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Preview of area high school football for Halifax & Northampton counties, NC.

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Page 1: Football Preview 2010

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Page 2: Football Preview 2010

JJOONNAASS PPOOPPEE IIVV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

ROANOKE RAPIDS —The Roanoke Rapids Yel-low Jackets start the 2010season at the top of themountain. The YellowJackets had a breakoutyear in 2009, winning theNorthern Carolina Con-ference title, going unde-feated in the NCC.Roanoke Rapids also wonthe first playoff game inschool history over NorthBrunswick. The 2010 foot-ball team return a goodnucleus of players whohave plenty of varsity ex-perience, so the excite-ment level is very high inRoanoke Rapids camp.

“The kids concentra-tion levels and effortshave been very good,”coach Russell Weinsteinsaid. “Our seniors are do-

ing a really, really goodjob so far.”

Weinstein returns nineseniors to his team whostarted or saw significantplaying time last season.Three of those seniors,quarterback JustinRawles, wide receiver D.J.Epperson and linebackerChris Lyons are startedon the varsity as fresh-men. Weinstein also hasthe luxury of having hisstarting tailback, TyrellEverette and two line-men, Bryan Dean andAlex Hawkins back in themix.

“They (the seniors)have learned an awful lotabout themselves and alot of football,” Weinsteinsaid. “They are as pre-pared as they can be tohelp lead this team thisyear.”

Rawles is the reigningNCC Player of the Yearand was the 2009 DailyHerald Offensive Playerof the Year. Along withRawles’ favorite target inEpperson and the veteranEverette, the RoanokeRapids offensive should-n’t miss a beat in 2010. Thedefense lost Kareem Mar-tin, who is now at UNC,but Lyons should feel theleadership role on thatside of the ball. Asidefrom his seniors, Wein-stein expects a lot fromsome of his juniors, in-cluding lineman J.J. Pat-terson and the super ath-letic A.J. Alston, both allconference and all areapicks a year ago.

“They’re contributionis huge,” Weinstein said.

“They are going to be twoof the better players inour program this year.”

Patterson (6’3,290) is al-ready drawing interestfrom college coaches andAlston, who plays on bothsides of the ball, is noslouch. “J.J. has gotten alot stronger and his big-ger,” Weinstein said. “Ifeel like he is going to be areally, really good playerhere. A.J. is a tremendousathlete and he is going tohave a much more impor-tant role in our offensethis year.”

Alston can line up al-most anywhere on offenseand has played wide re-ceiver and running backin the past. He is also be-ing groomed as the quar-terback of the future onceRawles graduates. He alsostarts at free safety on de-fense. Those are the bignames, but Weinstein has

a lot of players who he ex-pects some big contribu-tions from this season.

“I feel like Andrew Fer-guson is going to have atremendous year for us atthe center position,” hesaid. “We are really excit-ed about the progressHawkins has made aswell. It looks like StephenBradford is going to makesome contributions aftercoming up from the jun-ior varsity. Shelton Bene-field looks like he may beable to provide some helpon defense also.”

Weinstein was also highon a pair of sophomore re-ceivers in Stephen Vassorand Clay Lockamon, hop-ing they will provideRawles with a couple ofmore quality targetswhen teams focus on Ep-person.

Roanoke Rapids opensthe season at home versus

Northampton WestSTEM High School, thenhit the road for a highlyanticipated showdownwith Weldon the follow-ing week. The non confer-ence slate also includesSouthern Nash, who ad-vanced deep into the play-offs and 2A defendingstate champion Tarbor.

“We don’t duck any-body,” Weinstein said. “Ifyou are going to have agood program you have toplay good people. Youhave to bring your level ofplay up to where they areor better in order to growas a program. We are in agood 2A league. I’ve toldthe kids from day one, un-til we can play with these(teams) on the field, weare not there yet. We didmake a big stride lastyear, but hopefully we cancontinue to progress thisyear.”

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There is abuzzsurrounding2010 YellowJackets

2010 Roanoke Rapids Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket Seniors

Can the Chargers reload in 2010? BENNY O. HODGES

THE DAILY HERALD SPORTS

CORRESPONDENT

WELDON — Af-ter losing an expe-rienced quarter-back, arguably thebest running backin the RoanokeValley, a prolificreceiver and a pas-sel of other stand-out players tograduation, theWeldon Chargershave their workcut out for them ifthey expect to re-peat as TarRoanoke Confer-ence championsand state champi-onship con-tenders.

A popular axiomin sports is that“number one isstill number oneuntil someoneknocks them off,”but replacing thequality playerslost from lastyears senior classis more than a no-tion for Chargerhead coach GradyWilliams.

The alwayscagey Williamsrecognizes thetask he has before

him, but is notstressed by havingthe bull’s eye of be-ing last yearsnumber one on hisback. When askedif being in every-one’s cross hairscreated pressurefor him coachWilliams respond-ed.

“No it doesn’t,this is a very com-petitive league, Ithink you’ve justgot to come outand play when youcome out here,” heexplained.

Williams real-izes that his teamwas greatly im-pacted by gradua-tion, “We lost alot,” he says. Hewhistles sharplyand listed some ofthe graduatedplayers. “Ne-hiamah, Pulley,Joseph McGee, myquarterback(Cameron Staten)and it doesn’t takelong for the num-bers to mount upbecause when youtalk about one ortwo players on of-fense, you’re talk-ing about the same

thing on defense.Most teams

would be in a stateof panic given thenumber and quali-ty of players lost tograduation, how-ever Weldon has ahistory of evengreater athletesreplacing greatathletes. It’s easyto accept as gospelcoach Williamsstatement that,

“We certainlythink so,” when heis asked if thereare replacementsstepping up to fillin for the departedplayers.

With just a littleprodding,Williams provides a list ofplayers he believescan do the job.“Running back,Chris Lynch, run-ning back, C.J.Watson, quarter-back, Victor Mal-lory, Aaron Mar-tin, another quar-terback, DerrickSmith, J’wan Ar-rington, my sonGrady III a center,he says and adds,

“I’m hoping thatWillis McGeesteps up as a re-

ceiver. He thennotes that theChargers, “havesome players, thebiggest thing ishow they are goingto jell, that’s whatwe’re looking forright now.”

Coach Williamssays the playersare responsible forthe Weldon win-ning mystique.

“I give credit tothe kids becauseit’s hard to get kidsto stay focused.We’ve been veryblessed, we’ve gotkids who stickwith the programpretty good,” hesaid.

Maybe it’s thekids, maybe it’sthe coaches,maybe it’s the wa-ter that allow theChargers to hit thereset button everyyear, but it’s bestnot to play the Wel-don Chargerscheap.

2010 Weldon Chargers

Chargers Seniors

Thank youfor readingThe Daily

Herald

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don’t get the noto-riety they de-serve. While theirteammates at theskill positions getthe glory, all thegrunt work isdone by this spe-cial group of foot-

ball players. Theguys up front, theguys in thetrenches, thegroup no teamcan go without.The skill guys getthe glory, picturesin the newspaperand all the atten-tion. But it’s theguys on the lines,in the trenches

who do all thedirty work.

The 2010 footballseason will featurean elite group ofplayers up frontwho will pave theway for runningbacks and by timefor quarterbacksto find their re-ceivers.

Defensively, the

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Page 3: Football Preview 2010

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A storm may bebrewing againJJOONNAASS PPOOPPEE IIVV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

GASTON — DiegoHasty is in the secondyear of his second tour ofduty at NorthamptonWest STEM High Schooland this time around heand his new crop of Hur-ricanes are on the samepage. A year ago Hastyhad to learn all the newfaces, having left Gastontwo years earlier. Lastyear he got the job lateand didn’t have time towork with his new troopsmuch before practicestarted. But now he is feel-ing a little more comfort-able and hopes to get backto his old ways in Gaston,when the ’Canes were theteam to beat in the TarRoanoke Conference.

