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THE WORD: In his first season at Clayton last fall, coach Pinkowski
led the Comets to a 7-5 campaign that included a playoff berth
and a 3-3 record in the Greater Neuse River Conference. Two of
the team’s top three rushers – Hoy and Rowe – are back along
with defensive captain Brendle, a linebacker with great instincts.
Brendle’s 8. 5 tackles per game was one of the highest averages in the conference. Running back Joyner’s best position is
likely corner where he picked off a team-high five passes as a
sophomore. The Comets will take a quarterback-by-committee
approach early to see who steps up to replace Sam May under
center in Clayton’s run-heavy offense.
EAST WAKE WARRIORS
ENROLLMENT: 1,486 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 4-7, 2-3
THE COACH: John Poulnott
THE PLAYERS: Damontay Rhem (Sr., RB/LB), Tripp Harrington
(Jr., ATH), Quincy Jackson (Sr., WR/DB), Eric Hasbrouck (Sr.,
QB), Tyler Burton (Jr., WR/DB), Trevor Williams (Sr., OL/DL), Josh
Stubbs (Sr., OL/DL), Jalon Lindsay (Sr., RB/DB), Greg Taylor (Sr.,
WR/DB), Jacob Ellington (Jr., TE/DE), Alex Allen (Sr., WR/DB)
THE WORD: Senior tailback Rhem shared carries with quarterback Trent Evans last season, but he’ll be the featured option
this fall as the Warriors try to seize their first winning season
since 2004. Hasbrouck steps in as the starting quarterback
after seeing limited action as a junior. Big target Jackson, a
6-foot- 3, 185-pound receiver, is a star on the hardwood and is
the ideal red-zone threat with his leaping ability. Senior defensive tackle Stubbs is East Wake’s best player in the trenches, a
tackle-for-loss waiting to happen at 260 pounds. His strength
will benefit the Warriors this season.
GARNER MAGNET TROJANS
ENROLLMENT: 2,472 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 10-4, 4-2
THE COACH: Thurman Leach
THE PLAYERS: Nyheim Hines (Sr., RB/DB), Raekwon Britton
(Sr., ATH), Kevan Coppage (Sr., DL), David Remy (Sr., LB),
Jaelon Dean (Jr., DL), Collin Eddy (So, RB/DB), Chris Gillard
(Jr., FB/LB), Desmond Quinerly (Jr., DL), Parrish Tensiley (Sr.,
DL), Warren Messer (Sr., LB/FB).
THE WORD: Can any defense in the state stop senior ballcarrier
Hines? A decorated four-star recruit with more than 15 Division
I offers, he rushed for 3,137 yards and 58 total touchdowns
last season to emerge as one of the nation’s top running back
prospects. His blend of power and speed has ACC and SEC
coaches salivating. Garner is equally as talented on defense
with senior Britton who’s coming off a 135-tackle campaign.
Britton doesn’t generate Hines’ buzz, but he produces numbers that will benefit the Trojans in a prep football hotbed. If the
defense can force turnovers, Garner is a 4A title threat. Coach
Leach says Messer, who is transferring into the program, will
be a big help at linebacker. The JV team was 10-0 last year with
roughly 25 of those players joining the varsity squad this year.
HARNETT CENTRAL TROJANS
ENROLLMENT: 1,472 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 1-9, 0-6
THE COACH: Dave Thomas
THE PLAYERS: Jordan Thorpe (Sr., RB/LB), Kahlil Dixon (Sr.,
ATH), Jay McNeil (Sr., QB), Dashaun Arnold (Sr., ATH), Jerrell
Spears (Sr., RB/LB), Saquan Young (Jr., QB), Tavarres Murray (Sr., DB), Andy Maldonado (Sr., LB), Isaiah Wynn (Jr., FB/
LB), Cody Strother (Sr., LB), Brandon Powers (Sr., OL), Brian
Vargas (Jr., OL), Weston Hayes (Sr., TE/LB)
THE WORD: Fifteen seniors are back to try and erase a miserable 1-9 finish last fall, a stretch that included six conference
losses and five games with fewer than 10 points. Offensively,
the Trojans are in good hands with dual-threat standout McNeil, but he’ll need time – and space – to work behind a veteran offensive line that will start two seniors and three juniors.
Harnett Central has fallen on hard times since reaching the
4A state championship game against A.C. Reynolds in 2009.
The Trojans have had just one winning season since and have
struggled to compete in the Greater Neuse River.
