Kevin Ormond and will be the power aspect to goal duties. Belcher will senior Javan Rozelle. At the Rams running game, be the punter and will be times, Williams will join the called upon to flip field powhile Jones, at 5-5 and 170 fray in the effort to compounds, will be the shifty sition and avoid short fields mand double teams and al- for the defense, an area threat. low Greene Central’s back “We have some people that plagued Greene Cenbehind them, but I would ex- eight to flow to the football. tral in 2012. Braswell gives “All of them have pect them to get most of our Greene Central a home-run strengths and all of them carries this year,” Wooten threat on kick returns.



2013 ROSTER No. 3 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 20 21 23 24 25 28 30 31 32 33 34 42 44 50 52 53 60 63 64 65 70 72 73 74 75 78 80 83 84

Player Alex Firme Antwayn Lewis Shikwon Suggs Brandon Belcher Bobby Evans Daryn Parker Michael Mitchell Austin Batchelor Hunter Murphy Shyheem Carmon Ronshon Bullock Bailey Ormond Ronnie Battle Quamel Roberson Kendrick Wooten Curtez Braswell Jamar Jones Bryce Norman Javan Rozelle James Head Thomas Radford Lemarcus Brown Erick Barfield Syquan Williams D.J. Moye Alton Perry Jurman Leveston Davis Wilson Marquise Spencer Laettner Fulford Casey Mooring Travon Williams Harris Jarmin TJ Edwards Kevin Ormond Tremon Armstrong Alex Gilbert


The results of the ECC preseason coaches poll show a clear delineation between the top three and bottom three teams in the league. Ayden-Grifton, Kinston and Goldsboro are the top three, with Greene Central, North Lenoir and South Lenoir comprising the latter trio. With the Rams slotted fourth, they are in the best position to make a move

Ht. 5-6 5-7 5-9 6-0 5-7 5-7 6-1 6-2 5-8 6-0 6-0 5-9 5-7 5-6 5-11 6-0 5-5 5-8 6-2 6-2 6-2 5-10 5-7 5-7 5-7 5-9 6-0 5-9 5-8 6-2 5-9 6-2 6-0 5-9 6-2 6-2 5-9

Wt. 145 145 145 170 150 165 180 160 160 195 205 155 160 145 170 175 170 170 225 175 195 175 180 185 165 190 185 255 220 220 235 300 185 185 220 160 150

into the league’s top tier. “I think people probably group our conference into those two groupings,” Wooten assessed. “But I think the goal this year for our kids is let’s try to get moved up into the top group. Let’s try to not settle for being in the bottom group and not go back to the status quo.” | 265-7807 | Twitter: @JimmyLewisWT

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Senior Ronshon Bullock (23), taking a handoff from quarterback Austin Batchelor in the Aug. 16 scrimmage at Southern Wayne, is Greene Central’s top returning rusher with 283 yards in 2012. Scott Jones | Special to the Times


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Thursday, August 22, 2013 5A

New Bern overwhelming No. 1 in the split ECC All four 4-A teams picked ahead of 3-A Wayne Co. trio By Randy Jones Staff Writer

Interesting plot lines are abundant in the new split 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. Will New Bern dominate like it did in 2012? A season that saw the Bears go 15-0, rack up 635 points and eventually claim the state 4-A title with a 39-38 win over Porter Ridge. Is D.H. Conley for real? The Vikings climbed into the conversation with two straight solid seasons, and would have finished with 10 wins last year if not for two forfeits due to running back Maleek Gorham being ineligible. How will the Vikings and South Central fare in the jump from 3-A to 4-A? They join former 4-A powerhouse, and fellow Pitt County school J.H. Rose in the upper division of N.C. High School Athletic Association football. And lastly, will the Wayne County 3-A trio of Southern Wayne, Eastern Wayne and C.B. Aycock be afterthoughts, or surprises in the league’s new frontier?

coaches poll GREENVILLE ­­— Results of the 2013 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference preseason football coaches poll. Six points for first place, five points for second place, etc. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches could not vote for their own team. 1. New Bern (6) 2. J.H. Rose (1) 3. D.H. Conley 4. South Central 5. Eastern Wayne T6. C.B. Aycock T6. Southern Wayne

36 28 26 21 16 10 10

New Bern comes into the new league as the obvious favorite, getting first-place votes from all six other coaches in the preseason poll. “New Bern is the best team in the state,” Conley coach Brian Paschal said matter-of-factly. New Bern head coach Bobby Curlings works with his defending state 4-A champion Bears during their first However, New Bern graduated scrimmage. New Bern Sun Journal 34 seniors. “There are a lot of new faces just trying to get used to it,” New Bern coach Bobby Curlings said. “We tell them they can’t live on the past, you’ve got to go out there and earn it.” New Bern will only have one starter back on offense and six Top dog on defense. Running back Cody in the summer but was ruled ineli- Brooks said. “We just have to win the SEC East!” Purdie and quarterback/defensive gible for living outside the team’s Added Eastern Wayne coach back Mike Hughes are vital cogs. boundary. He will be eligible to Bubba Williams: “The league is come back on Oct. 2. No love lost what it is. Us, Aycock and SouthRunning back Myles Taylor, In the past, J.H. Rose has domiern will be playing for that 3-A No. quarterback Bam Staton and nated its two local rivals. South 1 seed. But even if you beat them, linebacker Brendon McLean lead land @ Southern Wayne; OPEN — EastFRIDAY, AUG. 23 Central, which started football in one can get an upset of the 4-A Conley. ern Wayne Rosewood @ C.B. Aycock; North Pitt 2002, has yet to defeat the Ramteams and it evens up in a hurry.” Over in Winterville, third-year FRIDAY, SEPT. 27 @ D.H. Conley; Eastern Wayne @ North pants. In 2012, the Golden Falcons coach Tim Carter thinks his plan C.B. Aycock @ New Bern; J.H. Rose @ Lenoir; Durham Hillside @ New Bern; Hard times, however, have went 6-6, trouncing Eastern of going with youth in his early D.H. Conley; Eastern Wayne @ South CenRaleigh Athens Drive @ J.H. Rose; South besieged the once mighty Rose Wayne and Southern Wayne along years is ready to pay off. tral; OPEN — Southern Wayne Central @ Hunt; Southern Wayne @ squad as the team fell to 3-7 last the way, and eventually lost in the Now as those young players FRIDAY, OCT. 4 James Kenan Southern Wayne @ C.B. Aycock; New FRIDAY, AUG. 30 year — including an eye-opening second round of the 3-A playoffs enter upperclassman status, the Bern @ Eastern Wayne; South Central @ 34-14 loss to Conley. Greene Central @ C.B. Aycock; D.H. coach believes the Falcons (3-8 last 42-6 at Eastern Alamance. J.H. Rose; OPEN — D.H. Conley Conley @ Ayden-Grifton; Goldsboro @ When asked about the Falcons The Warriors finished 4-7 in year), led by tailback/safety Dylan FRIDAY, OCT. 11 Eastern Wayne; Havelock @ New Bern; and Vikings finally joining the 2012, falling to Orange in the first Cunningham, are ready to soar. J.H. Rose @ C.B. Aycock; D.H. Conley @ J.H. Rose @ Wilmington Laney; South Rampants in the 4-A ranks, coach “It’s been exciting what has been round of the postseason. QuarterCentral @ West Craven; Smithfield-Selma Southern Wayne; South Central @ New Dave Wojtecki said one thing back Mitch Pike will be in charge going on with the developing of Bern; OPEN — Eastern Wayne @ Southern Wayne hasn’t changed. on offense, while linebacker Chris the kids,” he said. OCT. 18 FRIDAY, SEPT. 6 C.B. Aycock @ D.H. Conley; Eastern North Lenoir @ C.B. Aycock; Washing“You’ve got to beat the two of Pridgen will anchor the defense. 3-A rivals ton @ D.H. Conley; Red Springs @ Eastern Wayne @ Rose; Southern Wayne @ ‘em,” he said. “The 4-A/3-A label Southern Wayne coach David South Central; OPEN — New Bern Wayne; New Bern @ West Craven; Nash The three Wayne County schools Lee’s squad went 1-9 a year ago, a doesn’t matter. When you have OCT. 25 Central @ J.H. Rose; Southern Wayne @ are the only holdovers from the old regression he was not happy with. players, it doesn’t matter.” South Central @ C.B. Aycock; D.H. Goldsboro; OPEN — South Central 3-A ECC. Players to watch are quarterSo, the Saints will go back to the Conley @ Eastern Wayne; New Bern @ FRIDAY, SEPT. 13 While the challenges of the back/defensive back Copeland past for some inspiration. Southern Wayne; OPEN ­— J.H. Rose C.B. Aycock @ Goldsboro; D.H. Conley Swell, quarterback/defensive back/ split league are many for the He’ll be running the Saints out NOV. 1 @ West Carteret; Eastern Wayne @ C.B. Aycock @ Eastern Wayne; New Greene Central; New Bern @ Jacksonville; wide receiver Khalil Smith and de- small schools, it also opens up the of the wing-T offense, trying to Bern @ D.H. Conley; Southern Wayne @ J.H. Rose @ Rocky Mount; South Central chance for a top seed for the playfensive end Christian Pleasant. get the quarterbacks outside, and J.H. Rose; South Central @ Pasquotank @ North Pitt; North Lenoir @ Southern offs by virtue of winning just the The Vikings advanced to the a switch to a 3-5 look on defense, County Wayne 3-A portion of the league. second round of the 3-A playoffs, “one that we had success with two NOV. 8 FRIDAY, SEPT. 20 “My joke lately has been the losing to Cleveland 47-25. A 10-3 years ago.” D.H. Conley @ South Central; Eastern Corinth Holders @ C.B. Aycock; D.H. 4-A teams are the SEC West and record on the field became 8-5 Wayne @ Southern Wayne; J.H. Rose @ Conley @ West Craven; Wilmington | 265-8117 the 3-A teams are the SEC East,” with forfeits due to Gorham, who New Bern; OPEN — C.B. Aycock Laney @ New Bern; Kinston @ J.H. Rose; Hertford County @ South Central; Clevefirst-year C.B. Aycock coach Steve Twitter: @RandyJonesWT transferred from Rose to Conley


‘We tell them they can’t live on the past, you’ve got to go out there and earn it.’ New Bern head coach Bobby Curlings

Thursday, August 22, 2013 6A

Brooks brings a new attitude to Golden Falcons Rookie coach hopes power running, big hits will leave mark


He has made it no secret that he will use plenty of what he learned while PIKEVILLE — New is the coaching the Chargers, but buzzword for the Charles B. Brooks, while an assistant at Aycock football team. East Carolina University for The Golden Falcons have a season, also had a chance a new head coach in Steve to study the playbooks of Brooks, who has brought former Pirates offensive a different style of offense coordinator Noah Brindise. and defense with defensive Those of course included coordinator Ryan Wells and not just the Pirates’ plays, are in a new conference with but those of the Washington the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Redskins and a big binder Michael Eutsey Conference. the University of Florida. Brindise served as the assistant coach for Steve Spurrier Senior • WR/Spur in both places. 6-foot, 184 pounds “I definitely studied up In this period of transition for on those,” Brooks, a selfthe C.B. Aycock football team, admitted Spurrier fan, said senior Michael Eutsey has been smiling.

By Randy Jones Staff Writer


Mascot: Golden Falcons Colors: Columbia blue and gold Conference: 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Head coach: Steve Brooks (1st season) 2012 record: 6-6 overall (2nd round 3-A playoffs), 3-3 ECC (4th) Top returning passer: None Top returning rusher: Neil Clark (518 yds., 7 TDs) Top returning receiver: Neil Clark (14 rec., 174 yds., 2 TDs)

Power spread Taking bits and pieces from here and there over the years, Brooks has always been a doodler. He’s be designing plays since he was young, even though his heart early on was on the baseball diamond. So, when the Falcons take the field Friday night at Wayne County rival Rosewood what kind of offense will be on display? The ‘Fun and Gun’ of Spurrier’s Gator days, an ‘Air Raid’ of ECU’s

a rock for first-year coach Steve Brooks. Eutsey will rarely leave the field. His ability to hold his block and move defenders in the Golden Falcons’ power spread will be vital on offense. But it will be his play on defense, at just about every position imaginable, that will go a long way in determining just how good CBA will be. Listed as a defensive end, Eutsey will actually be the team’s “spur”, meaning he’ll line up anywhere at anytime.