“They’re attitudes are alittle different this year,”Hasty said. “I came in latelast year and now we’vegone back to where I wantit to be. I think it’s beenpositive. Last year wewere like strangers be-cause I had been gone.”

When Hasty came backto Gaston last season theteam wasn’t used to hisstyle. Now majority ofthat team is back and

ready to show how farthey have come along. “Ithink we are going to lookmore like a team,” Hastysaid. “But we are still try-ing to find the right partsto be competitive.”

Hasty said he expects toshuffle a lot of playersaround before the seasonopener against RoanokeRapids on August 20.

The bulk of Northamp-ton West roster is madeup of juniors, a groupwho came to Gaston withbig expectations as fresh-men. “That’s the largest

group we’ve got andthey’ve been playing onthe varsity for a while,”Hasty said. “They havehad to adjust to me, but wehave gelled better now.They know my expecta-tions are greater. I see a lot

more workfrom thoseguys ... theyare going tohave to playa lot.”

Duringthe 7-on-7,junior Mar-shall Barksdale got ma-jority of snaps at quarter-back. He will be joined inthe backfield by class-mate Matthew Peebles,who emerged last seasonas one of the top backs inthe Roanoke Valley. Theduo looked sharp during

the annual jamboree lastFriday. Hasty was quickto point out that peopleshouldn’t forget about hisfew seniors.

“They have been solid,”he said.

Quashawn Robinson,Bryan Mason, BrandonCovington, Zack Broad-nax and Javarious Rooks,have “taken over” accord-ing to Hasty. “I don’t mindthe juniors contributing,

but when it comes downto the bottom line, I wantthe seniors to be the lead-ers. They’ve worked hardand they earned that.”

Hasty said he will leanon Broadnax for a lot ofbig plays. “As a coach I’ve

got to figure out a way toget the ball to these guysso they can become playmakers.”

He said he would love toline up and play smashball football, the style thatgot Northampton West tothe 1A title game in 2005,but he realizes he doesn’thave that personnel.“Everybody looks good inshorts,” Hasty said. “Butit won’t be until we playsome competition that I’llfind out what we’ve got.”

The schedule features alot of Roanoke Valley bat-tles as always. Northamp-ton West gets a tough startright out the gate atRoanoke Rapids on open-ing night. “Last year they(Roanoke Rapids) laid itto us,” Hasty said. “Hope-fully we will be a little bitmore competitive. Theyare going to be hard, wedon’t have it easy. North-west Halifax is a rivalgame, we played a really

good game against them(last year) and Plymouthis an eastern power. Theyare suppose to be loaded.”

The twist on the nonconference slate is confer-ence and county foeNorthampton East, whothe ’Canes will face twicethis season. “We wereshort a game and theywere short a game,”Hasty said. “In the longrun it will help.”

Conference wise, de-fending champion Wel-don is always tough,Southeast Halifaxemerged late and NorthEdgecombe advanced tothe eastern regional fi-nals. Hasty expects thesleeper to be Gates Coun-ty and preaches to hisguys about playing at ahigh level every night.

“There is going to bebalance,” Hasty said.“We’ve got to come to play.My motto is, we play onegame at a time.”

2010 Northampton West Hurricanes

Hurricanes Seniors

BBEENNNNYY OO.. HHOODDGGEESS

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

ROANOKE RAPIDS —Brian Biggerstaff servedas Halifax Academy’s de-fensive coordinator fortwo years before movingup to the head coachingposition and is lookingforward to the challenge.“I’m excited about (beingnamed head coach), it’s agood group of kids, I’veknown them for severalyears, I’ve been workingout here (Halifax Acade-my) for four years and I’mexcited about seeing whatthey can do come realgame play.”

A former offensiveguard at Roanoke RapidsHigh School and ChowanUniversity, Biggerstaff ispleased with his team’swork ethic. They havebeen working togethersince May and have con-tinued to produce, even inthe recent stretch of ex-treme hot weather. Big-gerstaff indicates that hemoved his practice timeback in view of the heatand employed “lots of wa-ter breaks” as a means ofensuring his team’shealth in the extreme

heat.Numbers are not great

in the Viking football pro-gram, however the threeplayers Halifax Academylost to graduation leavesthis year’s team relativelyexperienced. First yearhead coach Biggerstaffwas reluctant to projectindividual 2010 standouts,choosing to praise the en-tire team instead. Theyoung head coach indicat-ed that “there are a lot ofguys who will be con-tributing this year.”

Lack of numbers willforce most of Biggerstaffplayers to go both waysand in spite of his reluc-tance to call names, somenotable two way playerssure to impact Viking pro-

duction on offense and de-fense are runningback/linebacker J. W.Thomas, quarterback/de-fensive back Josh Thax-ton and fullback/defen-sive lineman Zack Hor-vath.

The Vikings are comingoff a 2 – 9 season, theyhave lived with that sadfact for a year and reportsare that last year’s dismalseason have stuck in thethroats of the players.Coach Biggerstaff put itthis way. “The kids havebeen carrying that 2 -9 sea-son on their backs, andthey want to bring backthe feeling of victory toHalifax Academy.

“Team unity is going tobe the key to our success.”

2010 Halifax Academy Vikings

Vikings look for turn around

Vikings Seniors

Page 4: Football Preview 2010

JONAS POPE IV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

LASKER — Af-ter losing two ofhis three seniorsearly last season toinjuries, North-east Academyhead coach CollinSnead is at peaceso far this fall, hav-ing twice the num-bers of 12thgraders on his ros-ter. In his fourthseason as the headman in Lasker,Snead feels a littlebetter this timethan he did a yearago.

One of the play-ers making life alot easier for Sneadis quarterbackDavis Harrell.Har-rell has started twoyears under centerfor the Eagles, afirst for Snead. “Ifeel like Davis isthe leader of thisteam, just by show-ing what he cando,” Snead said.“He is not a big

talker, but he is fullof energy and is al-ways ready to go.”

Snead referredto Harrell as a jackrabbit after Har-rell pleaded withSnead to run somemore sprints aftera recent practice.Harrell is a toughas nails competi-tor, who will com-plement backfieldmates James Popeand Justin Francisthis year. “We dohave a sleet of sen-iors who can get itdone this year,”Snead said. “Ithink all of themcan step up and dothe job if we askthem to.”

By this time ayear ago Snead’stop two seniorswere out with seri-ous injuries, so theEagles only playedwith three seniorslast year. He feelslike facing that lastyear, and beingable to move on,will make this

group better. “Ithink we will be abetter team withall of the adversitywe went throughlast year.”

Snead is back tohaving a big seniorgroup with six andaccording to thecoach, “they wantto win right now.”

The seniors arePope, Francis,Harrell, JustinLassister, BuddyBrown and BrianBurke. The entiregroup has beenplaying varsitysince their sopho-more year,with theexception of Har-rell who was on thevarsity as a fresh-man. “I’m prettysure he is going tobe the emotionallyleader of thisteam,” Snead said.

Lassiter startedat wide receiverlast year and hasthe best hands onthe team Sneadsaid. Brown will bethe leader on de-

fense from his mid-dle linebacker po-sition and Burkewill play on boththe offensive anddefensive lines.But the three head-ed monster in thebackfield lead thisclass. Pope is thefastest player onthe roster who canbreak for a big playat any moment,while Francisburst onto thescene last year af-ter an injury toRuss Flythe.“Justin has beenworking real hardthis off season,”Snead said. “Ithink he is work-ing out everyday,he is getting realbig.”

Francis willshare the load withPope and Harrellin the backfield.“With those threedoing what theyare suppose to do,along with a littlehelp and a littleluck, I think we

will be OK,” Sneadsaid.

Snead is confi-dent in Brown’sability at line-backer and hopesBurke can step inand continue tolegacy of strongplay at nose guard,following in thefootsteps of CalebNewsome andWesley Bryant.“Hopefully he cancarry on the tradi-tion of good defen-sive linemen,”Snead said.

