NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
IN THIS CLASSIFICATION, IT ALL STARTS WITH EAST Lincoln – the defending 2AA champion who returns one of the state’s best players in Chazz Surratt. Surratt led the No. 1 Mustangs (16-0) to the 2AA
state title last year while rushing for 1,239 yards and throw-
ing for 4,338. He tossed 51 touchdowns to 11 interceptions
and ran for 22 more scores.
The Mustangs have won two titles in the last three years
and Surratt has plenty of help to try to make it three in four.
Surratt’s little brother, Sage, is a 1,000-yard receiver. The
defense loses some to graduation, but aside from that the
Mustangs are loaded for another run.
At No. 2, reigning 2A champion Shelby ( 14-2) has a few holes
to fill from a year ago, but the Golden Lions, who play in the
same conference as reigning 3A champ Crest, should do fine.
Linebacker Dax Hollifield, who had 112 tackles, is now a
sophomore as is running back Da Da Brooks ( 6. 8 yards per carry).
Junior Jayden Borders is a 1,000-yard receiver and should help
new quarterback Darquez Lee. Lee threw just 15 passes last year.
The biggest concern will be the maturation of the defensive
line, which loses three players who combined for 35 sacks.
No. 3 Washington is a newcomer to having its name
mentioned this high in the preseason. The Pam Pack ( 14-2)
did not win 10 games in a season from 2000 to 2011, but
have won 36 over the last three.
Washington’s only losses came to 3A state runner-up
Havelock in the season opener and to 2AA champ East
Lincoln, 14-13, in the title game.
Washington doesn’t put the ball in the air much – it attempted
just 92 passes – so finding replacements for its three senior
running backs will be key to its success. Clinton Pope ( 7 yards per
carry) and new quarterback Rayekwon Satterwaithe ( 11. 8 per
carry) will be counted on early in the season.
There are losses on the defensive side of the ball but top
tacklers Lexroy Brown (185 tackles, 7. 5 sacks) and Brandon
Jackson (151) were all over the field a year ago.
The Clinton Dark Horses ( 13-2) are No. 4 in the preseason.
Clinton was the only team to beat 1AA champ Wallace-Rose
Hill and only lost to East Bladen in league play and Shelby
31-7 in the 2A state final.
Clinton is returning to prominence. The Dark Horses won
an average of 11 games per season from 2000 to 2006,
including two state titles, but failed to win more than eight in
any season until 2014.
Junior running back Ryheem Skinner peeled off 2,043
yards and 26 touchdowns last year.
Expect a big year from No. 5 Northeastern. The Eagles
( 14-1) out of Elizabeth City have two 1,000-yard rushers, a
quarterback who attempted 53 throws for 555 yards in a
backup role and a 1,000-yard receiver.
Northeastern will put up the points, but the key to getting
back to the 2AA East final will be stopping the run, which the
Eagles did a year ago (seven shutouts or single-digit points
allowed) until the 41-17 loss to Washington. – J. Mike Blake
Defending champion East
Lincoln returns a cast of
major players, including do-
it-all athlete Chazz Surrett.
QB Jamie Newman, Graham
RB Ricky Person, Franklinton
RB Marcus Williams, SW Edgecombe
RB Ryheem Skinner, Clinton
WR Sage Surratt, East Lincoln
WR Jayden Borders, Shelby
TE Jelani McKnight, Thomasville
OL Johnson Sloan, East Duplin
OL Zach Mayo, Mount Pleasant
OL Aaron Ayers, Randleman
OL Jake Appling, Shelby
ATH Chazz Surratt, East Lincoln
DL Jimmie Taylor, Southwest Onslow
DL Zion DeBose, North Rowan
DL Nick Ashcraft, Monroe
DL Zach Anderson, Chase
LB Eric Graham, Red Springs
LB DJ Alexander, Salisbury
DB Desmen Robinson, Monroe
DB Germane Crowell, Carver
DB Daniel Reid-Bennett, Lexington
DB Bruce Squires, Chase
ATH Alex Johnson, Newton-Conover
1. East Lincoln