Senior Neil Clark (22), picking up yardage against Fike in the Fike jamboree Aug. 16, has piled up more than 1,000 total offensive yards the past two seasons for Charles B. Aycock.

Brad Coville | Times

by seniors Jackson Yelverton (5-10, 161), tackle Battle Burnette (6-1⁄2, 202) and center Ryan Morton (6-foot, 198). “Battle has been a kid that has given us tremendous leadership on the line, has “Eutsey provides tremendous leaderthe chance to be real speship, a great work ethic and is a great cial,” Brooks said. “Ryan kid. He’s so important to us, on both Morton has been terrific in sides of the ball. He is the heart and soul the shotgun. He makes the of our football team, a real leader.” — whole thing go round. JackSteve Brooks son is a kid who we moved into the position the last few weeks and he has really helped everything on the offensive line come alive. It’s just gelled.” Juniors Jarrett Scott (6-3, 218) will line up at the other tackle with Landon Moore (6-11⁄2, 225) at the other DATE OPPONENT guard spot. Aug. 23 Rosewood At tight end, ChAug. 30 @ Greene Central igozie Umeofia is a 5-11, Sept. 6 North Lenoir 183-pounder who is incredSept. 13 @ Goldsboro ibly physical, said Brooks. Sept. 20 Corinth Holders That will make a lot of the Sept. 27 @ New Bern* run game successful. Oct. 4 Southern Wayne* Running backs will be Oct. 11 Greenville Rose* Clark, a 5-10, 176-pounder Oct. 18 @ D.H. Conley* who had 518 yards on 86 Oct. 25 South Central* carries and 14 receptions Nov. 1 @ Eastern Wayne* for 174 yards as a junior. Nov. 8 OPEN Tazmont Groves and Jay Suber are battling for the wing * 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference starting spot. game “They can all tote the rock and we don’t miss a beat,” Brooks said. Wideouts Michael Eutsey Brooks said his philosphy (6-foot, 184) and Austin Westbrook (6-foot, 170) are will be a spread power runtwo physical receivers who ning team. do well both blocking for “We’re not finesse,” he the run, which is a priority said. “We’re going to throw in the offense, as well as getit to score and run it to win. ting open downfield for big People love to say ‘Hey, plays. you’re a spread team, not a Senior Trae Woodard and power running team.’ And junior Jimmy Ellis are two to that I say that is not true at all. We are power run first. other receivers who will see plenty of action. WoodWe are not going to catch ard (6-21⁄2, 154) is also the blocks, we going to deliver team’s punter and will see the block.” time at defensive end. Delivering those blocks The kicking duties fall to will be an offensive line led


Junior T.J. Morrow, a transfer from Sacramento, Calif., will start at quarterback for C.B. Aycock. Brad Coville | Times

The amount of knowledge that has been necessary to absorb in a short time is staggering, said senior running back and linebacker Neil Clark. “It’s a new coach, new offense, new defense and we are a new team with new goals in a new conference,” he said. “Really, just about everything is new. We’re excited about this new beginning. We’re ready for it.” Brooks comes to Pikeville after eight seasons as an assistant coach under Paul Cornwell at 1-A Ayden-Grifton High School.

Lincoln Kennedy or maybe the ram-it-right-up-yourthroat intentions of Cornwell’s A-G teams? “We’re going to be multiple,” junior quarterback T.J. Morrow said. The 6-foot, 175-pounder who moved to Pikeville from Sacramento, Calif., is eager to get on the field and show exactly what he means. “I mean it’s wide open,” he said. “Multiple options for me and for the running backs and receivers. I’m very comfortable with it. There are some surprises, for sure.”

New C.B. Aycock head coach Steve Brooks sends junior Trae Woodard in with a play during the Fike jamboree Aug. 16.

Brad Coville | Times

2013 ROSTER No. 3 5 10 11 14 15 16 20 21 22 23 27 30 34 35 36 38 40 41 42 46 47 50 56 57 59 62 65 66 70 71 73 75 76 78 79 82 84 87 89

Player Jacob Harrison Jay Suber T.J. Morrow Tazmont Groves Will Walters Michael Eutsey Richard Swinson Brandon Swinson Troy Hill Neil Clark Joseph Sutton Jamal Williams Jimmy Ellis Dekeyyel Darden Dillon Baker Jamel Perry Destin Hapes Ryan Purdue Triston O’Brien Blake Waters Jonathan Dudley Blake Merrill Victor LaBoy Jarrett Scott Alston Best Keaton Helms Zach Currie Stephen Kyer Jackson Yelverton Joshua Jones Edward Lancaster Matthew Teachey Battle Burnette Landon Moore Ryan Morton Tyree McNair Austin Westbrook Jermaine Mercer Trae Woodard Chigozie Umeofia

the feet of senior Jacob Harrison.


Ht. 5-10 5-5 6-0 5-61⁄2 5-8 6-0 5-9 5-8 5-7 5-10 5-6 5-91⁄2 6-11⁄2 5-10 5-8 5-8 5-61⁄2 5-10 5-10 5-6 5-10 5-81⁄2 5-7 6-3 6-0 5-9 6-2 5-7 5-10 5-11 5-8 6-1 6-1⁄2 6-11⁄2 6-0 6-0 6-0 5-7 6-21⁄2 5-11

Wt. 134 151 165 172 163 184 164 149 146 176 140 152 171 180 184 165 137 134 169 156 165 163 187 218 168 200 240 253 161 263 185 280 202 225 198 315 170 133 154 183

Yr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr.

have to be defensively.” It all starts with Eutsey. While listed on the Falcons’ Head-hunting roster as a defensive end, an Wells was giddy about the opposing quarterback will first day of contact practice look up and Eutsey might this summer. He thought he be anywhere — at any time. knew what he had with his “We don’t have a position defense, but just wanted to for him, so he’s our spur,” be sure. Brooks said. “He can line up Eutsey, who will be the anywhere from the ball to team’s do-it-all player on the end zone.” defense, summed up the Junior Tyree McNair, one defense’s mentality. of the biggest players on “Kill, kill, kill,” he said the CBA roster at 6-foot, with a smile. “This team 315 pounds, senior Triston is physical, intense and O’Brien (5-10, 169) and juwe just want it. We want it nior Josh Jones (5-11, 263) more than you.” will anchor the defensive With an all-in approach line, Brooks said, adding with the defense, Wells that they’ve been tough on preaches 11 hats to the ball the pass rush already. at all times and making Clark and Tazmont sure the opponent doesn’t Groves (5-7, 172) are rock know what’s coming, but solid at two linebacker spots. certainly will feel it when it In the secondary, senior arrives. Dillon Baker and Suber are “We’ve got some real at safety, while junior Jimmy headhunters out there,” Ellis and senior Troy Hill are Wells said. “Now, they’re go- cornerbacks. ing to keep it clean, but you Brooks said Baker has know locking into a group been a revelation, and bethat just likes to hit like these cause of summer passing kids do is enlightening. Plus, league work at South Johnwe don’t have to chain ourston, the staff found a jewel. selves to one thing — to one “Dillon, he’d been playing formation or one concept football but he had not been all year. We’ve got safeties in a spot that we were seeing that can play linebacker, him succeed,” Brooks said. linebackers who can drop “We put him at safety and back and play safety and de- he came alive. He is great at fensive linemen who can be pass coverage and he is not linebackers. scared to fill a lane and hit “We can just do so many somebody.” different things. The more | 265-8117 | complex the offenses you Twitter: @RandyJonesWT see, the more complex you

Thursday, August 22, 2013 7A

2013-14 Wilson County Cheerleaders Hunt High Lady Warriors The Hunt High 2013-14 varsity cheerleaders are, front from left, Azia Barnes (junior captain), LeRon Horne (captain), Miranda Kirkland (head captain) and Kayla Teague (captain). Second row: Ally Varnell, A’tiana Archer, Kaitlyn Pollard, Kiannah Lewis-Cobb, Brianna Lewis-Cobb, Kayla Vines and Renee Stokley. Back row: Anna Batts, Destiny Hinnant, Joneishia King, Ashleigh Best, Kaela Jackson, Jessica Aycocke, Kalen Atkinson, Gabby Bunn and coach Janet Pollock.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Fike High Lady Demons The Fike High 2013-14 varsity cheerleaders are, front from left, Janeé Blackston, Tresha Vick, Stephanie Pate and Jayla Robinson. Second row: Jasmine Jenkins, Janeé Smith, Bryana Mitchell, Heather Prince, Chanelle Walker, Aliyah Taylor and Aurie Sauls. Top left is Hollan Sorenson and top right is Alex Cauley.

Contributed photo

Beddingfield High Lady Bruins The Beddingfield High 2013-14 varsity cheerleaders are, front from left, Meribel Herrera, Kayla Gorman, Michelle Dickens, Alexis Hill, Madison Lindsey, Brooke Smith and Alexis Ellis. Back row: Ziamari Hyden-Zainal, Jaelyn Allen, Haylan Lucas, Rafaela Chavez, Cassidy Walston, Hannah Rodgers and Leigh Webb. Scott Jones | Special to the Times

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 8A

Warriors picked to rule Big East — again Firebirds, Gryphons recipients of other first-place votes

weekly schedule

By Tom Ham Senior Staff Writer

ROCKY MOUNT — Stevie Hinnant appears more and more succinct with his observation that, other than him becoming the new head coach, Hunt High varsity football is basically unchanged from past seasons.

coaches poll ROCKY MOUNT — Results of the 2013 3-A Big East Conference preseason football coaches poll. Five points for first place, four points for second place, etc. Firstplace votes are in parentheses. Coaches could not vote for their own team. 1. Hunt (4) 2. Southern Nash (1) 3. Rocky Mount (1) 4. Fike 5. Nash Central 6. Northern Nash

25 21 17 11 10 7

And staying put or following the norm includes preseason balloting by the league’s head coaches in obliging the media’s poll requests for a preseason ranking of the Big East Conference’s six teams. At the annual conference kickoff at Rocky Mount High School recently, Hunt once again earned the nod to repeat as the Big East champion. And, why not? The Warriors have reeled off 12 consecutive regularseason wins against conference opposition since losing to Southern Nash late in the 2010 season. Hinnant, during his 15-minute session with the media, was asked of his reaction in the event his Warriors were tabbed No. 1. “No different than I would if they don’t,” he responded. But the Big East head coaches did.

4 FIRST-PLACE VOTES Hunt drew four of the six first-place votes and accumulated 24 points. Five points were awarded for a first-place vote, four for second, etc. Each coach did not include his team on his ballot. Southern Nash and Rocky Mount each picked up one first-place vote, and Southern Nash was projected to finish second with 21 points. Rocky Mount followed with 17 points. Fike was the choice to finish fourth, followed by Nash Central and Northern

Coaches, from left, Kevin Crudup of Nash Central, Randy Raper of Northern Nash, Brian Foster of Southern Nash and Jason Battle of Rocky Mount, discuss the upcoming season during the 3-A Big East Conference coaches meeting Aug. 12 at Rocky Mount High. Tom Ham | Times

Nash, respectively. Randy Raper is the new Northern Nash head coach after spending 20-plus seasons in that capacity at Hunt. Third-year Fike head coach Tom Nelson was not present for the media session, but submitted a ballot. Upon learning Hunt emerged the top choice for the 2013 title, Hinnant grinned and responded: “I figured they would put the bulls-eye on us. It’s a testament to our program and we’re going to keep on doing the same things.”