The sleepergroup of the entireteam may be the of-fensive line.

Juniors WillieRose (6’2, 240) andJacob Rogers(6’3,275), alongwith sophomoreJack Ellis (6’5, 320)form an impres-sive unit. Rogers

was a first team all-area pick last yearfor the Eagles.They were allthrown to the firelast year andplayed well togeth-er. Now they are ayear older andSnead expects bigthings from them.“We are going to bebig up front andhopefully we aregoing to be physi-cal,” Snead said.“That’s always myplan. I like toknock people offthe ball. My plan isthree yards and acloud of dusk.They will be a verystrong point of ouroffense.”

The conferencewill be wide openthis year with two-time state champi-on Trinity movingup to 11-man foot-

ball. Now every-one’s mindset isthe conference isthere’s for the tak-ing since Trinityhas left.

“Trinity hasbeen the head hon-cho in eight-manfootball for fiveyears,” Snead said.“Now that they arenot there every-body thinks theyhave a chance towin the statechampionship,”Snead said. “Ithink it’s going tobe a toss up. It’s go-ing to come downto who is going toprepare the bestand who has thebest game planthis year. It maycome down to whohas less injuries orwho has the bestluck this year.”

The scheduling

gods were good toNEA this year,blessing the Eagleswith five homegames, including astretch with fourin a row againstWord of God, Par-rott, St. David andLawrence. Sneadis happy to see thattough slate playedin front of the Ea-gles’ faithful. “Welike to have thatfan base,” he said.“That’s our ninth,tenth and 11thman.”

NEA will take aovernight roadtrip to South Car-olina for a scrim-mage and start theregular season onthe road againstRocky Mount. TheEagles end the reg-ular season on theroad at rival Hali-fax Academy.

BENNY O. HODGES

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

AURELIAN SPRINGS— Year four is usually abenchmark in the life of afootball program and thisyear is Andre Steward’sfourth season at North-west Halifax. Not that thedogs are nipping at Stew-ards heels. His team’s per-formance over the pastthree years ensures himjob security, but the gleamin his eyes say that thismay be the kind of seasoncoaches’ dream about.

Explaining his cheerfuloutlook, Stewards says

“We’re alive, we’rehealthy, and it’s anotherfootball season, so opti-mism always reignssupreme.” Smiling broad-ly he adds, “It’s the begin-ning of the year and I real-ly like my team, I like thechemistry and the makeup of them. We’ve got goodkids and we also have goodfootball players. They’regood kids, but they’re alsogood football players andthat counts for a lot.”

Universally, one primeingredient for winningfootball games is seniorleadership and Stewardindicates that his team is

strong in that area.“We have pretty good

leadership right now withthe seniors,” he said. Thecoach then clicks off a listof veteran players, “Thereare the brothers, Alex andAngelo Boone, C.J. Fittsand Dominique Daniels,they are all seniors. Thenwe’ve got L. J. Watkins,Dante Williams and Al-fred Jackson, those guysgives us a real strong corethat I feel good about.

Not only do the Vikingshave leadership, they haveexperience, another es-sential ingredient forchampionship play.

“We’re not real old butwe’re experienced,” coachStewart pointed out.“We’ve only got abouteight seniors, but we’vegot a lot of kids in the jun-ior and sophomore classthat have had snaps on thevarsity team. And even ifa lot of our sophomoresdidn’t play on the varsitythey played on a 4-4 juniorvarsity team last year, sowe have a lot of game expe-rience,” he said.

Northwest has a historyof going right at its oppo-nents and this year won’tbe any different accordingto coach Steward.

“The names and faces

have changed, but the phi-losophy is the same,” hesaid. Stressing the pointSteward added, “I thinkyou’ve got to run the ballto win. We’re going tochange some things, butwe are going to come rightat people once again. Ithink our offensive line re-turns everybody exceptfor one starter. We lost oneguard from last year, so wereturning an offensiveline and they are experi-enced and explosive, so Ifeel pretty good aboutthat.”

Going into his fourthyear at Northwest Halifax,coach Steward has good

reason to feel good abouthis football team. He hastalent, leadership and ex-perience, the only thing heis asking for at this point isthe support of the fans.

“The support will be ap-preciated,” he says, “thekids have worked hard allspring and all summer.”Smiling, Steward couldnot resist the temptationto again talk about his fa-vorite subject—his play-ers. “They’re good kidsand they deserve the sup-port. They’re good kidsbut they are also mean andnasty enough to be goodfootball players and that’sa fine line,” he concluded.

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2010 Northeast Academy Eagles

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THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

GASTON — The KIPPPride High School footballteam has a history of play-ing hard nose, disciplinefootball. Traditionally,the Panthers give it theirall every time out but theyoften run out of gas in theend. More than anythingelse, the Panthers’ prob-lem in the past has beennumbers, they simplyhave not had the bodies tosustain a high level ofplay over four quarters.

Finally, the numbersproblem may be a thing ofthe past, 2010 may be theseason, according to firstyear head coach RickyRiddick, that KIPP putsthe numbers game behindthem. “From a team standpoint our kids are work-ing hard,” Riddick de-clared. Then he got to thequestion of the day. “I’vegot twenty to twenty-fivekids showing up consis-tently on a daily basis andthey seem to be pretty en-thusiastic.”

That fact is music to the

ears of Panther fans andmay mean trouble toKIPP’s opponents.

According to Riddick,KIPP will continue to playseveral players both ways,but going into their sec-ond season of TarRoanoke Conference play,the Panthers may beprimed to ambush some ofthe leagues perennialpowers. The additions ofa few quality players mayvery well give the Pan-thers the finishing powerto hold on to early leads, afeat they have found diffi-cult in the past. CoachRiddick has only a bit ofhistory with his team, buthe is encouraged by whathe has seen thus far.

“We have a lot of return-ing kids who for some rea-

son didn’t play last year,but they’ve gotten theirstuff together and theyare back out this year,” hesaid, assessing the team.He added, “Based on mybeing out there with themfor the first time doingseven on sevens I thoughtwe did fairly well.”

Admitting a fondnessfor the running game, Rid-dick who says “you winfootball games by runningthe ball, if you’ve got thepersonnel,” will employ awing T offense with varia-tions. The Panthers willplay an aggressive de-fense, Riddick says “weread and attack on de-fense, we don’t sit backand react, we’re pretty ac-tive on that side of theball.”

2010 KIPP Panthers

Panthers Seniors

Will greater numbers fuel KIPP?

JONAS POPE IV

THE DAILY HERALD SPORTS EDITOR

CROWELLS CROSS-ROADS — Throughoutthe winter, spring andsummer, many footballfans have commented onthe job Southeast Halifaxhead coach Larry Ed-wards did with the Tro-jans last season.

Edwards was namedhead coach halfwaythrough the season andturned the programaround. Southeast Hali-fax had gotten off to a 0-6start under Ricky Rid-dick. Riddick steppeddown, Edwards took overand the Trojans finishedthe season strong, hostingand winning a first roundplayoff game.

So with Edwards lead-ing the way all off seasonand with the team all year,expectations are high inTrojanland and fansshould expect SoutheastHalifax to pick up wherethey left off, right?

“Actually the job thisyear is going to be hard-er,” Edwards said. “Westarted out last year notwinning a game so therewere no expectationswhen I came over. Be-cause of the success we

had towards the end oflast year, it’s going to beharder this year ... and it’sbeen harder.”

Southeast Halifax got achance to participate inthe local 7-on-7 passingleague this summer andhad a good off season inthe weight room, all stepsin the right direction. Ac-cording to Edwards, it’sjust the beginning and notas easy as it looks.

“It’s a hard grind get-ting these kids to under-stand what it takes, day inand day out and how con-sistent you have to be inyour effort to be a champi-on,” Edwards said.

