THE COASTAL REGION OF NORTH CAROLINA HAS CER- tainly emerged as one of the most talent-rich regions with an abundance of schools that can dominate any team in the state on any given Friday night.
In fact, four teams from the region are defending champions and
each of those programs is poised to make a return trip to the finals.
The Havelock Rams will be looking to three-peat as 3A champions
while New Bern hopes to win its third state championship in the
past seven years.
Havelock has an iron grip on the 3A classification and that grip
looks to get tighter as head coach Jim Bob Bryant and the Rams
have reloaded despite losing a ton of talent and two of their top
three rushers from last year. Gone is University of South Carolina-bound Pharoh Cooper, but expect Derrell Scott to step in and fill
Coach Bryant’s wide-open offensive scheme paralyzes defenses
so expect the scoreboard operators to be in overdrive as the Rams
have averaged 48 points per game over the last two seasons.
But don’t be lulled into thinking Havelock is solely an offensive
juggernaut as the Rams are just as ferocious on defense, suffocat-
ing the opposition with five shutouts over their last two champion-
ship runs and giving up just 11 points per game.
Throw in the 20-0 record the JV Rams have compiled over the last
two years and the outlook for 2013 is very strong.
New Bern dominated the 4A classification last year and could do
the same again, but they’ll have to replace several key departing
seniors who were the core of their title run. However, the talent,
while young and untested, is there and the expectations remain
the same for the Bears.
The biggest change for New Bern is a new conference. The Bears
depart from the Mideastern Conference and move to the Eastern
Carolina 3A-4A league, which will cut down on travel.
Speaking of the Mideastern Conference, it’s been four years
since anyone other than New Bern won that league, but it’s getting
a shakeup of its own with the addition of three 3A teams to make
it a split conference.
New Hanover should certainly be the team to take New Bern’s
spot atop the league, but Hoggard will be strong as well with a very
powerful offensive and defensive front. But New Hanover should
prevail with an abundance of team speed and athleticism.
Another team moving classes is Southwest Onslow. The Stal-
lions have been a benchmark for success in Eastern North Carolina
and the defending champions should continue that dominance as
they move from class 1A to 2A.
Southwest Onslow head coach Phil Padgett is among the win-
ningest coaches in the state and the Stallions are loaded with
speed and strength, which will make them hard to beat at The
With Southwest Onslow moving back to 2A, it will revive the
crosstown rivalry with Jacksonville Northside. Northside is among
the toughest programs in 2A and is coming off of a 14-1 campaign
that saw the Monarchs narrowly fall to Carrboro in the 2AA Eastern
In the northern part of the Coastal Region, the action will be
fierce and competitive with some conference shakeups, but Plym-
outh, Manteo, Elizabeth City Northeastern and Edenton Holmes
will still be the benchmark teams everyone else is chasing.
Taylor Woods, Havelock
TOP 5 TEAMS
1HAVELOCK: The dynasty will con- tinue as Jim Bob Bryant’s team is well
QB Ward Coleman
DL Oshane Ximines
equipped to win its third 3A title in a row and
RB Derrell Scott
DL Alva Muldrow
pummel opponents in the process.
RB Shawn Furlow
DL Kentavius Street
RB Taylor Woods
DL J’Veon Walker
2NEW BERN: The 4A defending state champs look to reload and make a
WR Michael Bowman
LB Coult Culler
march toward back-to-back titles.
WR Josh Cabrera
LB Cody Purdie
3NEW HANOVER: Knocking on the door will be the New Hanover Wildcats, who
WR Tavis Stanley
John A. Holmes
LB Daniel Everett
will have a fully stocked stable of athletes as
TE Luke Ward
DB Dexter Wright
they attempt to claim the 4A title.
OL Nathan McConnell Jacksonville
DB Kirk Messick
OL Shawn Best
DB Mike Hughes
4SOUTHWEST ONSLOW: The heat will be turned up on the 2A ranks now that
Southwest Onslow has moved up in class.
OL Frankie Keller
DB Kendall White
The Stallions are expecting big things.
ATH DeAndre Thompkins Swansboro
ATH Jertaves Jenkins
5JACKSONVILLE: After a long absence, the Jacksonville Cardinals are once
again in the conversation.
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NORTH CAROLINA 2013