SAME END RESULT? “Either it’s going to happen or it’s not,” Hinnant continued. “We are going to try to make it happen. They’ve picked us No. 1 and I hope the end result is the same.” Hunt’s talent supply is headed by 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior defender and running back Dexter Wright, who has tendered a verbal commitment to North Carolina State University. The roster lists more than a dozen returnees. However, Hinnant describes his first edition as the program’s youngest since 2010. The Warriors are especially green on the offensive line and youth is apparent in the backfield, with sophomore Jacob Williamson starting at quarterback. The line is the biggest defensive concern. On the other hand, Southern Nash returns 29 players, led by Deon Lavender, who will be starting at quarterback for the fourth year. “We are still in a situation where we are not quite as gifted athletically as we need to be. But we expect

FRIDAY, AUG. 23 Fike @ Bunn; South Central @ Hunt; Tarboro @ Nash Central; Northern Nash @ Corinth Holders; South Granville @ Rocky Mount; SW Edgecombe @ Southern Nash THURSDAY, AUG. 29 Fike @ Roanoke Rapids; Hertford County @ Hunt FRIDAY, AUG. 30 Nash Central @ Kinston; Northern Nash @ Elizabeth City Northeastern; Rocky Mount @ South Central; Beddingfield @ Southern Nash FRIDAY, SEPT. 6 Kinston @ Fike; Wilmington New Hanover @ Hunt; Nash Central @ Greenville Rose; Northern Nash @ Tarboro; Rocky Mount @ Hertford County; Bunn @ Southern Nash FRIDAY, SEPT. 13 Beddingfield @ Fike; Hunt @ Elizabeth City Northeastern; Nash Central @ Hertford County; Northern Nash @ Warren County; Greenville Rose @ Rocky Mount; Southern Nash @ Roanoke Rapids FRIDAY, SEPT. 20 Fike @ Smithfield-Selma; Hunt @ Currituck County; Beddingfield @ Nash Central; Southern Vance @ Northern Nash; SW Edgecombe @ Rocky Mount; OPEN — Southern Nash FRIDAY, SEPT. 27 Fike @ South Johnston; Hunt @ Beddingfield; Durham Hillside @ Nash Central; Smithfield-Selma @ Northern Nash; Erwin Triton @ Rocky Mount; Ayden-Grifton @ Southern Nash FRIDAY, OCT. 4 Southern Nash @ Tarboro; OPEN ­— Fike, Hunt, Nash Central, Northern Nash, Rocky Mount FRIDAY, OCT. 11 Southern Nash @ Fike; Hunt @ Northern Nash; Nash Central @ Rocky Mount FRIDAY, OCT. 18 Fike @ Nash Central; Hunt @ Rocky Mount; Northern Nash @ Southern Nash FRIDAY, OCT. 25 Rocky Mount @ Fike; Southern Nash @ Hunt; Northern Nash @ Nash Central FRIDAY, NOV. 1 Fike @ Northern Nash; Nash Central @ Hunt; Southern Nash @ Rocky Mount FRIDAY, NOV. 8 Hunt @ Fike; Nash Central @ Southern Nash; Rocky Mount @ Northern Nash

First-year Hunt head coach Stevie Hinnant leads his team off the field following its segment in a multi-team scrimmage at Cleveland on Aug. 16. The Warriors were picked to win the 3-A Big East Conference again. Paul Durham | Times

to win. We don’t do the stuff we do to try to lose,” said Firebirds head coach Brian Foster.

PARITY EMPHASIZED However, Hinnant, Foster, Raper and head coaches Jason Battle of Rocky Mount and Kevin Crudup of Nash Central harped upon the league’s parity. Foster tabbed Hunt the favorite on his ballot and listed the other four teams in a tie for second. “All the teams are the same athletically,” he contended. “I think we can finish first or last — and I don’t think that’s just us.

You are going to have to play every Friday night. But you have to keep picking Hunt until somebody beats them.” Foster considers the Big East formidable among N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A leagues to the extent that the fourthplace team is capable of a deep playoff run. Of the league’s perceived balance, Raper remarked: “We say that every year. I was looking for a way to change that up, but I really can’t. “These (Northern Nash) kids are going to play hard for four quarters week in

that way until someone dethrones them. But everybody should have high expectations.” and week out. We are go“We definitely look for ing to show up and play the best we can, and let the improvement,” commented chips fall where they may.” Nash Central’s Crudup. The Knights failed to win “But the conference is like a conference game last year, it always is — tough from while Crudup assured Nash top to bottom. Anybody can win any game on a Central was disappointed with its 2-3 showing. Third- given Friday night.” Of projecting a champion place Rocky Mount, 8-3 in early August, Hinnant overall, and Fike joined Hunt and Southern Nash in contended: “Nobody can tell who’s going to win the the playoffs. league right now. I don’t NOBODY CAN TELL think you can pick a con“It’s fair,” Battle said ference champ.” of his Gryphons being But the Big East head projected to finish third. coaches did. And they “It might be a little high. chose Hinnant’s Warriors. Everybody is chasing the | 265-7819 top two and it should be


Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

Thank you for allowing us to serve you! For Quality Service Call Head coach Tom Nelson’s Fike team was picked to finish fourth in the 3-A Big East Conference in the preseason coaches poll. Brad Coville | Times


Thursday, August 22, 2013 9A

No expected drop in quality in revamped EPC North Pitt earns top spot with Washington, NJ joining league


By Paul Durham Sports Editor

GREENVILLE — Over the past four years, the Eastern Plains Conference has established itself as one of the toughest 2-A leagues in the state for football. Part of that has come from having Tarboro, the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A champion for three of the last four years, Football coaches from the newly reconfigured 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, from left, as a member.

North Johnston’s Scott Meserve, Farmville Central’s Scott Gardner, North Pitt’s Dave Boal, Washington’s Sport Sawyer, SouthWest Edgecombe’s Jonathan Cobb and Beddingfield’s Tyrone Johnson (pictured below) met in Greenville on Aug. 7 and picked Boal’s Panthers as the preseason favorite. Paul Durham | Times

coaches poll Results of the 2013 2-A Eastern Plains Conference preseason football coaches poll. Five points for first place, four points for second place, etc. First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches could not vote for their own team. 1. North Pitt (5) 2. Washington (1) T3. Beddingfield T3. SW Edgecombe 5. Farmville Central 6. North Johnston

25 19 15 15 11 5

reaching the second round of the 2-A playoffs. “It’s going to be very competitive,” Meserve said of the transition to the Eastern Plains. “It’s a step up from where we were last year. It’s going to be a challenge for us. With the team I have right now, we are very young but we should be in most of the games.”

named the successor to his father, Raymond, after last season. “I hated to lose Tarboro and Kinston because they were two great ball clubs that we got to compete against in conference, but I really think this conference is going to surprise some people. On paper, it probably doesn’t look as good as it’s going to be.”


Still, Tarboro, which is on the non-conference schedules of SouthWest, North Pitt and Washington, casts a shadow on the league. But as the 2013 season “Obviously with the prodawns for the EPC, Targram they run, that’s your boro, along with 2011 measuring stick,” Farmville conference champion head coach Scott Gardner Kinston and long-time said of the Vikings. “You member Greene Central, can play with them, you are gone due to NCHSAA realignment. In their place can play with anybody. I’m going to miss ‘em a little bit are North Johnston from because, you know, that’s a the 2-A Northern Carolina Friday night you get up for. Conference and Wash“I don’t think there will ington, which has moved down from the 3-A Coastal be a power vacuum. I see teams in our conference Conference. probably being as good as But none of the six coaches in the new Eastern they are this year.” North Pitt, at 8-5, posted Plains, who gathered on its best record in Boal’s Aug. 7 for the annual preseason meeting, seemed to eight seasons as head want to suggest the quality coach last year as the Panthers went 4-2 and finished of opponent was about to as the No. 2 seed in the get easier. EPC. “You never want to say A year later, North Pitt is ‘easier’ because you just the unanimous pick of the don’t know what’s it going other five coaches in the to bring year in and year preseason poll to rule the out,” said Beddingfield Eastern Plains this season. eighth-year head coach Tyrone Johnson who, along The verdict left Boal a little stunned. with North Pitt’s Dave “We’ve got a young team Boal, are the senior memso I hope we can hold up to bers of the EPC coaching that,” he said. “It’s going to fraternity. be interesting to see how it “I know Tarboro, in this plays out — that’s for sure.” conference, or Kinston, But the Panthers have would bring a good a footproven to be a tough week ball program with a whole on anyone’s schedule over lot of talent. So like I tell the past few years, includeverybody, I like (Tarboro ing the coaches’ pick for head) Coach (Jeff) CradNo. 2, Washington, which dock but I’m not going to miss him as far as having to had been playing North Pitt in the season opener. line up against him late in the season on Friday night. The Pam Pack is coming Because those boys that go off a 10-win season and a runner-up finish in the 3-A two ways for him, by the Coastal Conference, which end of the season, them boys are ready! They won’t produced state 3-A champion Havelock. come out of the game.” Sport Sawyer, starting his SouthWest Edgecombe’s 10th year as Washington first-year head coach Jonathan Cobb also doesn’t head coach, addressed the program dropping to the think the Eastern Plains 2-A classification for the will be diminished greatly. first time. “I’m very excited about “There’s very good footit,” said Cobb, who was

DIVERSITY OF OFFENSES Beddingfield coach Tyrone Johnson gives instructions during practice Aug. 13.

Paul Durham | Times

ball in 2-A and now dropping down from 3-A to 2-A, I don’t think it needs to be overlooked that you’re still playing good football,’ he assured. “So we’re excited to change into 2-A, but we know it’s good football.”

BRUINS, SWE TIE FOR 3RD Beddingfield and SouthWest tied for third in the poll; both return veteran offensive backfields and have concerns to address on the lines. The darkhorse may be the team ready to leave the EPC basement. “I tell you something ... Farmville’s going to surprise some people this year,” Cobb declared of the coaches’ No. 5 pick. Gardner is optimistic that the results of having varsity players who have been on the weight program for the past three years will be help turn around a Jaguars program that has gone 4-27 overall and 3-15 in league games since 2010. “This is the third year of our weight-lifting program getting re-established and we’ve got kids who are juniors and seniors that I think can play football and know what we expect of them,” he said.

The new EPC will offer a diversity of offenses, from SouthWest Edgecombe’s traditional wishbone to the spread formations of Beddingfield, Washington and North Pitt. Farmville Central will run a version of the wishbone, but Gardner has been to known to switch gears depending on the foe. “You’ve got to be able to adapt because those two want to smash you and the other three want to finesse

FRIDAY, AUG. 23 Greene Central @ Beddingfield; Plymouth @ Farmville Central; North Johnston @ Louisburg; North Pitt @ D.H. Conley; SW Edgecombe @ Southern Nash; Havelock @ Washington THURSDAY, AUG. 29 Beddingfield @ Southern Nash; North Johnston @ Bunn FRIDAY, AUG. 30 North Lenoir @ Farmville Central; Robersonville South Creek @ North Pitt; North Edgecombe @ SW Edgecombe; Tarboro @ Washington FRIDAY, SEPT. 6 Southern Pines Pinecrest @ Beddingfield; Farmville Central @ Pamlico County; Corinth Holders @ North Johnston; North Pitt @ Ayden-Grifton; Greene Central @ SW Edgecombe; Washington @ D.H. Conley FRIDAY, SEPT. 13 Beddingfield @ Fike; AydenGrifton @ Farmville Central; Prince @ North Johnston; South Central @ North Pitt; Tarboro @ SW Edgecombe; Washington @ West Craven FRIDAY, SEPT. 20 Beddingfield @ Nash Central; Farmville Central @ Greene Central; North Johnston @ Roseboro Lakewood; SW Edgecombe @ Rocky Mount; OPEN ­— North Pitt,

Washington FRIDAY, SEPT. 27 Hunt @ Beddingfield; Farmville Central @ Robersonville South Creek; North Johnston @ North Lenoir; North Pitt @ Greene Central; Washington @ Riverside Martin; OPEN — SW Edgecombe FRIDAY, OCT. 4 Pinetown Northside @ North Pitt; SW Edgecombe @ East Carteret; Washington @ Kinston; OPEN — Beddingfield, Farmville Central, North Johnston, FRIDAY, OCT. 11 Beddingfield @ North Johnston; Farmville Central @ Washington; SW Edgecombe @ North Pitt FRIDAY, OCT. 18 North Pitt @ Beddingfield; Farmville Central @ North Johnston; Washington @ SW Edgecombe FRIDAY, OCT. 25 Beddingfield @ Washington; SW Edgecombe @ Farmville Central; North Johnston @ North Pitt FRIDAY, NOV. 1 Farmville Central @ Beddingfield; SW Edgecombe @ North Johnston; Washington @ North Pitt FRIDAY, NOV. 8 Beddingfield @ SW Edgecombe; North Pitt @ Farmville Central; North Johnston @ Washington

you, and get you out in the open field,” Boal surmised. “There’s some power teams and there’s also some spread teams; so that’s a variety that week in and week out that you’re going to have to prepare for — and that’s a good thing,” Sawyer said. “You like to see a variety of things because it keeps things new for yourself and your team. So we’re excited about that.” The one thing the reconfigured Eastern Plains doesn’t have right now is a true rivalry between any of its programs. The returning teams — Beddingfield,

Farmville Central, North Pitt and SouthWest — certainly have histories with one another but none could be considered the others’ archrival. But, considering the historically competitive nature of the EPC, there will be plenty of time to make new friends and new enemies. “Right now everybody seems friendly,” Sawyer said with a grin, “but when you get on Friday night, it don’t matter if it’s your mom or your dad, it’s time to go.” | 265-7808

They play.