The returning mem-bers of this group gottheir first taste of playoffsuccess in 2009, beatingMidway at home in thefirst round, before fallingto Goldsboro on the roadin round two.

That little taste of suc-cess has carried over intothe off season condition-ing program and right in-to fall practice. Edwardspointed out that his groupof eight seniors have donea good job leading thecharge.

“Keonte Stallings hastaken on some responsi-bility of leading our of-fense,” Edwards said

about his senior quarter-back, “and on the defen-sive side we had DesmondWhitaker step up and be-come a leader. Those guyshave been doing a goodjob leading, as well as Ty-eed Lynch, they’ve beenreally buying in.”

Kervonte Lynch is theonly returning starter onthe offensive line and Ed-wards said the center hasbeen leading that bunch,which will be much need-ed with four new faces.“It’s a very, very inexperi-ence line,” Edwards said.

Whitaker, K. Lynch, T.Lynch and KeshawnJoyner all return on thedefensive line, makingthat one of the most expe-rience units on the teamaccording to Edwards.

“I think in the end wewill be pretty decent de-fensively,” Edwards said.“You may not tell early be-cause we have so many

new people learningroles.”

On offense Edwardsloss bruising tailbackMarquee Jacobs, so hehas gone to a spread of-fense to unitize the talenton the roster. Stallingshas been on the varsitysince his freshman yearand the Trojans returnsome experience wide re-ceivers.

“We are trying to takeadvantage of what wethink are our strengths,”Edwards said. “We arecoming along.”

With a tough non con-ference schedule that in-cludes, Southern Vance,Roanoke Rapids, Louis-burg and Northwest Hali-fax, Edwards said, “if wecan survive, it’s going tomake us better.”

The conference slate be-gins with North Edge-combe, who many consid-er the favorite to win the

Tar Roanoke Conferencethis year, and doesn’t getany easier from there.

“Edgecombe andNorthampton West aregoing to be at the top,based on what I saw lastyear,” Edwards said. “Andno matter how many(players) they loss, Wel-don is going to be right inevery game. So yes, it’s go-ing to be a lot of balance inthe conference.”

But with this team, Ed-wards likes his chances.“Everything we do isgeared towards winningthe conference champi-onship,” Edwards said.“We may take some lumpsearly with the non confer-ence schedule, but if weget through (it), believeme, we are going to beright in there for our goalof winning the confer-ence championship.”

2010 Southeast Halifax Trojans

Trojans expectbig things in 2010

Trojans Seniors

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2010 Northampton East Rams

BBEENNNNYY OO.. HHOODDGGEESS

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

CREEKSVILLE — As acollege offensive linemanin the tough Central Inter-collegiate Athletic Associ-ation, George Privottplayed for four differenthead coaches. As a result,he not only learned a num-ber of offensive schemes,he developed a love for theoffensive side of the balland learned to appreciatethe intricacies of the run-ning game.

“I think my offensivemindset tends to help mewith the defensive part ofthe game,” Privott ex-plained, mindful of theimportance of defense.“But, I’ve always been anoffensive minded coach,”he admitted.”

Known as a “get the ballby you” kind of guy, thenew head coach of theRams was also clear abouthis determination to runthe ball. “Over the lastthree years I’ve been run-ning the flex bone tripleoption and I’m going tostick with it,” he said.“Every offense I’ve playedin, from high schoolthrough college has basi-

cally been a running of-fense, so I look to establishthe running game first,then throw a few passes inthere, but I will run theball,” he added with finali-ty.

Privott feels he has thehorses to contend in theTar Roanoke Conferenceand his eyes light up whenhe talks about his team.He is especially proud ofthe way his chargesworked in the off seasonand bonded as a unit.

The first year headcoach feels his offensivebackfield is his team’sstrength and afford himexcellent senior leader-ship. Privott rattles offfacts about his offensivebacks like a TV pitchman.

“Je’Wuan Boone hasbeen a starter in the offen-sive backfield since he wasa freshman. He’s about 5’

8”, around 190 pounds.Je’Wuan is a good strongrunner and a good leader.My fullback, Hashan He-witt, had knee surgery inJanuary and is coming offthat, but he looks good inworkouts and has thatknee back under him. Thequarterback will beLashawn Pittman, he’sbeen working hard. Allthese guys are seniors,”Privott says withoutcatching a breath.“There’s also another kid,Devonte Bottoms, he’s re-turning, he attended Eastas a freshman then wentoff to live with his fatherin D.C., he’ll also be in thebackfield. That will be mystarting group, they workwell together, they’veworked hard all summer,they’ve jelled and have agood work history togeth-er.”

Northampton East opensGeorge Privott era

Rams Seniors

Northwest HalifaxAug. 20 - North EdgecombeAug. 27 - Northampton WestSept. 3 @ WeldonSept. 10 - KIPPSept. 17 @ Southeast HalifaxSept. 24 @ FranklintonOct. 1 - Warren CountyOct. 8 - BunnOct. 22 @ North JohnstonOct. 29 - LouisburgNov. 5 - Roanoke Rapids

Northampton EastAug. 20 @ EdentonAug. 27 - PerquimansSept. 3 - Northampton WestSept. 10 @ BertieSept. 17 - CurrituckSept. 24 @ Northampton WestOct. 1 - Gates CountyOct. 8 - North EdgecombeOct. 15 - WeldonOct. 22 @ KIPPNov. 5 @ Southeast Halifax

Northeast AcademyAug. 27 @ Rocky MountSept. 3 - HobgoodSept. 10 @ WilsonSept. 17 @ CarySept. 24 - Word of GodOct. 1 - ParrottOct. 8 - St. DavidOct. 15 - LawrenceOct. 22 @ Halifax Academy

Southeast HalifaxAug. 20 - Southern VanceSept. 3 @ Roanoke RapidsSept. 10 @ LouisburgSept. 17 - Northwest HalifaxSept. 24 @ North EdgecombeOct. 8 @ KIPPOct. 15 - Northampton WestOct. 22 - Gates CountyOct. 29 @ WeldonNov. 5 - Northampton East

KIPP Pride HighAug. 20 - PerquimansAug. 27 - ColumbiaSept. 3 - Kestrel HeightsSept. 10 @ Northwest HalifaxSept. 24 - Discciples Home SchoolOct. 1 @ WeldonOct. 8 - Southeast HalifaxOct. 15 - North Edgecombe Oct. 22 - Northampton EastOct. 29 @ Northampton WestNov. 5 @ Gates County

Northampton WestAug. 20 @ Roanoke RapidsAug. 27 @ Northwest HalifaxSept. 3 @ Northampton EastSept. 10 - PlymouthSept. 24 - Northampton EastOct. 1 @ North EdgecombeOct. 8 - Gates CountyOct. 22 @ Southeast HalifaxOct. 29 - KIPPNov. 5 @ Weldon

Roanoke RapidsAug. 20 - Northampton WestAug. 27 @ WeldonSept. 3 - Southeast HalifaxSept. 10 @ Southern NashSept. 17 - TarboroSept. 24 @ LouisburgOct. 1 - FranklintonOct. 8 - Warren CountyOct. 15 @ BunnOct. 29 - North JohnstonNov. 5 @ Northwest Halifax

Halifax AcademyAug. 27 @ CarySept. 3 @ ParrottSept. 10 - St. DavidsSept. 17 - LawrenceSept. 24 - HobgoodOct. 1 - Word of GodOct. 8 @ Community ChristianOct. 15 @ Rocky MountOct. 21 - Northeast Academy

WeldonAug. 27 - Roanoke RapidsSept. 10 @ Warren CountySept. 17 @ Harrells Christian AcademySept. 24 @ Gates CountyOct. 1 KIPPOct. 15 @ Northampton EastOct. 22 @ North EdgecombeOct. 29 - Southeast HalifaxNov. 5 - Northampton West

2010 Prep Schedules

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2010 Northampton East Rams

BBEENNNNYY OO.. HHOODDGGEESS

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

CREEKSVILLE — As acollege offensive linemanin the tough Central Inter-collegiate Athletic Associ-ation, George Privottplayed for four differenthead coaches. As a result,he not only learned a num-ber of offensive schemes,he developed a love for theoffensive side of the balland learned to appreciatethe intricacies of the run-ning game.