ENROLLMENT: 1,666 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 11-2, 6-0
THE COACH: Cedric Dargan
THE PLAYERS: Cameron Bailen (Sr., FB/LB), Justin Blango
(Sr., WR/DB), DaQuan Lilly (Sr., WR/LB), Nick Pope (Sr., QB/
DB), Jaime Brown (Sr., WR/DB), Rodney Smith (Sr., OL/DL),
Duncan Harris (Sr., OL/DL), Preston Minter (Sr., FB/DL)
THE WORD: Coach Robert Senseney resigned in the offseason after posting a 25-20 record in four years with the
Knights. He is now the head coach at Lawndale Burns.
ENROLLMENT: NA (4A)
COACH: Jermaine Evans
THE PLAYERS: Carnaji Andrews (Soph., QB), Kha-Aliq Lewis
(Jr., RB), Blake Kelly (Jr., WR), Colby Cooper (Jr. WR)
THE WORD: After opening its doors last fall and playing a
junior varsity schedule, Rolesville returns every player and
opens varsity football in August without a single senior. The
Rams won their first-ever game on Aug. 29, 2013 — a 53-45
shootout over Heritage.
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH BULLDOGS
ENROLLMENT: 1,696 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 4-7, 3-3
THE COACH: Mike Thibodeau
THE PLA YERS: Brandon Flint (Sr., RB), Jeff King (Sr., DL), Malik
Ford (Jr., WR), Ravon Harrington (Sr., WR), Dylan Parham
(Jr., QB), Jaquell Taylor (Sr., ATH), Laequan Sellers (Sr., DB),
Chadwick Massenburg (Sr., RB), John Sengal (Sr., LB), Leon
Hunter (Sr., OL), Shadrack Boye (Sr., OL), Zack McElroy (Sr.,
TE), Quion Harris (Sr., LB)
THE WORD: Thibodeau, an assistant at Knightdale, was hired in
February as the Bulldogs’ new head coach. He replaces Marvin
Burke who resigned after two seasons without a playoff win.
Thibodeau inherits an upper classmen-rich roster led by 16
seniors – most of whom haven’t tasted postseason victory. If
one blinks, they’ll miss Flint, a pint-sized senior and one of the
program’s fastest players. The shifty tailback will get a ton of
chances in the backfield along with Massenburg. The Bulldogs’
new-look defense could feature as many as six first-year starters. Two veterans – linebackers Sengal and Harris – hit the
weight room in the offseason and improved their strength.
WEST JOHNSTON WILDCATS
ENROLLMENT: 1,390 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 4-7, 2-4
THE COACH: Jimmy Williams
THE PLAYERS: Cameron Williams (Sr., WR/DB), Brandon Baucom (Sr., RB), Jake Strickland (Jr., LB), Chris Perez (Sr., DB),
Cody Murdock (Sr., RB), Dylan Lawrence (Sr., LB), Nay Fuller
(Sr., DL), Sam Campbell (Sr., OL/DL), Tre Frederick (Sr., WR/DB)
THE WORD: After coach Randy Ragland’s departure in 2012
left the Wildcats searching for answers following a playoff
trip, Williams took over and – with a young team – managed
four wins in 11 games last season. But there’s a silver lining.
Six of West Johnston’s seven losses were by t wo touchdowns
or less, the outlier being a blowout at Garner. With the senior
leadership of players like Perez, Lawrence and Baucom, the
Wildcats expect to be a postseason competitor and possible
dark horse in the 4A Greater Neuse. Frederick is a multi-year
starter in the secondary with speed to burn at wide receiver.
A. L. BROWN WONDERS
ENROLLMENT: 1,439 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 7-5, 4-3
THE COACH: Mike Newsome
THE PLAYERS: Daveon Perry (Sr., DB), Khari Wilkes (Sr., DB),
Josh Barlow (Sr., OL), Jamel Logan (Sr., DE), Damon Johnson
(Jr., QB), Chris Hill (Sr., DB), Keyshawn Butler (Sr., DB), R.J.
Fowler (Sr., RB), Christian Neal (Sr., RB/LB), Logan Miller (Sr.,
LB), Hunter Lomax (Sr., OL), Ian Keese (Sr., OL), Brylan Weaks
(Sr., WR), Denzel Sherer (Sr., DE), Cameron Hodges (Sr., DL)
THE WORD: Newsome, one of the state’s most-highly respected
state champion coaches, enters his fourth season in Kannapolis
and has several senior playmakers at his disposal coming off
a – by his standards – disappointing and injury-riddled 7-5 campaign. With a strenuous offseason workout plan and attention to
detail during the summer, the Wonders are a squad capable of
double-digit victories this fall and that starts with the leadership
qualities from quarterback Johnson. Playmaker Perry is back for
his final campaign after earning the team’s most outstanding
defensive back and special-teams player of the year awards as
a junior. He is a ballhawk in the secondary and a game-breaker
with the football in his hands as a return man. A.L. Brown has
registered 36 consecutive winning seasons.