You vote.

NEW FOR NJ North Johnston, which hasn’t played any of its new rivals in recent years, was the last-place team in the poll, which didn’t surprise third-year head coach Scott Meserve. The Panthers went 3-8 overall and were sixth in the seven-team 2-A Northern Carolina Conference in 2012, a year after

2012 NCHSAA CHAMPIONSHIPS 1-A: At Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh Plymouth 20, Murphy 15

1-AA: At Carter-Finley

Stadium, Raleigh

Southwest Onslow 44, Swain County 34

2-A: At BB&T Field, Winston-Salem

3-A: At BB&T Field, Winston-Salem Havelock 55, Concord 21

3-AA: At BB&T Field, Winston-Salem

Northern Guilford 64, Charlotte Catholic 26

4-A: At Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill

East Lincoln 24, Tarboro 20

New Bern 39, Indian Trail Porter Ridge 38

2-AA: At Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh

4-AA: At Kenan Stadium,

South Iredell 30, Carrboro 27

Cast your vote on beginning Sunday, August 25

Chapel Hill

Matthews Butler 56, Fayetteville Jack Britt 28

Winners will be announced each Friday in the sports section of The Wilson Times

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10A

Hunt begins Hinnant era with little change Warriors must overcome graduation losses, inexperience on offense By Tom Ham Senior Staff Writer

The 2013 Hunt High varsity football team will be guided by a new head coach — not a new coach. After 26 seasons as an assistant, 47-year-old Stevie Hinnant now occupies the top perch. However, he’s surrounded by a coaching staff that’s virtually intact from last season. The structural process is a holdover.

2013 SCHEDULE DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 29 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

OPPONENT South Central Hertford County New Hanover @ Elizabeth City Northeastern @ Currituck County @ Beddingfield OPEN @ Northern Nash* @ Rocky Mount* Southern Nash* Nash Central * @ Fike*

* 3-A Big East Conference game Warrior football begins with a solid offensive line. Prominent complements are a hungry, swarming defense and special teams that understand the importance of their roles. The capper is a rugged, possessive offense that crushes the will of opposing defenses and takes control of the proceedings. The end result since the turn of the century is usually double-digit wins, conference championships and a deep run into the postseason. Hinnant iterates, reiterates and again reiterates that, in the overall scheme, nothing has changed. “I have not felt a lot of difference,” Hinnant commented. “It feels like home like it always has. It’s going good, but I can’t come into this thing and try to match what (former head coach Randy Raper) did. “I’m going to let my coaches coach, be as fair as I can to each of the players and keep a good thing going. It’s not all about the X’s and O’s; it’s got a lot to do with the ‘Jimmies’ and Joes.’” The Warriors kick off the Hinnant era ­marked by a revamped non-conference schedule ­at home on Friday, Aug. 23, against South Central of the 3-A Coastal Conference. Because of the mass exit of 27 seniors from the 2012 team that went undefeated until encountering eventual

2013 ROSTER No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 30 32 33 38 40 44 48 50 51 54 56 58 60 65 66 67 70 71 72 73 75 79 80 84 88

Name Darrion Ballard Travon McNair Brian Orellana Ty Keen Otis May Justin Jefferson Praaz Anderson Jacob Williamson P.J. Hammonds Jeremy Harris Aquilla Alston Ty’Chius Edwards Dexter Wright Tre Spearman Caleb Sharp Ben White Samad Jones Malik Williams Josh Lucas Kentrell Brown A.K. Knight Dwayne Spell Darius Barnes Kyaun Peppers Shawn Bynum O.T. Arias Ervin Speight T.J. Speight James Davis Tavon Bynum Aaron Jackson Joe Eatman Rufus Williams Aaron Smith Ray Villegas Josh Whitley Colin Lee Justin Fuller Marcus Jones Brandon Hinnant Kyaun Peppers Logan Davidson Christian Parker Emory Lyndon Anthony Gaetano Matt Bunn Joseph Hollis


Ht. 5-10 5-7 5-9 5-8 6-2 6-2 5-10 5-10 5-7 5-10 5-10 6-0 6-3 6-2 5-10 5-8 6-2 6-1 5-10 5-11 5-9 5-11 5-11 5-10 5-10 5-10 6-2 5-11 5-11 5-10 6-0 5-11 5-11 5-10 5-11 5-10 6-0 6-2 5-11 6-3 5-10 6-2 5-11 6-1 6-0 6-0 6-1

Wt. 180 160 175 160 185 200 180 180 160 200 160 150 215 205 175 170 180 190 185 175 180 185 185 195 185 185 215 190 185 225 280 265 230 225 240 190 210 270 215 300 195 250 270 265 175 175 190

Yr. Jr. Sr. So. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. So. So. So. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. So. Jr. Jr. So. Sr. So. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. So. Sr. So. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. So. So. Jr. Sr.

OPPONENTS School Record* Beddingfield 30-7 Bertie 10-7 Bunn 1-0 Burlington Williams 2-1 C.B. Aycock 14-2 Clayton 4-3 Cleveland 1-0 D.H. Conley 2-0 Eastern Wayne 15-1 Eastern Randolph 0-2 Eliz. City Northeastern 6-8 Fayetteville Byrd 0-1 Fayetteville Ross 1-0 Fayetteville Sanford 1-0 Fike 27-14


blessed with talent and experience at the receiving positions, at linebacker and in the defensive secondary. Seven starters return on defense. But the offensive line and backfield are a different scenario.

T.J. Speight Sophomore • RB/LB 5-foot-10, 200 pounds


Hunt sophomore quarterback Jacob Williamson fires a pass against Fayetteville Terry Sanford in the Cleveland scrimmage Aug. 16.

Paul Durham | Times

N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA champion Northern Guilford in the East final, Hinnant’s first edition will be the program’s youngest since 2010. Still, the Warriors are

And the coaching staff emphasizes the 2013 road to success definitely begins with the maturity of a young, but capable offensive line. “We are young up front,” Hinnant said, “but we have good quality and they are working hard. In our opinion, that’s what has always been tough about Hunt football ­— those five or six guys up front. If you can control the football, you are going to be in most games. “We make our offensive line first. If you have a good line up front, a lot of folks can become good running backs.” Rufus Williams, a 240-pound senior guard, is the lone returnee in the offensive line. Joining Williams up front are 270-pound junior center Aaron Smith, junior guard Kyaun Peppers, 250-pound

HUNT HISTORY Mascot: Warriors Colors: Royal blue and silver Conference: 3-A Big East Head coach: Stevie Hinnant (1st season) 2012 record: 13-1 overall (3-AA semifinals), 5-0 Big East (1st)

Senior Dexter Wright, left, carries the ball behind the block of sophomore fullback Jeremy Harris during Hunt’s scrimmage at Cleveland on Aug. 16. Wright, a two-time All-Big East Conference performer at safety, will see action at tailback this season. Paul Durham | Times

Fuquay-Varina 0-1 Garner 1-1 Gaston 1-0 Greensboro Smith 1-0 Greenville Rose 6-8 Harnett Central 2-0 Havelock 1-0 Hertford County 13-3 High Point Central 1-0 Holly Springs 2-0 Kinston 12-4 Lejeune 0-1 Manteo 0-1 Nash Central 10-3 Northeast Guilford 0-2 Northern Guilford 0-3 Northern Nash 21-10 Northern Vance 6-0 North Johnston 1-0 Oxford Webb 1-0 Pender County 1-0 Raleigh Athens Drive 2-0 Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 2-0 Raleigh Millbrook 1-0 Roanoke Rapids 1-0 Rocky Mount 14-16

Roxboro Person 0-1 Smithfield-Selma 5-3 Southeast Guilford 1-0 Southern Durham 1-1 22-6 Southern Nash Southern Wayne 3-1 SouthWest Edgecombe 20-7 Tarboro 3-2 Triton 3-1 Washington 5-1 West Brunswick 1-0 West Carteret 1-0 West Craven 0-1 Wilmington Laney 0-1 Wilmington New Hanover 0-3 Winston-Salem Parkland 0-1 * All-time records are not complete. HEAD COACHES Name Years Lawrence Edwards 1978 Bill Williamson 1979-1989 Bruce Snyder 1990 Randy Raper 1991-2012 Stevie Hinnant present

Record 10-1 67-51 4-6 202-72 0-0

Hunt senior linebacker Ervin Speight chases down a Cleveland ball carrier at their scrimmage Aug. 16 at Cleveland. Speight is one of several returning starters for the Warriors defense. Paul Durham | Times

sophomore tackle Emory Lyndon, 250-pound junior tackle Logan Davidson and senior Tre Spearman, a returnee, and junior James Davis at tight end. Talented, versatile sophomore Jacob Williamson steps in at quarterback. Senior A.K. Knight will primarily see action at fullback, while sophomores T.J. Speight, Darius Barnes and Jeremy Harris can play either tailback or fullback.

WRIGHT WATCH And look out for 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior Dexter Wright, who has committed with North Carolina State. Consider that Wright, although new to the offensive backfield, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, is big and strong; and doesn’t shy away from contact. Much-improved Darrion Ballard, a 5-11, 175-pound junior, has emerged a leading receiver. Those ranks include senior veterans Kentrell Brown, a big-play performer and leading receiver from last season; Otis May and Justin Jefferson and junior Caleb Sharp. At quarterback, Williamson is backed by Praaz Anderson, who quarterbacked last season’s junior varsity squad. “He’s smart and has worked tremendously hard on his footwork and agility,” Hinnant noted of Williamson. “He has gotten a lot quicker, is making good decisions and throws a beautiful ball.”

Wright, at either outside linebacker or in the secondary, anchors a defensive unit that is expected to be formidable. “I expect him to be a good senior leader,” Hinnant commented of Wright, “and give us strong support on both sides of the ball. He’ll be in there for 90 percent of the plays, but he’s a defender first. He was born with natural ability and has worked hard to do the things he needs to do to play at the next level.”

REST OF DEFENSE Spearman, Peppers, Davis and Williams will man the end positions. Junior Christian Parker, Davidson and senior Tavon Bynum are top tackle candidates. Senior Ervin Speight started at inside linebacker and will be joined there by T.J. Speight. Wright, senior Dwayne Spell and Barnes will see action at outside linebacker. Ballard, Wright, Jefferson and senior Malik Williams are seasoned in the secondary. “The defense has to keep us in games until the offense grows up,” Hinnant declared. “And it’s good enough to make that happen. We have great quickness.” Bolstering the kicking game is the return of sophomore Bryan Orellana. Sophomore Anthony Gaetano has shown promise. Williamson will be the punter. Ballard and Brown, described by their head coach as “the fastest we’ve

As a freshman, elevated to the varsity for the playoffs. Probable starter at running back and inside linebacker in his first full varsity season. Motivated by the playing time he saw as a freshman. Coaching staff reports he has worked tremendously hard in the offseason. First-year head coach Stevie Hinnant definitely considers him a Warrior to watch in 2013.

“Winning a state championship is a dream of mine. I have to do whatever I can to help the team. It’s a team sport and I have to step up. We lost 27 seniors and we have big shoes to fill.” — T.J. Speight

got on campus,” will return kicks. Returning senior Joseph Hollis and junior Josh Whitley are the long snappers.

SAME MINDSET Still present is the familiar Warriors mindset. “We want to be good when we need to be good — in October,” Hinnant emphasized. “We want to be grown up and ready for the (3-A) Big East (Conference). We will go into it to try to win — that’s what we’ve always done. “We have good size and good speed, but we are not deep in some areas. But as our young guys grow up, we’re going to get deeper. I expect us to be in most of the games. And if we can stay close and have a chance in the fourth quarter, who knows? I am expecting that we will put forth the effort on Friday nights that it takes to get a victory. The key is not getting hurt early. If the offense grows up, we’re going to be all right.” That rhetoric is certainly nothing new and, as Hinnant concludes: “Let’s start a new chapter.” | 265-7819

Thursday, August 22, 2013 11A

Deep Firebirds set to soar to new heights Big East contender Southern Nash aims for longer season By Tom Ham Senior Staff Writer

The contention that the 2013 Southern Nash High varsity football team possesses the numbers and firepower to capture its first 3-A Big East Conference championship is not disputed by veteran head coach Brian Foster. However, Foster, at the controls for his 16th season, is convinced the contents of his players’ minds and hearts will dictate whether the Firebirds end the reign of a Hunt High program that has gone undefeated against conference opposition (12 games) since losing to Southern Nash late in the 2010 season.