“I think my offensivemindset tends to help mewith the defensive part ofthe game,” Privott ex-plained, mindful of theimportance of defense.“But, I’ve always been anoffensive minded coach,”he admitted.”

Known as a “get the ballby you” kind of guy, thenew head coach of theRams was also clear abouthis determination to runthe ball. “Over the lastthree years I’ve been run-ning the flex bone tripleoption and I’m going tostick with it,” he said.“Every offense I’ve playedin, from high schoolthrough college has basi-

cally been a running of-fense, so I look to establishthe running game first,then throw a few passes inthere, but I will run theball,” he added with finali-ty.

Privott feels he has thehorses to contend in theTar Roanoke Conferenceand his eyes light up whenhe talks about his team.He is especially proud ofthe way his chargesworked in the off seasonand bonded as a unit.

The first year headcoach feels his offensivebackfield is his team’sstrength and afford himexcellent senior leader-ship. Privott rattles offfacts about his offensivebacks like a TV pitchman.

“Je’Wuan Boone hasbeen a starter in the offen-sive backfield since he wasa freshman. He’s about 5’

8”, around 190 pounds.Je’Wuan is a good strongrunner and a good leader.My fullback, Hashan He-witt, had knee surgery inJanuary and is coming offthat, but he looks good inworkouts and has thatknee back under him. Thequarterback will beLashawn Pittman, he’sbeen working hard. Allthese guys are seniors,”Privott says withoutcatching a breath.“There’s also another kid,Devonte Bottoms, he’s re-turning, he attended Eastas a freshman then wentoff to live with his fatherin D.C., he’ll also be in thebackfield. That will be mystarting group, they workwell together, they’veworked hard all summer,they’ve jelled and have agood work history togeth-er.”

Northampton East opensGeorge Privott era

Rams Seniors

Northwest HalifaxAug. 20 - North EdgecombeAug. 27 - Northampton WestSept. 3 @ WeldonSept. 10 - KIPPSept. 17 @ Southeast HalifaxSept. 24 @ FranklintonOct. 1 - Warren CountyOct. 8 - BunnOct. 22 @ North JohnstonOct. 29 - LouisburgNov. 5 - Roanoke Rapids

Northampton EastAug. 20 @ EdentonAug. 27 - PerquimansSept. 3 - Northampton WestSept. 10 @ BertieSept. 17 - CurrituckSept. 24 @ Northampton WestOct. 1 - Gates CountyOct. 8 - North EdgecombeOct. 15 - WeldonOct. 22 @ KIPPNov. 5 @ Southeast Halifax

Northeast AcademyAug. 27 @ Rocky MountSept. 3 - HobgoodSept. 10 @ WilsonSept. 17 @ CarySept. 24 - Word of GodOct. 1 - ParrottOct. 8 - St. DavidOct. 15 - LawrenceOct. 22 @ Halifax Academy

Southeast HalifaxAug. 20 - Southern VanceSept. 3 @ Roanoke RapidsSept. 10 @ LouisburgSept. 17 - Northwest HalifaxSept. 24 @ North EdgecombeOct. 8 @ KIPPOct. 15 - Northampton WestOct. 22 - Gates CountyOct. 29 @ WeldonNov. 5 - Northampton East

KIPP Pride HighAug. 20 - PerquimansAug. 27 - ColumbiaSept. 3 - Kestrel HeightsSept. 10 @ Northwest HalifaxSept. 24 - Discciples Home SchoolOct. 1 @ WeldonOct. 8 - Southeast HalifaxOct. 15 - North Edgecombe Oct. 22 - Northampton EastOct. 29 @ Northampton WestNov. 5 @ Gates County

Northampton WestAug. 20 @ Roanoke RapidsAug. 27 @ Northwest HalifaxSept. 3 @ Northampton EastSept. 10 - PlymouthSept. 24 - Northampton EastOct. 1 @ North EdgecombeOct. 8 - Gates CountyOct. 22 @ Southeast HalifaxOct. 29 - KIPPNov. 5 @ Weldon

Roanoke RapidsAug. 20 - Northampton WestAug. 27 @ WeldonSept. 3 - Southeast HalifaxSept. 10 @ Southern NashSept. 17 - TarboroSept. 24 @ LouisburgOct. 1 - FranklintonOct. 8 - Warren CountyOct. 15 @ BunnOct. 29 - North JohnstonNov. 5 @ Northwest Halifax

Halifax AcademyAug. 27 @ CarySept. 3 @ ParrottSept. 10 - St. DavidsSept. 17 - LawrenceSept. 24 - HobgoodOct. 1 - Word of GodOct. 8 @ Community ChristianOct. 15 @ Rocky MountOct. 21 - Northeast Academy

WeldonAug. 27 - Roanoke RapidsSept. 10 @ Warren CountySept. 17 @ Harrells Christian AcademySept. 24 @ Gates CountyOct. 1 KIPPOct. 15 @ Northampton EastOct. 22 @ North EdgecombeOct. 29 - Southeast HalifaxNov. 5 - Northampton West

2010 Prep Schedules

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THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

GASTON — The KIPPPride High School footballteam has a history of play-ing hard nose, disciplinefootball. Traditionally,the Panthers give it theirall every time out but theyoften run out of gas in theend. More than anythingelse, the Panthers’ prob-lem in the past has beennumbers, they simplyhave not had the bodies tosustain a high level ofplay over four quarters.

Finally, the numbersproblem may be a thing ofthe past, 2010 may be theseason, according to firstyear head coach RickyRiddick, that KIPP putsthe numbers game behindthem. “From a team standpoint our kids are work-ing hard,” Riddick de-clared. Then he got to thequestion of the day. “I’vegot twenty to twenty-fivekids showing up consis-tently on a daily basis andthey seem to be pretty en-thusiastic.”

That fact is music to the

ears of Panther fans andmay mean trouble toKIPP’s opponents.

According to Riddick,KIPP will continue to playseveral players both ways,but going into their sec-ond season of TarRoanoke Conference play,the Panthers may beprimed to ambush some ofthe leagues perennialpowers. The additions ofa few quality players mayvery well give the Pan-thers the finishing powerto hold on to early leads, afeat they have found diffi-cult in the past. CoachRiddick has only a bit ofhistory with his team, buthe is encouraged by whathe has seen thus far.

“We have a lot of return-ing kids who for some rea-

son didn’t play last year,but they’ve gotten theirstuff together and theyare back out this year,” hesaid, assessing the team.He added, “Based on mybeing out there with themfor the first time doingseven on sevens I thoughtwe did fairly well.”

Admitting a fondnessfor the running game, Rid-dick who says “you winfootball games by runningthe ball, if you’ve got thepersonnel,” will employ awing T offense with varia-tions. The Panthers willplay an aggressive de-fense, Riddick says “weread and attack on de-fense, we don’t sit backand react, we’re pretty ac-tive on that side of theball.”

2010 KIPP Panthers

Panthers Seniors

Will greater numbers fuel KIPP?

JONAS POPE IV

THE DAILY HERALD SPORTS EDITOR

CROWELLS CROSS-ROADS — Throughoutthe winter, spring andsummer, many footballfans have commented onthe job Southeast Halifaxhead coach Larry Ed-wards did with the Tro-jans last season.

Edwards was namedhead coach halfwaythrough the season andturned the programaround. Southeast Hali-fax had gotten off to a 0-6start under Ricky Rid-dick. Riddick steppeddown, Edwards took overand the Trojans finishedthe season strong, hostingand winning a first roundplayoff game.

So with Edwards lead-ing the way all off seasonand with the team all year,expectations are high inTrojanland and fansshould expect SoutheastHalifax to pick up wherethey left off, right?