ENROLLMENT: 1,769 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 6-6, 5-2
THE COACH: Matt Jenkins
THE PLAYERS: Dimitrius Camp (Sr., RB), Mitch Morgan (Sr.,
LB), Deion Moore (Sr., OL/DL), Jeff Chadwick (Sr., OL), Joe
Taylor (Sr., OL/DL), Darren Butler (Sr., OL), Ahkema Evans
(Sr., DB), Micah Grier (Sr., DB), Wyatt Grubbs (Sr., LB)
THE WORD: Hopewell suffered through a bout with Jekyll and
Hyde in 2013, losing five consecutive games following a season-opening victory over Garinger. The Titans then responded with
five straight wins before a first-round playoff loss at High Point
Central ended the campaign. Building off late-season success
last fall is the goal early for a team that’s healthy up front with a
senior-driven offensive line. Multi-year starter Taylor and Moore
lead a veteran group against one of the state’s toughest 4A
schedules. Senior Grubbs came into his own last season and is
expected to have a banner campaign at outside linebacker.
ENROLLMENT: 2,313 (4A)
2013 RECORD: 10-2, 6-1
THE COACH: Miles Aldridge
THE PLAYERS: Mark Fields (Sr., DB), Carl Tucker (Sr., ATH),
Corey Bell (Sr., CB), Nate Potts (Jr., RB), Quenten Johnson
(Sr., LB), Christian Young (Sr., LB), Marquill Osborne (Jr., DB)
THE WORD: Hough has the only team in the state with three
expected Division I starters on defense, all ranked among
the Top 25 players in North Carolina by several national
recruiting services. Defensive backs Fields, Tucker and Bell
each bring their own unique set of skills to a secondary that
should dominate in the Charlotte area. Linebacker Young is
another college-level talent with interests from several in-state programs. The ultimate goal for this year’s team is to
get past Butler and Mallard Creek for Queen City supremacy.
That’ll be difficult following Bobby Collins’ resignation in February to take the head coaching position at Lancaster High
in South Carolina. Formerly at Spring Valley, coach Aldridge
was awarded Hough’s top post in March.
Southeast Raleigh Magnet
Looks to Return to Glory Days
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH MAGNET HIGH School had some impressive seasons in the early to mid 2000s but the Bull- dogs have had trouble more recently
competing against that successful past.
“We’ve still been competitive and have been
able to make it into the playoffs because of our
ability to beat the teams in our conference,”
said coach Michael Thibodeau.
A former player, who helped lead the Bulldogs
during those glory days a decade or so ago, is doing his part to help his former school compete at
the highest level. Leroy Harris has always been
an inspiration to the young players at Southeast
Raleigh, who see that hard work and determination can land you in the National Football League.
But Harris, who played six seasons for the
Tennessee Titans before signing with the De-
troit Lions last year, wants to contribute more
than inspiration to the Bulldogs.
The weight room facility is basically the same
as it was when the school opened in the 1990s.
“It’s small with little ventilation and much of
the equipment needs replacing,” said Thibodeau.
“We approached him with the idea to help reshape and makeover the weight room. He loves
Southeast Raleigh and returns every summer
for a local youth camp. He is currently working
with the NFL to partner in making donations to
gradually make the weight room into a high-class facility in Wake County.”
Upgrading the weight room and facility over-
all should provide a big boost for the Bulldogs.
“It will be huge,” Thibodeau said. “The kids are
overcrowded with the excess of old equipment
that we have. We want to make it safer and much
more attractive to the entire student body to use.”
Harris, now a free agent, played his college
football down the street at NC State. His coach
at Southeast Raleigh, Keith Boddie, is now the
Bulldogs’ athletic director.
“Leroy loves Southeast Raleigh and wants
“We are looking to get the Bulldogs back to
to give the players the best opportunity to suc-
ceed,” Thibodeau said. “He loves the school
and will always be a Bulldog.”
The Bulldogs finished third last year in the
4A-Greater Neuse River Conference with a 4-7
record. They play a spread/pistol-I offense and
a 4-2-5 defense.
the days where nobody wanted to schedule us,”
Thibodeau said. “Our goals are to win a minimum of
seven games and host a first-round playoff game.”
The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 22 against
Fayetteville Jack Britt. — Terry Jacoby
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH BULLDOGS2014