2013 SCHEDULE DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 29 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

OPPONENT SW Edgecombe Beddingfield Bunn @ Roanoke Rapids OPEN Ayden-Grifton @ Tarboro @ Fike* Northern Nash* @ Hunt* @ Rocky Mount* Nash Central*

* 3-A Big East Conference game

“We have good kids and they have put a lot into it,” Foster declared. “And they hear it all the time — don’t let time pass you by; it’s a bad feeling. “We can be good and I am anxious to see what we can do. This team has the makeup.” And the Firebirds possess the numbers and experience. A roster of a whopping 56 players lists 29 returnees from a 2012 edition that posted an 8-3 record, fin-


Deon Lavender Senior • QB 5-foot-11, 177 pounds Considered one of the 3-A Big East Conference’s premier performers. Starting at quarterback for the fourth year. Possesses the footwork and skills to enhance the double-wing offense. Capable passer and runner and expected to more utilize his throwing ability this season. Adept at reading coverages and throwing deep.

“I really believe that he is one of the best players in the conference. He’s a gifted kid. He allows us to do a whole lot of different stuff. “We want him to feel like we’re counting on him. He has done a lot of good things and we feel comfortable using everything he’s got. The footwork and the way he has to run plays is difficult. He has gotten better every year. “I still don’t think people see what Deon can do.” — Brian Foster

ished second in the Big East but lost in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA playoffs.

FORGET ABOUT 2012 Also, the coaching staff shudders at the thought of a repeat of last year’s dilemma of wondering “what if” because front-line players such as Cameron Gardner, Roderick Dunston, Molik Harris, Taylor Finch, Hunter Parris, Clinton Whitaker and

2013 ROSTER No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 20 22 24 26 28 30 31 33 34 40 44 46 48 50 51 52 53 55 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 68 70 71 72 74 75 76 77 78 81 82 86 87 88 90

Player Tyheed Harris Arlando Turner Ismael Rodriguez Damien Brown Zack Foster Molik Harris Tahj Deans John Gulliford Keshun White Tevin Hedgepeth Kendall Parker Richard Hall Deon Lavender Adrian Richardson Taylor Finch Antonio Palacios Frank Hampton Zimonia Knight Grant Jones Jaquay Mitchell Clinton Whitaker Michael Taylor Alonte Thomas Tyler Mills Sebastian O’Neal Seth Peyatt Tyler Tucker Devin Denton Nick Owens Wayne Pittman Dylan Langley Cody Brown Demarcus Lucas Francisco Trejo Chason Severini Knox Cowles Chase Gupton Malik Braswell Montrell Powell Brandon Lewis Braxton Riggins David Salgado Hunter Parris Aramahs Martin Reggie Tanner Boris Burt Ryan Ashley Jared Johnson Romelo Perry Josh Brown Corey Schulz Justin Alford Eason VanderMeulen


Ht. 5-8 5-8 5-9 6-0 6-1 5-11 6-1 6-0 5-7 5-9 5-11 5-10 5-11 5-8 5-7 5-7 5-6 5-5 5-7 5-8 5-3 5-7 5-11 5-9 5-3 5-7 5-7 5-10 5-9 5-11 6-0 5-9 5-10 5-11 5-8 5-9 5-7 5-7 5-8 6-2 6-2 5-10 6-0 6-1 5-9 6-2 5-11 6-0 6-0 5-10 6-3 5-6 6-1

Wt. 145 178 170 166 150 242 181 186 145 150 175 174 177 205 185 160 160 165 160 147 140 145 210 180 198 165 175 194 180 240 195 205 185 215 195 210 177 174 230 270 290 218 195 312 170 295 220 205 205 180 251 135 155

Yr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr So. Sr. So. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. So. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. 12 Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr.

QUICK FACTS Mascot: Firebirds Colors: Scarlet and navy Conference: 3-A Big East Head coach: Brian Foster (16th season) 2012 record: 8-3 overall (1st round 3-AA playoffs), 4-1 Big East (2nd) Top returning passer: Deon Lavender (90-43-2, 727 yds., 11 TDs) Top returning rusher: Taylor Finch (519 yds., 6 TDs) Top returning receiver: Richard Hall (15 rec., 187 yds., 4 TDs)

Francisco Trejo were lost at critical junctures because of injuries. Harris, Finch, Whitaker, Parris and Trejo return. Pivotal is keeping them healthy as well as a breakout year from 5-foot-11, 177-pound senior Deon Lavender, who will be starting at quarterback for the fourth year. Foster rates Lavender as one of the league’s premier players and just hopes his statistics will finally reflect that status in 2013. “The two toughest things in high school football are being a head coach and a quarterback,” said Foster, who has experienced both (quarterback in high school). “I want (Lavender) to feel like we are counting on him.” Foster also indicates the Firebirds will be counting big-time upon Harris as well as impressive sophomore Tahj Deans (6-1, 181-pound wide receiver and defensive back).

LAVENDER, HARRIS “He’s smart, fast and can move,” Foster described the 5-11, 242-pound Harris. “His explosiveness up front is something we’ve missed the last few years.” Of Deans, Southern Nash’s head coach remarked: “He could be the real deal.” Lavender is expected to multi-task under center, and his duties include handing the football off to a stable of backs in the double-wing scheme. Juniors Grant Jones and Zimonia Knight, described as “good, talented football players,” are ticketed to start in the backfield along with tree-stump Sebastian O’Neal, a 5-3, 198-pound senior fullback who started last season. However, Finch has recovered from an ACL injury and hard-nosed senior Richard Hall has proven he can handle backfield duties. “We will play a lot of people,” Foster noted. Hall, Deans and veteran tight ends Corey Schulz, a senior, and junior Alonte Thomas loom as top receiving threats. Forming the frontline will be senior returnees Brandon

Senior Taylor Finch, Southern Nash’s top returning rusher, digs for yardage against Bertie at the Nash County jamboree Aug. 15 at Nash Central. Scott Jones | Special to the Times

Lewis (6-2, 270) and Braxton Riggins (6-2, 290) at tackles, junior returning starter Boris Burt and senior returnee Nick Owens at guards and senior Montrell Powell at center. Powell started defensively last season. “With what we do on offense, we don’t have to be talented but we have to be smart,” Foster commented. “And when we throw the ball, we have to take advantage of it.”

DEFENSE BETTER Defensively, Harris is joined by senior Wayne Pittman at end. Pittman, said Foster, can be really good. Trejo is the probable starter at nose tackle — where Schulz, Burt, senior John Gulliford and 6-1, 312-pound junior newcomer Aramahs Martin are available. Hall and Thomas are situated at outside linebacker, while senior Devin Denton and junior Kendall Parker will man two of the inside slots. The other will be shared by Owens and junior Adrian Richardson. Of Hall and Thomas, Foster responded: “They are the kind of kids you want to coach.” Secondary possibilities are numerous, where Deans will be a fixture at safety. Senior Frank Hampton, Knight, veteran senior Keshun White and Harris could see secondary action. Also, senior Antonio Palacios can be inserted at outside linebacker, allowing Hall to shift to safety. “The defense should be better,” Foster evaluated. “Getting Molik back is huge; he’s our best defensive player.” Quality kickoffs and place-kicking are expected from junior soccer player

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Ismael Rodriguez. Parker, the back-up quarterback, is the punter. Hall, Deans and Knight will be utilized as kick returners. “Speed wise, we are not quite as fast (as last season),” Foster assessed. “Physically, we can be really good. But we know nobody is going to back down. People are going to go after our throats on Friday night. If we’re not on our game, we’re going to lose.”

STAYING HEALTHY Foster reasons staying healthy is an obvious key for

all Big East members . But he emphasizes he’s “a whole lot more content” these days that his Firebirds “will pretty much do everything they can” to be successful each playing date. And, yes, Foster believes Southern Nash can win the conference championship. “But our goal every year is to win the state championship,” he reminded. “And you don’t have to win the conference to be the state champion.” | 265-7819

Southern Nash senior Richard Hall (14) fends off tacklers during the Nash County jamboree Aug. 15 at Nash Central.

Scott Jones | Special to the Times

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 12A

Fike ready to reap benefits in Nelson’s 3rd season Young but talented Golden Demons seek early confidence