“Actually the job thisyear is going to be hard-er,” Edwards said. “Westarted out last year notwinning a game so therewere no expectationswhen I came over. Be-cause of the success we

had towards the end oflast year, it’s going to beharder this year ... and it’sbeen harder.”

Southeast Halifax got achance to participate inthe local 7-on-7 passingleague this summer andhad a good off season inthe weight room, all stepsin the right direction. Ac-cording to Edwards, it’sjust the beginning and notas easy as it looks.

“It’s a hard grind get-ting these kids to under-stand what it takes, day inand day out and how con-sistent you have to be inyour effort to be a champi-on,” Edwards said.

The returning mem-bers of this group gottheir first taste of playoffsuccess in 2009, beatingMidway at home in thefirst round, before fallingto Goldsboro on the roadin round two.

That little taste of suc-cess has carried over intothe off season condition-ing program and right in-to fall practice. Edwardspointed out that his groupof eight seniors have donea good job leading thecharge.

“Keonte Stallings hastaken on some responsi-bility of leading our of-fense,” Edwards said

about his senior quarter-back, “and on the defen-sive side we had DesmondWhitaker step up and be-come a leader. Those guyshave been doing a goodjob leading, as well as Ty-eed Lynch, they’ve beenreally buying in.”

Kervonte Lynch is theonly returning starter onthe offensive line and Ed-wards said the center hasbeen leading that bunch,which will be much need-ed with four new faces.“It’s a very, very inexperi-ence line,” Edwards said.

Whitaker, K. Lynch, T.Lynch and KeshawnJoyner all return on thedefensive line, makingthat one of the most expe-rience units on the teamaccording to Edwards.

“I think in the end wewill be pretty decent de-fensively,” Edwards said.“You may not tell early be-cause we have so many

new people learningroles.”

On offense Edwardsloss bruising tailbackMarquee Jacobs, so hehas gone to a spread of-fense to unitize the talenton the roster. Stallingshas been on the varsitysince his freshman yearand the Trojans returnsome experience wide re-ceivers.

“We are trying to takeadvantage of what wethink are our strengths,”Edwards said. “We arecoming along.”

With a tough non con-ference schedule that in-cludes, Southern Vance,Roanoke Rapids, Louis-burg and Northwest Hali-fax, Edwards said, “if wecan survive, it’s going tomake us better.”

The conference slate be-gins with North Edge-combe, who many consid-er the favorite to win the

Tar Roanoke Conferencethis year, and doesn’t getany easier from there.

“Edgecombe andNorthampton West aregoing to be at the top,based on what I saw lastyear,” Edwards said. “Andno matter how many(players) they loss, Wel-don is going to be right inevery game. So yes, it’s go-ing to be a lot of balance inthe conference.”

But with this team, Ed-wards likes his chances.“Everything we do isgeared towards winningthe conference champi-onship,” Edwards said.“We may take some lumpsearly with the non confer-ence schedule, but if weget through (it), believeme, we are going to beright in there for our goalof winning the confer-ence championship.”

2010 Southeast Halifax Trojans

Trojans expectbig things in 2010

Trojans Seniors

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Page 9: Football Preview 2010

JONAS POPE IV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

LASKER — Af-ter losing two ofhis three seniorsearly last season toinjuries, North-east Academyhead coach CollinSnead is at peaceso far this fall, hav-ing twice the num-bers of 12thgraders on his ros-ter. In his fourthseason as the headman in Lasker,Snead feels a littlebetter this timethan he did a yearago.

One of the play-ers making life alot easier for Sneadis quarterbackDavis Harrell.Har-rell has started twoyears under centerfor the Eagles, afirst for Snead. “Ifeel like Davis isthe leader of thisteam, just by show-ing what he cando,” Snead said.“He is not a big

talker, but he is fullof energy and is al-ways ready to go.”

Snead referredto Harrell as a jackrabbit after Har-rell pleaded withSnead to run somemore sprints aftera recent practice.Harrell is a toughas nails competi-tor, who will com-plement backfieldmates James Popeand Justin Francisthis year. “We dohave a sleet of sen-iors who can get itdone this year,”Snead said. “Ithink all of themcan step up and dothe job if we askthem to.”

By this time ayear ago Snead’stop two seniorswere out with seri-ous injuries, so theEagles only playedwith three seniorslast year. He feelslike facing that lastyear, and beingable to move on,will make this

group better. “Ithink we will be abetter team withall of the adversitywe went throughlast year.”

Snead is back tohaving a big seniorgroup with six andaccording to thecoach, “they wantto win right now.”

The seniors arePope, Francis,Harrell, JustinLassister, BuddyBrown and BrianBurke. The entiregroup has beenplaying varsitysince their sopho-more year,with theexception of Har-rell who was on thevarsity as a fresh-man. “I’m prettysure he is going tobe the emotionallyleader of thisteam,” Snead said.

Lassiter startedat wide receiverlast year and hasthe best hands onthe team Sneadsaid. Brown will bethe leader on de-

fense from his mid-dle linebacker po-sition and Burkewill play on boththe offensive anddefensive lines.But the three head-ed monster in thebackfield lead thisclass. Pope is thefastest player onthe roster who canbreak for a big playat any moment,while Francisburst onto thescene last year af-ter an injury toRuss Flythe.“Justin has beenworking real hardthis off season,”Snead said. “Ithink he is work-ing out everyday,he is getting realbig.”

Francis willshare the load withPope and Harrellin the backfield.“With those threedoing what theyare suppose to do,along with a littlehelp and a littleluck, I think we

will be OK,” Sneadsaid.

Snead is confi-dent in Brown’sability at line-backer and hopesBurke can step inand continue tolegacy of strongplay at nose guard,following in thefootsteps of CalebNewsome andWesley Bryant.“Hopefully he cancarry on the tradi-tion of good defen-sive linemen,”Snead said.

The sleepergroup of the entireteam may be the of-fensive line.

Juniors WillieRose (6’2, 240) andJacob Rogers(6’3,275), alongwith sophomoreJack Ellis (6’5, 320)form an impres-sive unit. Rogers

was a first team all-area pick last yearfor the Eagles.They were allthrown to the firelast year andplayed well togeth-er. Now they are ayear older andSnead expects bigthings from them.“We are going to bebig up front andhopefully we aregoing to be physi-cal,” Snead said.“That’s always myplan. I like toknock people offthe ball. My plan isthree yards and acloud of dusk.They will be a verystrong point of ouroffense.”

The conferencewill be wide openthis year with two-time state champi-on Trinity movingup to 11-man foot-

ball. Now every-one’s mindset isthe conference isthere’s for the tak-ing since Trinityhas left.

“Trinity hasbeen the head hon-cho in eight-manfootball for fiveyears,” Snead said.“Now that they arenot there every-body thinks theyhave a chance towin the statechampionship,”Snead said. “Ithink it’s going tobe a toss up. It’s go-ing to come downto who is going toprepare the bestand who has thebest game planthis year. It maycome down to whohas less injuries orwho has the bestluck this year.”

The scheduling

gods were good toNEA this year,blessing the Eagleswith five homegames, including astretch with fourin a row againstWord of God, Par-rott, St. David andLawrence. Sneadis happy to see thattough slate playedin front of the Ea-gles’ faithful. “Welike to have thatfan base,” he said.“That’s our ninth,tenth and 11thman.”

NEA will take aovernight roadtrip to South Car-olina for a scrim-mage and start theregular season onthe road againstRocky Mount. TheEagles end the reg-ular season on theroad at rival Hali-fax Academy.

BENNY O. HODGES

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

AURELIAN SPRINGS— Year four is usually abenchmark in the life of afootball program and thisyear is Andre Steward’sfourth season at North-west Halifax. Not that thedogs are nipping at Stew-ards heels. His team’s per-formance over the pastthree years ensures himjob security, but the gleamin his eyes say that thismay be the kind of seasoncoaches’ dream about.

Explaining his cheerfuloutlook, Stewards says

“We’re alive, we’rehealthy, and it’s anotherfootball season, so opti-mism always reignssupreme.” Smiling broad-ly he adds, “It’s the begin-ning of the year and I real-ly like my team, I like thechemistry and the makeup of them. We’ve got goodkids and we also have goodfootball players. They’regood kids, but they’re alsogood football players andthat counts for a lot.”

Universally, one primeingredient for winningfootball games is seniorleadership and Stewardindicates that his team is

strong in that area.“We have pretty good

leadership right now withthe seniors,” he said. Thecoach then clicks off a listof veteran players, “Thereare the brothers, Alex andAngelo Boone, C.J. Fittsand Dominique Daniels,they are all seniors. Thenwe’ve got L. J. Watkins,Dante Williams and Al-fred Jackson, those guysgives us a real strong corethat I feel good about.

Not only do the Vikingshave leadership, they haveexperience, another es-sential ingredient forchampionship play.

“We’re not real old butwe’re experienced,” coachStewart pointed out.“We’ve only got abouteight seniors, but we’vegot a lot of kids in the jun-ior and sophomore classthat have had snaps on thevarsity team. And even ifa lot of our sophomoresdidn’t play on the varsitythey played on a 4-4 juniorvarsity team last year, sowe have a lot of game expe-rience,” he said.

Northwest has a historyof going right at its oppo-nents and this year won’tbe any different accordingto coach Steward.

“The names and faces

have changed, but the phi-losophy is the same,” hesaid. Stressing the pointSteward added, “I thinkyou’ve got to run the ballto win. We’re going tochange some things, butwe are going to come rightat people once again. Ithink our offensive line re-turns everybody exceptfor one starter. We lost oneguard from last year, so wereturning an offensiveline and they are experi-enced and explosive, so Ifeel pretty good aboutthat.”

Going into his fourthyear at Northwest Halifax,coach Steward has good

reason to feel good abouthis football team. He hastalent, leadership and ex-perience, the only thing heis asking for at this point isthe support of the fans.

“The support will be ap-preciated,” he says, “thekids have worked hard allspring and all summer.”Smiling, Steward couldnot resist the temptationto again talk about his fa-vorite subject—his play-ers. “They’re good kidsand they deserve the sup-port. They’re good kidsbut they are also mean andnasty enough to be goodfootball players and that’sa fine line,” he concluded.

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Is fourth year acharm forNorthwest Halifax

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2010 Northwest Halifax Vikings

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2010 Northeast Academy Eagles

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A storm may bebrewing againJJOONNAASS PPOOPPEE IIVV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

GASTON — DiegoHasty is in the secondyear of his second tour ofduty at NorthamptonWest STEM High Schooland this time around heand his new crop of Hur-ricanes are on the samepage. A year ago Hastyhad to learn all the newfaces, having left Gastontwo years earlier. Lastyear he got the job lateand didn’t have time towork with his new troopsmuch before practicestarted. But now he is feel-ing a little more comfort-able and hopes to get backto his old ways in Gaston,when the ’Canes were theteam to beat in the TarRoanoke Conference.

“They’re attitudes are alittle different this year,”Hasty said. “I came in latelast year and now we’vegone back to where I wantit to be. I think it’s beenpositive. Last year wewere like strangers be-cause I had been gone.”

When Hasty came backto Gaston last season theteam wasn’t used to hisstyle. Now majority ofthat team is back and

ready to show how farthey have come along. “Ithink we are going to lookmore like a team,” Hastysaid. “But we are still try-ing to find the right partsto be competitive.”

Hasty said he expects toshuffle a lot of playersaround before the seasonopener against RoanokeRapids on August 20.

The bulk of Northamp-ton West roster is madeup of juniors, a groupwho came to Gaston withbig expectations as fresh-men. “That’s the largest

group we’ve got andthey’ve been playing onthe varsity for a while,”Hasty said. “They havehad to adjust to me, but wehave gelled better now.They know my expecta-tions are greater. I see a lot

more workfrom thoseguys ... theyare going tohave to playa lot.”

Duringthe 7-on-7,junior Mar-shall Barksdale got ma-jority of snaps at quarter-back. He will be joined inthe backfield by class-mate Matthew Peebles,who emerged last seasonas one of the top backs inthe Roanoke Valley. Theduo looked sharp during

the annual jamboree lastFriday. Hasty was quickto point out that peopleshouldn’t forget about hisfew seniors.

“They have been solid,”he said.

Quashawn Robinson,Bryan Mason, BrandonCovington, Zack Broad-nax and Javarious Rooks,have “taken over” accord-ing to Hasty. “I don’t mindthe juniors contributing,

but when it comes downto the bottom line, I wantthe seniors to be the lead-ers. They’ve worked hardand they earned that.”

Hasty said he will leanon Broadnax for a lot ofbig plays. “As a coach I’ve

got to figure out a way toget the ball to these guysso they can become playmakers.”

He said he would love toline up and play smashball football, the style thatgot Northampton West tothe 1A title game in 2005,but he realizes he doesn’thave that personnel.“Everybody looks good inshorts,” Hasty said. “Butit won’t be until we playsome competition that I’llfind out what we’ve got.”

The schedule features alot of Roanoke Valley bat-tles as always. Northamp-ton West gets a tough startright out the gate atRoanoke Rapids on open-ing night. “Last year they(Roanoke Rapids) laid itto us,” Hasty said. “Hope-fully we will be a little bitmore competitive. Theyare going to be hard, wedon’t have it easy. North-west Halifax is a rivalgame, we played a really

good game against them(last year) and Plymouthis an eastern power. Theyare suppose to be loaded.”

The twist on the nonconference slate is confer-ence and county foeNorthampton East, whothe ’Canes will face twicethis season. “We wereshort a game and theywere short a game,”Hasty said. “In the longrun it will help.”

Conference wise, de-fending champion Wel-don is always tough,Southeast Halifaxemerged late and NorthEdgecombe advanced tothe eastern regional fi-nals. Hasty expects thesleeper to be Gates Coun-ty and preaches to hisguys about playing at ahigh level every night.

“There is going to bebalance,” Hasty said.“We’ve got to come to play.My motto is, we play onegame at a time.”

2010 Northampton West Hurricanes

Hurricanes Seniors

BBEENNNNYY OO.. HHOODDGGEESS

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

ROANOKE RAPIDS —Brian Biggerstaff servedas Halifax Academy’s de-fensive coordinator fortwo years before movingup to the head coachingposition and is lookingforward to the challenge.“I’m excited about (beingnamed head coach), it’s agood group of kids, I’veknown them for severalyears, I’ve been workingout here (Halifax Acade-my) for four years and I’mexcited about seeing whatthey can do come realgame play.”

A former offensiveguard at Roanoke RapidsHigh School and ChowanUniversity, Biggerstaff ispleased with his team’swork ethic. They havebeen working togethersince May and have con-tinued to produce, even inthe recent stretch of ex-treme hot weather. Big-gerstaff indicates that hemoved his practice timeback in view of the heatand employed “lots of wa-ter breaks” as a means ofensuring his team’shealth in the extreme

heat.Numbers are not great

in the Viking football pro-gram, however the threeplayers Halifax Academylost to graduation leavesthis year’s team relativelyexperienced. First yearhead coach Biggerstaffwas reluctant to projectindividual 2010 standouts,choosing to praise the en-tire team instead. Theyoung head coach indicat-ed that “there are a lot ofguys who will be con-tributing this year.”

Lack of numbers willforce most of Biggerstaffplayers to go both waysand in spite of his reluc-tance to call names, somenotable two way playerssure to impact Viking pro-

duction on offense and de-fense are runningback/linebacker J. W.Thomas, quarterback/de-fensive back Josh Thax-ton and fullback/defen-sive lineman Zack Hor-vath.