son said of West. Virgil will provide backup, along with D.J. Daniels. At corner, junior Sedarius Williams, Evans, Shakuan Daniels, Speight, Ellis and kids in our offseason conHopkins provide the first By Jimmy Lewis ditioning program for two line of defense against opStaff Writer years, I think you’ll see a big posing wide receivers. As third-year Fike High difference,” Nelson said. “We feel pretty good head coach Tom Nelson is Any differences will begin three deep at corner,” apt to say, the days of Aug. to bear themselves out FriNelson assessed. “It’s not 1 signaling the start of N.C. day, when the Demons travsomething that we’ve had.” High School Athletic Assoel to 2-A Northern Carolina The placekicking duties ciation football practices are Conference member Bunn. will fall full time to junior long gone. Tanner McCarthy, a player TWO-QUARTERBACK THREAT who did not miss an extra For the first time in the point in junior varsity play Nelson regime, Fike, owner last season. He saw spot of a 2-8 record and 2-3 Big duty at the varsity level, East ledger last season, will including the second day of have not one, but two quarthe Southern Nash game terbacks it can insert at the that was delayed by lighthelm of the up-tempo, triplening. DATE OPPONENT option offense. A newcomer, junior AusSophomore quarterback D.J. Daniels, right, gets off a pass against Louisburg in Fike’s jambo- tin Bean, will likely assume Aug. 23 @ Bunn Both candidates bring ree Aug. 16. Brad Coville | Times Aug. 29 @ Roanoke Rapids different skill sets to the the punting duties. Evans Sept. 6 Kinston position, with 6-foot-2 and Williams are slated to Sept. 13 Beddingfield sophomore D.J. Daniels and running this offense.” stead and Hines. Junior Lar- split time at punt returner Sept. 20 @ Smithfield-Selma 5-8 junior Joe Ellis expected ry Taybron, who returned In the backfield, six playand kick returner. Speight Sept. 27 @ South Johnston to take snaps through nonto Fike from Beddingfield is and Shakuan Daniels will ers are vying for two spots. KEY Oct. 4 OPEN conference play. also in the mix, along with Junior Anthony Evans is the share in returning kicks. Oct. 11 Southern Nash* Daniels, a heralded athDemons’ leading returning PERFORMER Junior Will Anderson and EARLY CONFIDENCE NEEDED Oct. 18 @ Nash Central* lete out of Toisnot Middle, sophomore Jylik Farmer. rusher with 225 yards and Two early road games at Oct. 25 Rocky Mount* possesses exceptional arm The run-stopping onus three TDs and will be exBunn and Roanoke RapNov. 1 @ Northern Nash* strength and can create pos- pected to shoulder a considwill fall to linemen such as ids will test the mettle of Nov. 8 Hunt* itive plays out of chaos in the erable load. Outside of Evsophomore Quintoni EatNelson’s Demons early. He pocket. Ellis, who will line mon. A rotation of Elliott, ans, sophomore A.J. Hines, doesn’t shy away from the * 3-A Big East Conference game up at receiver when Daniels sophomore Lavaris Speight, Holder and Williford from need to win football games is behind center, is a smart, the offensive line is exsenior Hunter Cockrell, steady decision maker with pected to handle the second — early and often. senior Tykeem McRae and “At the end of the day, the football in his hands. interior spot. senior Geronne Yelverton Voluntary workouts in the that’s what it is,” Nelson “D.J. has an above-aver“We’re really hoping that could see carries in the efsummer are now permitted, age arm for a high school Quintoni can be kind of the said of the importance of fort to replace the workload which serves to speed the quarterback,” Nelson said. constant there and then ro- the won-loss tally. “We of departed fullback Jorelle transition process between “He is tall, rangy and sees tate some of our other guys need to get off to a good Farmer, who amassed 1,104 coaching regimes. With that things well. He is smart and yards and 10 TDs last seastart. We need to be able in there and spell them,” in mind and luxuries that a to go on the road for two savvy and the kids like him, son. Nelson said. Jeremy Vick Nelson-coached Fike team respect him and play hard Outside of the philosophy weeks and be successful. “These next couple of has yet to enjoy at the quarfor him. Joe, the same thing. weeks are going to tell a shift up front, the lineback- Hopefully, that will just terback position, the 2013 snowball through the seaThe rest of the team, they ing corps and secondary lot about who is getting the Senior • RB/LB version of the Golden Dereally like, respect and work lion’s share of the reps,” Nelreturns virtually intact, Vick son.” 5-foot-11, 252 pounds mons stands to be the most Nelson described the hard for him. That’s a big and Cockrell will patrol son shared. Returns for senior season as the the middle of the field at physically capable to handle key for your quarterback 2012 Demons as a group At wide receiver, senior Alleader of the Fike defense at midthe rigors of the regularand both of them possess linebacker, with junior Beau that lacked assurance. cindor Winstead returns as dle linebacker. Already a stalwart season schedule, including They were outscored by a that. Joe is a magician with Sharpe and sophomore Fike’s leading pass catcher on that side of the ball, issues on the taxing five-game stretch the ball in his hands. He’s 2-to-1 margin (88-44) in the Scott Feltman in reserve. with 10 grabs for 192 yards the offensive line will force him inthat is 3-A Big East Conferfirst quarter of games. probably the best tripleMcCray and junior Reid and a TD. Winstead will lead to duty at one of the two offensive ence play. “We weren’t a bad footoption quarterback that Harris will be stationed at a corps of wideouts that are tackle spots. Will be one of four “Now that we’ve had the ball team last year, but we we’ve had since we’ve been outside linebacker. supplemented by senior Alnew faces on the Fike offensive line, including senior John Holder, just lacked confidence,” he The secondary enjoys len Hopkins, and Ellis. said. “We have worked hard considerable depth, and Nelson said Ellis may have who was lost for the season to a every day at winning and the best hands on the roster. knee injury on last year’s opening was further bolstered by series against D.H. Conley. being confident. Hopefully the move of Fike’s leading Hopkins serves as a sturdy tackler last season — junior through our physical conblocker in the running “He has as much explosion as anybody Ian West — from outside ditioning and our weight game. that we’ve coached. He’s a strong kid, training, that kind of stuff is linebacker to safety. At 6-1, junior Treavon No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. he works hard, is a leader and has really going to take care of itself.” “We’re hoping that he Virgil, up from the junior 1 Anthony Evans RB/DB 5-8 150 Jr. sacrificed coming over there for the can kind of shore up our varsity, can win jump balls 2 Shakuan Daniels WR/DB 5-8 150 So. team to help us on the offensive line be- secondary and stay away | 265-7807 | in single coverage. Other 3 Joe Ellis 5-8 145 Jr. QB/WR/DB cause we need help there. But he’s done from any big plays,” NelTwitter: @JimmyLewisWT options are sophomore 4 Tanner McCarthy K 5-8 163 Jr. Shakuan Daniels and junior a good job.” — Tom Nelson 5 Braderick Isom WR/DB 5-8 135 Jr. 6 Alcindor Winstead WR/LB 5-11 179 Sr. Braderick Isom. 7 Sedarius Williams WR/DB 5-8 187 Jr. However, any optimism 8 Trevon Virgil WR/DB 6-1 150 Jr. around the skill positions at jayvees, and so it took some 9 Quamel Pearce WR/LB 5-11 140 Jr. Fike must be tempered with time to adjust to him not 10 Geronne Yelverton RB/DB 5-7 154 Sr. four new starters on the of- being there. So him being 11 DJ Daniels QB/DB 6-2 183 So. fensive line. Senior Bennie back is a good thing.” 12 Hunter Cockrell RB/LB 5-10 188 Sr. Elliott is the lone returnee, 14 Austin Bean K 5-10 160 Jr. MORE SPEED AT END 21 Lavaris Speight RB/DB 5-7 151 So. with senior John Holder TE/DB 6-0 161 Jr. 22 Ian West As David Pridgen begins making his return to the DeWR/DB 23 Allen Hopkins 5-8 150 Sr. his first full season as Fike’s mons lineup after missing WR/DB 24 Coby Barnes 5-5 120 Jr. defensive coordinator, a the 2012 season following 25 Ranzell Bassa RB/LB 5-10 180 Jr. paradigm shift is underway a knee injury suffered on 31 Malcolm Ellis RB/DB 5-6 133 Jr. the first series of the season with the Demons front four. 32 A.J. Hines RB/LB 6-0 215 So. In the effort to amp up the against D.H. Conley. 34 Larry Taybron TE/LB 5-11 200 Jr. 40 Tykeem McRae RB/LB 5-11 190 Sr. pressure on opposing quarJunior Jalal Jalal, junior 42 Reid Harris TE/LB 5-10 160 Jr. terbacks, speed will take Jackson Williford and se44 Scott Feltman TE/LB 5-10 180 So. nior Jeremy Vick round out precedence over strength on 50 Will Anderson OL/LB 6-3 205 Jr. the edges. The ends will also the likely starting quintet 51 Beau Sharpe OL/LB 6-0 194 Jr. be asked to line up wider, up front. Vick, already one 52 Jeremy Vick 5-11 252 Sr. RB/LB which will put more presof Fike’s best defenders at 55 Quintoni Eatmon OL/DL 6-3 225 So. sure on defensive tackles to linebacker, will attempt to 56 Daniel Klein 5-11 195 Sr. OL/DL 58 Jylik Farmer TE/LB 5-10 170 So. stand firm against the run. contribute on the offensive 62 Alex Williams OL/DL 6-2 215 So. “Our big guys in the midside out of necessity. 64 Jackson Williford OL/DL 6-0 265 Jr. dle are going to have to play The absence of the 6-1, 67 Jason Neal OL/DL 5-10 167 Sr. tough so folks can’t power 276-pound Holder, dubbed 71 Jalal Jalal OL/DL 5-11 206 Jr. the ball at us,” Nelson said. the program’s strongest 72 Bennie Elliott OL/DL 6-4 269 Sr. “But I hope that’s going to player by Nelson, was 73 Maquise Spruill OL/DL 5-8 280 Sr. get us more speed on the particularly damaging last 79 John Holder OL/DL 6-1 276 Sr. field.” season. 81 Jalen Eason TE/LB 5-8 155 Jr. 84 Josh Mattocks WR/DB 5-11 140 Jr. Indeed, the speed mer“It really sent our whole 87 Dequalyn Dawson WR/DB 5-7 130 Jr. chants getting time at the program into a tailspin,” Senior Hunter Cockrell, running the ball against Louisburg in 88 Brandon Lee WR/LB 5-10 170 Sr. the Fike jamboree Aug. 16, will see action on defense and ofend positions include ofNelson recalled. “We had fensive skill players in Win- fense for the Golden Demons this season. Brad Coville | Times to rob some kids from the



FIKE HISTORY Mascot: Golden Demons Colors: Old gold and blue Conference: 3-A Big East Head coach: Tom Nelson (3rd season) 2012 record: 2-9 overall, 2-3 Big East (4th) School Beddingfield Bertie Bunn Chapel Hill C.B. Aycock Clayton D.H. Conley Durham


Record* 22-12 6-9 0-2 3-0 7-4 0-2 4-4 10-12-1

Durham Hillside Eastern Wayne Eliz. City Northeastern Fayetteville Byrd Fayetteville Pine Forest Fayetteville Smith Fayetteville Sanford Garner Gastonia Ashley Goldsboro Greensboro Dudley Greensboro Smith Greenville Rose Harnett Central Henderson Vance Hertford County High Point Central Hoke County

4-0 3-3 7-1 1-3 1-4 1-0 5-6 2-0 1-0 23-17-2 1-1 1-0 3-9 2-2 1-1 1-9 1-1 0-2

Hunt Jacksonville Jacksonville Northside 0-2 Jacksonville White Oak Kinston Manteo Nash Central New Bern Northeast Guilford Northern Nash Raleigh Millbrook Raleigh Wakefield Richmond County Rocky Mount Scotland County Smithfield-Selma South Central South Johnston

14-27 4-2 1-1 19-11 1-0 4-7 7-1 0-1 20-10 1-1 0-2 0-1 20-32-2 0-1 8-0 4-0 4-2

South Durham Southern Nash South Mecklenburg Hope Mills South View SouthWest Edgecombe Tarboro Triton Washington West Carteret West Craven Wilmington Hoggard Wilmington New Hanover Winston-Salem Atkins Winston-Salem Carver Winston-Salem Parkland Winston-Salem Reynolds * All-time records are not complete.

0-1 12-10 1-0 0-1 6-8 1-6 2-2 6-4 0-1 0-2 7-0 0-6-2 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-4-1

HEAD COACHES Name Years Paul Marklin 1958-63 Henry Trevathan 1964-69 Gary Whitman 1970 Bob Paroli 1971-75 Dick Knox 1976-77 Maxie Williams 1978-80 Gus Andrews 1981-84 Tim Karrs 1985-86 William Huffstetler 1987-90 Eddie Summerlin 1991-94 Richie Pridgen 1995-2008 Kim Brown 2009-2010 Tom Nelson 2011-present

Record 26-34-2 45-22-1 7-3 35-11-7 14-8-1 13-18 30-13 11-9 18-22 14-22 80-83 4-18 6-16

Thursday, August 22, 2013 13A

Panthers look for order amid realignment chaos North Johnston finds new home in rugged 2-A EPC By Randy Jones Staff Writer

KENLY — North Johnston coach Scott Meserve takes full blame for the Panthers’ 2012 varsity football season. “It was a sophomore slump,” the third-year coach said of his team’s 3-8 performance in which all eight losses came by at least 30 points. “I felt I was horrible last year. I told the staff that. I told the parents that and I told the players that. And I’ve learned from my mistakes.

2013 SCHEDULE DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 29 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

OPPONENT @ Louisburg @ Bunn Corinth Holders Princeton @ Lakewood @ North Lenoir OPEN Beddingfield* Farmville Central* @ North Pitt* SW Edgecombe* @ Washington*

2013 ROSTER No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 14 15 20 21 25 28 43 45 50 51 52 55 56 60 67 72 73 77 80 88 90 99

* 2-A Eastern Plains Conference game

“This year, I’m ahead of the game in every aspect. Whether it be technique stuff on the field, scheming stuff here for practice and games or in the office with administrative stuff — I’m far beyond where I have been the past two years. Just look at us. We can practice, we can lift and we can watch film in the time allowed. Why? Because it’s organized. And that organization here in the office will lead to better organization on the field.” That organization begins Friday in the Panthers’ season opener at Louisburg. Spend a day at North Johnston and it becomes apparent that Meserve and his staff have transformed their program into a welloiled machine that expects to do much better in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference than its 2-5 mark from the 2-A Northern Carolina Conference last year. The players show up

Player David Kirk Jayvon Booker Montie Walker C.J. Jackson Trey Daniels Clay Johnson Laszlo Upchurch Ricardo Sanchez A.J. Edwards Bryant McDougald Aaron Kopp Ian Browser Gregory Bryant Daniel Reyes Quamel Kenion Chris Gonzalez Markell Bunch Devin Walker Austin Rains Tanner Snipes Jacob Cuddington Ethan Holland Jacob Wall Garrett Jernigan Yuseplin Acosta Cy Daughtry Ethan Williams Bradley Barbour Gregory Castle Benjamin Howell Bailey Bass Danny Mitchell Bradley Boyette

QUICK FACTS Mascot: Panthers Colors: Red and silver Conference: 2-A Eastern Plains Head coach: Scott Meserve (3rd season) 2012 record: 3-8 overall, 2-5 NCC (T5th) promptly and the talk is of what needs to be done to improve. The players have already seen film of the previous day’s practice or scrimmage with the installation of Huddle technology that allows all players and coaches to get film to their phones at any time. “It’s phenomenal,” Meserve said of the technology. “The kids are texting the coaches, asking questions or pointing out things that they need to work on. They are learning every day, getting rid of mistakes faster and they understand what we are saying faster.” All of this, Meserve says,


Ht. 5-9 6-4 5-9 6-1 6-2 5-11 6-2 5-9 5-8 6-2 6-0 6-2 5-11 5-11 6-0 5-8 5-7 5-10 5-9 6-4 6-4 5-11 5-11 5-11 6-1 6-1 6-2 5-10 6-3 5-10 5-11 6-1 6-0

Wt. 150 185 155 155 170 170 170 145 210 150 170 165 180 155 205 150 140 170 150 225 250 195 190 195 265 245 260 275 265 145 165 200 205

Yr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. So. Fr. So. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. So. So. So. Jr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr.