The Vikings are comingoff a 2 – 9 season, theyhave lived with that sadfact for a year and reportsare that last year’s dismalseason have stuck in thethroats of the players.Coach Biggerstaff put itthis way. “The kids havebeen carrying that 2 -9 sea-son on their backs, andthey want to bring backthe feeling of victory toHalifax Academy.

“Team unity is going tobe the key to our success.”

2010 Halifax Academy Vikings

Vikings look for turn around

Vikings Seniors

Page 11: Football Preview 2010

JJOONNAASS PPOOPPEE IIVV

THE DAILY HERALD

SPORTS EDITOR

ROANOKE RAPIDS —The Roanoke Rapids Yel-low Jackets start the 2010season at the top of themountain. The YellowJackets had a breakoutyear in 2009, winning theNorthern Carolina Con-ference title, going unde-feated in the NCC.Roanoke Rapids also wonthe first playoff game inschool history over NorthBrunswick. The 2010 foot-ball team return a goodnucleus of players whohave plenty of varsity ex-perience, so the excite-ment level is very high inRoanoke Rapids camp.

“The kids concentra-tion levels and effortshave been very good,”coach Russell Weinsteinsaid. “Our seniors are do-

ing a really, really goodjob so far.”

Weinstein returns nineseniors to his team whostarted or saw significantplaying time last season.Three of those seniors,quarterback JustinRawles, wide receiver D.J.Epperson and linebackerChris Lyons are startedon the varsity as fresh-men. Weinstein also hasthe luxury of having hisstarting tailback, TyrellEverette and two line-men, Bryan Dean andAlex Hawkins back in themix.

“They (the seniors)have learned an awful lotabout themselves and alot of football,” Weinsteinsaid. “They are as pre-pared as they can be tohelp lead this team thisyear.”

Rawles is the reigningNCC Player of the Yearand was the 2009 DailyHerald Offensive Playerof the Year. Along withRawles’ favorite target inEpperson and the veteranEverette, the RoanokeRapids offensive should-n’t miss a beat in 2010. Thedefense lost Kareem Mar-tin, who is now at UNC,but Lyons should feel theleadership role on thatside of the ball. Asidefrom his seniors, Wein-stein expects a lot fromsome of his juniors, in-cluding lineman J.J. Pat-terson and the super ath-letic A.J. Alston, both allconference and all areapicks a year ago.

“They’re contributionis huge,” Weinstein said.

“They are going to be twoof the better players inour program this year.”

Patterson (6’3,290) is al-ready drawing interestfrom college coaches andAlston, who plays on bothsides of the ball, is noslouch. “J.J. has gotten alot stronger and his big-ger,” Weinstein said. “Ifeel like he is going to be areally, really good playerhere. A.J. is a tremendousathlete and he is going tohave a much more impor-tant role in our offensethis year.”

Alston can line up al-most anywhere on offenseand has played wide re-ceiver and running backin the past. He is also be-ing groomed as the quar-terback of the future onceRawles graduates. He alsostarts at free safety on de-fense. Those are the bignames, but Weinstein has

a lot of players who he ex-pects some big contribu-tions from this season.

“I feel like Andrew Fer-guson is going to have atremendous year for us atthe center position,” hesaid. “We are really excit-ed about the progressHawkins has made aswell. It looks like StephenBradford is going to makesome contributions aftercoming up from the jun-ior varsity. Shelton Bene-field looks like he may beable to provide some helpon defense also.”

Weinstein was also highon a pair of sophomore re-ceivers in Stephen Vassorand Clay Lockamon, hop-ing they will provideRawles with a couple ofmore quality targetswhen teams focus on Ep-person.

Roanoke Rapids opensthe season at home versus

Northampton WestSTEM High School, thenhit the road for a highlyanticipated showdownwith Weldon the follow-ing week. The non confer-ence slate also includesSouthern Nash, who ad-vanced deep into the play-offs and 2A defendingstate champion Tarbor.

“We don’t duck any-body,” Weinstein said. “Ifyou are going to have agood program you have toplay good people. Youhave to bring your level ofplay up to where they areor better in order to growas a program. We are in agood 2A league. I’ve toldthe kids from day one, un-til we can play with these(teams) on the field, weare not there yet. We didmake a big stride lastyear, but hopefully we cancontinue to progress thisyear.”

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2010 Roanoke Rapids Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket Seniors

Can the Chargers reload in 2010? BENNY O. HODGES

THE DAILY HERALD SPORTS

CORRESPONDENT

WELDON — Af-ter losing an expe-rienced quarter-back, arguably thebest running backin the RoanokeValley, a prolificreceiver and a pas-sel of other stand-out players tograduation, theWeldon Chargershave their workcut out for them ifthey expect to re-peat as TarRoanoke Confer-ence championsand state champi-onship con-tenders.

A popular axiomin sports is that“number one isstill number oneuntil someoneknocks them off,”but replacing thequality playerslost from lastyears senior classis more than a no-tion for Chargerhead coach GradyWilliams.

The alwayscagey Williamsrecognizes thetask he has before

him, but is notstressed by havingthe bull’s eye of be-ing last yearsnumber one on hisback. When askedif being in every-one’s cross hairscreated pressurefor him coachWilliams respond-ed.

“No it doesn’t,this is a very com-petitive league, Ithink you’ve justgot to come outand play when youcome out here,” heexplained.

Williams real-izes that his teamwas greatly im-pacted by gradua-tion, “We lost alot,” he says. Hewhistles sharplyand listed some ofthe graduatedplayers. “Ne-hiamah, Pulley,Joseph McGee, myquarterback(Cameron Staten)and it doesn’t takelong for the num-bers to mount upbecause when youtalk about one ortwo players on of-fense, you’re talk-ing about the same

thing on defense.Most teams

would be in a stateof panic given thenumber and quali-ty of players lost tograduation, how-ever Weldon has ahistory of evengreater athletesreplacing greatathletes. It’s easyto accept as gospelcoach Williamsstatement that,

“We certainlythink so,” when heis asked if thereare replacementsstepping up to fillin for the departedplayers.

With just a littleprodding,Williams provides a list ofplayers he believescan do the job.“Running back,Chris Lynch, run-ning back, C.J.Watson, quarter-back, Victor Mal-lory, Aaron Mar-tin, another quar-terback, DerrickSmith, J’wan Ar-rington, my sonGrady III a center,he says and adds,

“I’m hoping thatWillis McGeesteps up as a re-

ceiver. He thennotes that theChargers, “havesome players, thebiggest thing ishow they are goingto jell, that’s whatwe’re looking forright now.”

Coach Williamssays the playersare responsible forthe Weldon win-ning mystique.

“I give credit tothe kids becauseit’s hard to get kidsto stay focused.We’ve been veryblessed, we’ve gotkids who stickwith the programpretty good,” hesaid.

Maybe it’s thekids, maybe it’sthe coaches,maybe it’s the wa-ter that allow theChargers to hit thereset button everyyear, but it’s bestnot to play the Wel-don Chargerscheap.

2010 Weldon Chargers

Chargers Seniors

Thank youfor readingThe Daily

Herald

The Expendables

They do allthe dirtywork, but

don’t get the noto-riety they de-serve. While theirteammates at theskill positions getthe glory, all thegrunt work isdone by this spe-cial group of foot-

ball players. Theguys up front, theguys in thetrenches, thegroup no teamcan go without.The skill guys getthe glory, picturesin the newspaperand all the atten-tion. But it’s theguys on the lines,in the trenches

who do all thedirty work.

The 2010 footballseason will featurean elite group ofplayers up frontwho will pave theway for runningbacks and by timefor quarterbacksto find their re-ceivers.

Defensively, the

D-line hold offblockers fromtheir linebackers,sacrificing gloryand their bodies,for the team.

Tab photos byJonas Pope IV andRandy Wrenn.Cover photo byRandy Wrenn. De-sign by Hope Calla-han.

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