North Johnston slotback Trey Daniels (5), running against North Duplin in the Corinth Holders jamboree Aug. 16, has moved back to his natural position after playing quarterback for the Panthers as a junior in 2012. Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

no experience at the position. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder performed admirably, including completing 4 of 4 passes for a whopping 200 yards and three touchdowns when NJ upset defending Northern Carolina champion Roanoke Rapids is vital with the young ros- in September. But Daniels won’t be unter that features 15 seniors, der center for the Panthers 13 juniors, five sophoin his senior year, moving mores and one freshman. A bonus of the preseason back to his natural wide receiver slot. has been the opportunity “That was my goal comfor that inexperienced cast ing out of last season, to be to play seven different opsure to get these guys in all ponents, including such the right places,” Meseve schools as 4-A power J.H. said. “To let them use their Rose, East Wake, AydenGrifton and West Carteret. abilities to their max.” Quarterback duties have The first four-team scrimmage came just nine shifted to Montie Walker, a days after the start of prac- 5-foot-9, 155-pound senior who is adept at the multices, the earliest Meserve tiple looks on offense that has ever done so. the Panthers plan to impleAll in an effort to get ment. much-needed playing “We are running out time together, which will, of the spread offense,” the coach added, lead to a Meserve said. “We want much-improved Panthers’ to use it to keep defenses squad on the field Friday guessing what is next.” nights in the fall. Daniels could still see ac“The foundation is set for tion behind center to shake the future and the future things up and senior Aaron is bright,” Meserve said. Kopp (6-foot, 170) could “The potential is there for this year, but we are going see action there as well. The running backs into be so young. It’s a very talented group, but young. clude senior Clay Johnson All it needs is game experi- (5-11, 170), junior Quamel Kenion (6-foot, 205) and ence.” sophomore A.J. Edwards In the right place (5-8, 210). As a junior, Trey Daniels The offensive line will be was called upon to take the a strength, Meserve said. reigns of the Panthers’ of“Offensive line will be fense at quarterback with huge for us,” he said. “It’s one of the smartest offensive lines we’ve had in a long time. Those guys have great GPAs and it’s junior, sophomore, senior, sophomore, junior. So they will be together and learning for a long time.” Jacob Cuddington, who is getting looks from N.C. State, Duke and East Carolina, is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior tackle. The other tackle is senior Greg Castle (6-3, 265). Sophomores Cy Daughtry (6-1, 245) and Ethan Williams (6-2, 260) are the guards. At center is senior Tanner Snipes. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was a running back a year ago, but moved because the team needed him in the middle.

game experience they’ll be OK.” Snipes will be at linebacker, along with Kenion and Edwards. A big piece of the linebacking corps will be junior Ethan Holland (5-11, 195). “I tell people that there are good football players and smart football players,” Meserve said. “Last year, Seth knew the game. He knew what I was thinking. And Ethan Holland is just about there as a junior, understanding what I’m thinking and why I’m doing stuff.” The defensive backs include Walker, Daniels, Johnson, Upchurch and Greg Bryant (5-11, 180). With some decent height, Meserve said he hopes to cause matchup issues with opponents’ wideouts. The defensive line features many of the same from the offensive side, with Cuddington, Daughtry, Williams and Castle. Javon Booker, who also will be a receiver, lines up at a defensive end position and could wreak havoc. The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder is quick off the edge and very strong pushing off linemen. Junior kicker/punter C.J. Jackson “came out of nowhere” to instantly give the Panthers’ special teams a boost, Meserve said. Freshman Ricardo Sanchez also has shown promise as well and could start the season as the top placekicker. “They are both weapons for us,” the coach said. | 265-8117 |


Trey Daniels Senior • WR/FS 6-foot-2, 170 pounds Three-year starter for the Panthers who saw action mostly at quarterback in his junior campaign, rushing for over 200 yards and throwing for 400-plus yards. Will move back to his natural position on offense as a wide receiver to allow North Johnston to use his athletic ability and speed to produce large chunks of yardage. A captain for the second year in a row, Daniels will also anchor the secondary at free safety where his size makes for bad matchups for opponents’ receivers and his ability to hit will keep many from coming his direction.

“Trey is an explosive athlete who can, and will, play multiple positions for us so we can be sure to get the ball in his hands because when we do, good things happen. We want to get him in open space where he is good. His explosiveness leads to excitement. He’s a quiet leader both offensively and defensively who lets his play do the talking.” — Scott Meserve

Twitter: @RandyJonesWT

Linebackers the key

Junior Jacob Cuddington, making a tackle against North Duplin in the Aug. 16 jamboree at Corinth Holders, is expected to be one of North Johnston’s top defenders this season.

Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Finding a way to get the linebackers up to speed will go a long way in making the Panthers’ defense better than it was in 2012, when it gave up an average of 43 points a game. “Defensively, we’ll be a three-man front,” Meserve said. “It’s going to be tough to replace the (2013 graduates) Seth Peeles, the Devan Larsons. That’s going to be the hard part. Once we get a little bit more

Senior Montie Walker will start at quarterback for North Johnston this season. Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times

Thursday, August 22, 2013 14A

New Cobb era dawns for SouthWest Edgecombe First-year head coach inherits a veteran squad


By Tom Ham Senior Staff Writer

PINETOPS — Not hardly the usual but definitely not a new look. How about a hybrid version? New head coach Jonathan Cobb, approaching his 30th birthday (Aug. 31), describes his first SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity football team as “like a hybrid model.” “It’s an unique situation,” the son of retired and legendary football coach Raymond Cobb explained. “We have a new coach but structure is still in place. There’s a lot of work we have to put into it. But from a program standpoint, we are moving on in much the same direction.” Cobb succeeds his father in leading the Cougars into the revamped 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. Seventeen players return from Raymond Cobb’s final edition that posted a 7-5 record (playoff loss to Bunn became a win by forfeit) and reached the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. The 36-player varsity roster lists 25 seniors and un-

First-year head coach Jonathan Cobb talks to his SouthWest Edgecombe players during the Tarboro jamboree on Aug. 16. Randy Jones | Times


The defense will reflect the philosophy of veteran assistant coach Jeff Gould, who has been tabbed the defensive coordinator. The wishbone remains the base offense, but Cobb warns the Cougars will, yes, throw more and force opposing defenses to prepare for far more looks — the I-formation, spread, pro and twin sets, etc. “It’s going to be a mixed bag,” Cobb acknowledged with a grin. Easing the transition, said Cobb, is the fact he coached the current senior class at the junior varsity level in 2009 — and that squad went 10-0 and never trailed the entire season. “We are very experienced in certain areas,” Cobb noted. “Our skill players and

head is available at halfback. Wooten, last season, rushed for over 300 yards KEY and completed 33 of 84 for 673 yards and six PERFORMER passes touchdowns. The coaching staff expects a hike in those numbers his senior season. “We expect a lot from him,” Cobb assured. “He’s very athletic. He can hand off, run and throw. He would be our best receiver if that was where he played. He will be used a lot.” But influencing the statistics will be a young offensive line of sophomore Kevin Parker at center, Devontrell Hyman juniors Brandon Jones and 300-pounder JaQuez Moody at guards and junior GeSenior • FB/DE rardo Gayton-Ledezma and 5-foot-9, 225 pounds senior Greg Keel, a transfer from Tarboro, at tackles. Counted upon as a second-year Only Jones has varsity expestarter for first-year head coach rience. Jonathan Cobb. Rushed for 391 Fabrion Bandy, a 6-foot seyards last season in splitting nior, will be starting a third backfield duties. Strong, quick and season at tight end. Veteran difficult to block at defensive end. senior Devante Williams will Coaching staff rates him as the see action at the position squad’s most competitive player along with 6-3, 200-pound and definitely the strongest. Casophomore Quantellus Norpable of playing any position. wood. “I want to start on both offense and defense — both of them win games. I’m a power runner and play outside contain on defense. We’re excited about Coach Cobb’s first season. We just need to play hard, play together and play as a team. I think we’re going to go far this year.” — Devontrell Hyman

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 15 21 22 24 32 33 44 50 52 53 54 55 56 60 65 66 68 70 71 73 74 78 82/85

Player Marcus Williams Kalumbus Dickens Tyquavious Wooten Katrell Whitehead Devontrell Hyman Quentavious Revis Quatavious Harris Quantellas Norwood Jarrett Mobley Isaiah Lewis Stephen Sharpe Malik Battle Fabrion Bandy Jadarius Wright Jadavian Richardson Barry Smith Devante Williams Cal Sagadraca Wardell Clark Khalil Wilkins Cole Pierce Jeffery Wilkins Caleb Washington Eason Harrington Brandon Jones JaQuez Moody Jeremy Calhoun Brandon Moore Greg Keel KaDaris Joyner Kevin Parker Asa Eller Oliver Washington Gerardo Gaytan-Ledezma Joseph Hall


Ht. 5-10 5-10 6-1 5-10 5-9 5-10 5-11 6-2 6-0 6-0 5-10 5-9 6-1 5-7 5-8 5-8 5-11 6-0 5-8 6-2 6-0 6-2 6-2 5-11 5-10 6-3 5-11 5-8 6-0 5-9 6-1 5-8 6-0 5-11 5-10

Wt. 175 155 175 165 225 173 176 185 155 171 147 158 205 124 168 175 235 187 160 205 156 190 200 170 220 300 178 188 251 285 260 160 375 241 163

Yr. So. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. So. So. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr. Sr. So. Jr. Sr. Jr. Sr.


Defensively, Hyman is strong, quick and hard to block at end. Norwood has been solid while senior Isaiah Lewis, a three-year starter, has been hampered by a hamstring injury. Senior Khalil Wilkins is experienced. At nose tackle, senior losophy.” Adopted has been a three- 375-pounder Oliver Washington is not only strong but, prong platform: (1) get off blocks and tackles; (2) inten- said Cobb, immovable. Keel, sity, meaning one heartbeat Moody and junior Brandon Moore are available. and a passionate display of A hard-nosed linebacking toughness; and (3) unity as corps is triggered by senior in a family environment or three-year starter Eason togetherness. “I like the current running Harrington, who is complemented by Bandy, Jones and through the first week of Williams. practice,” Cobb declared. In the secondary, cornerWOOTEN BACK AT QB back Whitehead is ticketed SouthWest junior halfback Barry Smith looks to rebound The offense will again be to start a third season, while from an injury that halted a promising sophomore season in directed by senior Tyquavisenior strong corner Shaun 2012. Randy Jones | Times ous Wooten, who will be Harris is a two-year defenstarting at quarterback for folks in the offensive backsive starter. Harris roamed derclassmen elevated from field are all back. We are ex- the third year. Junior fullat free safety in 2012. Senior a junior varsity that, said perienced at linebacker and back Devontrell Hyman Jadavian Richardson bids Jonathan Cobb, was much in the secondary defensively. started as a sophomore and to start for a third season, more talented than its 5-4 rushed for 391 yards last But it’s like Coach Gould while Wooten and Williams record implies. season. Hyman could split said: ‘We would a whole have impressed at strong SouthWest christens the time with sophomore dandy safety and free safety, relot rather have to create Jonathan Cobb era Friday Marcus Williams. Junior spectively. night with a rugged, season- linemen than skill players.’ Our linemen are young and Barry Smith started at halfCobb expresses confiopening road assignment show promise. The big thing back last season but was dence the kicking game will against Southern Nash of the 3-A Big East Conference. early is adjusting to the new sidelined in the Beddingfield be less shaky with senior game. Senior Katrell White- Cal Sagadraca, a soccer defensive scheme and phi-

Sophomore Marcus Williams (1), looking for running room against South Central in the Tarboro jamboree Aug. 16, could be a factor in the SouthWest Edgecombe offensive backfield this season. Randy Jones | Times

Senior Tyquavious Wooten, looking to pass in the Tarboro jamboree Aug. 16, will be a three-year starter at quarterback for the Cougars. Randy Jones | Times

player, and sophomore Jarrett Mobley doing the placement chores and the athletic Devante Williams responsible for punts and kickoffs. Cobb is especially high on Mobley’s potential. Marcus Williams, Smith, Wooten and Hyman loom as top kick return threats.

UNDERSIZED, QUICK Cobb describes his Cougars as undersized but quick. “Thirty of the 36 can run,” Cobb contended. “We have five two-way starters but should have good depth by the end of the season. We feel like we’ve got some talent.” In the Eastern Plains preseason head coaches poll, SouthWest was tabbed to deadlock Beddingfield for third place and finish behind North Pitt and newcomer Washington. “Our goal is first,” Cobb firmly said. “By conference time, if the offensive line grows up and the defense adjusts, we could become a great football team. We have six games to get there.” Cobb has to establish his presence as well. “I have to earn their trust, organize, motivate and put them in position to be successful,” Cobb acknowledged. “It’s one day at a time. I’m sure I will be the jayvee coach to them, and I can accept that. But after this senior class is gone, I think I will become Coach Cobb.” | 265-7819

QUICK FACTS Mascot: Cougars Colors: Columbia blue and navy Conference: 2-A Eastern Plains Head coach: Jonathan Cobbs (1st season) 2012 record: 6-6 overall (2nd round 2-AA playoffs), 4-2 EPC (3rd) Top returning passer: Tyquavious Wooten (86-32-3, 625 yds., 6 TDs) Top returning rusher: Devontrell Hyman (416 yds., 3 TDs) Top returning receiver: Fabrion Bandy (3 rec., 53 yds., 0 TDs)

2013 SCHEDULE DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 30 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

OPPONENT @ Southern Nash North Edgecombe Greene Central Tarboro @ Rocky Mount OPEN @ East Carteret @ North Pitt* Washington* @ Farmville Central* @ North Johnston* Beddingfield*

* 2-A Eastern Plains Conference game

Thursday, August 22, 2013 15A

Talent-rich Bruins wary of injuries derailing season Beddingfield has just 32, but lots of ability on its roster By Paul Durham Sports Editor

Ask Beddingfield High head coach Tyrone Johnson what he thinks of his football team this season and watch the grin slowly spread across his face. With a little more than a week of preseason conditioning practice — and with a summer full of drills — behind him, Johnson was decidedly optimistic about the 2013 Bruins during an interview Aug. 9. “I like my team,” Johnson contended. “I know where we are. I know what we’re about. I like what I see. We are doing some things a little different and I’m really happy with where we’re at right now. I could be happier but I’m not upset with where we are.” But unlike the 2012 preseason when Johnson was just as optimistic about the Bruins’ chances, a year later he’s more guarded about his team’s chances as they begin a new four-year stretch in the reconfigured 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. Johnson’s wariness stems mostly from seeing injuries ravage his squad last fall, turning a 4-2 start into five consecutive losses to close the campaign at 4-7, including a 53-13 first-round playoff loss to EPC and N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A runner-up Tarboro. Factor in a smaller roster and defensive inexperience and Johnson’s smile fades to reality when discussing the upcoming season, which begins Friday at home against Greene Central. “It was very disappointing and it left a bad taste in my mouth for a long time but it’s a new season, a new team,” Johnson said of last year. “I can’t linger on it. I know it’s there and I’m hoping it won’t be a repeat, but that schedule we’re playing and this conference that we’re in? It can be another four-game losing streak and we might not be a bad team.” Injuries would be even more painful this year as the Bruins go into the season with 32 on the varsity roster, a situation the 50-year-old Mississippi native revealed keeps him awake some nights. “I’m different during the season because I can’t sleep, I’m thinking all the time,” said Johnson, a former East Carolina University defensive back. “The numbers are not where you want them but I’m finally OK with it because that’s it. Looking at last year’s roster, all that are supposed to be here are here. I mean, that’s it.”

2013 ROSTER No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 20 24 30 33 34 40 42 47 50 52 54 55 56 57 62 66 70 72 80 84

Name Chavius Collins Kelvin King Kavaje Ellis Savonte Hilliard Ajay Williams Wes Beamon Hakeem Speight Steven Wilkes Jalen Davis Javius Nixon Deontay Cannady Raqwan Blackston David Bryant Keshai Lindsey Taylor Webster Daquan Briggs Jalen Honey Miguel Brown Carlos Burks Ronquavius Demetrius Angelo Jones Coyee Farmer Deondre Davis Garrett Pittman Nigel Barnes Matt Fess Antonia Barnes Christian Medeiros Tony McNeil Amorris Liles Derrick Lawrence John Harris


Ht. 5-9 5-8 6-1 5-8 6-4 5-10 5-9 5-10 5-7 5-10 5-9 5-9 5-10 5-10 5-10 5-9 6-2 6-4 6-1 5-9 5-8 6-0 5-9 5-10 6-1 5-10 6-0 6-2 6-3 6-1 6-0 5-7

Wt. 190 175 185 150 225 145 145 160 150 190 710 150 190 195 150 170 190 175 190 155 185 195 210 225 240 195 290 315 240 315 155 145

Yr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. So. Fr. So. Jr. Jr. Jr. So. So. So. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. Sr. Sr. So. Sr. So. So. So. Jr.

Senior Ajay Williams, the Beddingfield starting quarterback two years ago, returns from an injury that cost him all of last season as he will start at defensive end and tight end for the Bruins this year. Paul Durham | Times

2013 SCHEDULE DATE Aug. 23 Aug. 29 Sept. 6 Sept. 13 Sept. 20 Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 11 Oct. 18 Oct. 25 Nov. 1 Nov. 8

OPPONENT Greene Central @ Southern Nash Southern Pines Pinecrest @ Fike @ Nash Central Hunt OPEN @ North Johnston* North Pitt* @ Washington* Farmville Central* @ SW Edgecombe*

* 2-A Eastern Plains Conference game

BEDDINGFIELD HISTORY Mascot: Bruins Colors: Columbia blue, gold and black Conference: 2-A Eastern Plains Head coach: Tyrone Johnson (18th overall season, 8th straight) 2012 record: 4-7 overall, 2-4 EPC (T5th)

Beddingfield first-year varsity quarterback Kavaje Ellis smiles after a play as he walks past head coach Tyrone Johnson during a scrimmage session Aug. 13 at Beddingfield.

Paul Durham | Times

pass-catching roles is the emergence of sophomore Kavaje Ellis as the Bruins’ KEY new signal-caller. Ellis, who his surname from PERFORMER changed Chatman, was a member of Beddingfield’s state 2-A championship 4x400-meter relay team last Ellis and is a dual threat with the ball in his hands in the Bruins’ read-option attack. Johnson said Chatman has recorded a time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “It’s going to be crucial for us for him to experience success early, just like it is for any young person or any young team” Johnson Kelvin King theorized. “Because you know, he can move, man … Senior • FB/LB He throws the ball. He’s got 5-foot-8, 175 pounds a strong arm.” The 6-1, 170-pound Ellis For the Bruins’ spread offense shrugs off any notion of to run at peak efficiency, the runpressure. ning game must produce and that “It’s the same thing from responsibility lies squarely at the feet of senior fullback Kelvin King. last year, just faster and King, who ran for 825 yards and quicker,” he said of the seven touchdowns on 149 carmove up to varsity. ries in 2012, is the top returning That confidence may rusher in Wilson County. King’s come from a plethora of ability to keep Beddingfield oppocapable receivers, including nents focused on the run will lead slotback Chavius Collins, to more aerial options, including another returning starter, King. He will also reprise his starting along with promising sophdefensive role from last season, omores Tony McNeil and moving from safety to outside Derrick Lawrence as well as linebacker. senior Hakeem Speight and EXPERIENCED OFFENSE “He can run the ball, he can catch the junior John Harris. Johnson But 32 might be enough, promises 5-10, 190-pound ball. He has some of the best hands on given the talent, especially the team. Now we would spread out and freshman David Bryant will at key offensive positions, see action as well. throw the ball to him because we feel with which Beddingfield One thing that is the comfortable throwing it to him anytime will line up. The biggest same as last year is the but with his running ability, I really feel reason for Johnson’s rosy good about our running game going into Bruins’ ground game relyoutlook, when not fretting the season.” — Beddingfield head coach ing mostly on the sturdy over injuries or numbers, legs of senior fullback KelTyrone Johnson are six returning starters on vin King, whose 825 rushoffense, plus senior H-back ing yards accounted for 58 Ajay Williams. The 6-foot-4, percent of the team total in 245-pound senior was the Williams isn’t the only 2012. Bruins’ quarterback as a former quarterback with “If we can run the ball the sophomore in 2011 but was a new position in the Bedway I suspect we’re going to sidelined all last season dingfield offense. Junior be able to run the ball, we’re with an injury. Javius Nixon, who threw going to be able to throw “Ajay gives us more from for 1,598 yards and 13 it,” Johnson said, his voice that position because of his touchdowns last fall, is now rising. “And if we can throw ability to block and to go get one of the wideouts, a posi- the ball the way I think we it,” Johnson said of the Bru- tion he played at times as a can throw it, we’re definiteins basketball star who is freshman when not splitting ly going to be able to run it! entertaining several NCAA time with Williams under “And that’s where I want Division I offers in the center. to be! I love being in that sport. “That is a big target, I The reason Williams situation.” tell you!” and Nixon have slid into The line features return-

ing seniors Matt Fess at center and Christian Medeiros and Nigel Barnes at guard and tackle, respectively, on the right side. McNeil and senior Garrett Pittman are the leaders in filling the left side of the line. Another strength for the Bruins lies in the right leg of senior Wes Beamon, who moonlights Friday nights as their kicker/punter when not starring for the soccer team during the week. “He’s consistent,” Johnson said. “When I run him out there to kick a 40 (-yard field goal), I’m not just doing that. He makes them. He makes them in practice all the time!”

STRONG FOR 4 QUARTERS Beddingfield has about an equal number of returning starters defensively but lacks the experience the offense has. Johnson pointed to middle linebackers Fess and 5-11, 205-pound junior Coyee Farmer as the unit’s leaders so far, “because of their accountability and their position.” King will line up at one outside linebacker with sophomore Carlos Burks among the candidates for the other spot along with juniors Taylor Webster and Daquan Briggs. Up front, Barnes, Medeiros, Pittman and 6-1, 315-pound sophomore

OPPONENTS School Record* Bertie 5-8 C.B. Aycock 8-1 Clayton 0-2 D.H. Conley 1-1 Eastern Alamance 0-1 Eastern Wayne 4-4 Eliz. City Northeastern 3-8 Farmville Central 7-7 Fike 12-22 Gaston 0-1 Goldsboro 2-0 Greene Central 13-5-1 Greenville Rose 2-8 5-3 Harnett Central 3-5 Hertford County 0-2 High Point Andrews Hope Mills Gray’s Creek 1-0 Hunt 7-30 12-12 Kinston Manteo 1-0 4-2 Nash Central North Edgecombe 1-0 Northern Nash 10-8 North Johnston 1-0

Amorris Liles will be in the middle while Williams and returning starter Jalen Honey are at the ends. Sophomore Keshai Lindsey, who moved up to the varsity in the middle of last season, will be on the field a lot as well. The secondary has Nixon, Speight, junior Jalen Davis and senior Steven Wilkes at the corners and Collins as the returning safety. “If one of them goes down, we’re in trouble,” defensive coordinator James Ward said of his defense. “We can survive two or three injuries but after that we’re in trouble. That’s the main thing — and conditioning. Being able to play four quarters and actually stopping people is going to be huge for us.” Johnson, who will have Ward, Joe Dvozenja, Ro-

North Pitt Oxford Webb Raleigh Athens Drive Raleigh Millbrook Reidsville Roanoke Rapids Rocky Mount Smithfield-Selma South Central South Johnston Southern Durham Southern Nash Southern Wayne SouthWest Edgecombe Tarboro Triton Wake Forest-Rolesville Warrenton Washington Washington, Va. West Craven West Johnston Western Harnett

3-1 1-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 0-1 2-14 3-4 1-0 5-0 0-4 14-11 5-2 11-13 1-5 3-1 4-0 3-1-1 1-1 0-1 1-4 2-0 4-0

* All-time records are not complete. HEAD COACHES Name Years Ray Barger 1978-83 Lonnie Lamm 1984-85 Jim Tabb 1986-87 Clark Harrell 1988-89 Tyrone Johnson 1990-99 Bennett Jones 2000-01 Tom Nelson 2002-05 Tyrone Johnson 2006-present

Record 27-31-2 8-12 4-16 10-11 52-57 10-11 33-21 39-44

land Loftin and Billy Woodward on his staff again, is keeping his fingers crossed that injuries won’t cloud the season again. He didn’t even have the Bruins participate in a scrimmage, partly out of fear that an injury or two would derail the season before it began. But as he pushes those thoughts aside for a moment, the smile returns to Johnson’s face. “I think the team understands to take care of what we need to take care of and do the things that we’re supposed to do, we’re not going to be losing four games in a row to nobody,” he said, before lowering his voice again. “Now if we get some people hurt, we can go from being a pretty good team to a very average team.” | 265-7808

Senior Nigel Barnes, left, and junior Jalen Honey will help anchor the defensive line for Beddingfield this season. Paul Durham | Times

Thursday, August 22, 2013 16A


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