A number of Cumberland County high school athletes recently received statewide recognition by being honored as all-stars and were given the chance to compete in all-star competition, subject to the lifting of COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions later this summer.
Most of the athletes were chosen to take part in this summer’s North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star games in Greensboro this summer.
Here’s a brief look at each of the honorees:
Cape Fear head coach Jake Thomas was previously chosen as an assistant coach for the East team in this summer’s East-West game at Grimsley High School in Greensboro on Wednesday, July 22.
Four Cumberland County football players were named to the East roster, linebackers Mark Burks of Cape Fear and Jackson Deaver of Terry Sanford, running back Matthew Pemberton of South View and wide receiver Anthony Fiffie of Jack Britt.
Thomas will coach the linebackers in the game. He said Deaver was a four-year starter with
the Bulldogs who plays like a coach on the field. “He’s very smart and will come up and hit you,’’ Thomas said.
Deaver was the defensive player of the year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He finished second in Cumberland County in tackles with 162.
Burks is a versatile player who can also double as a safety. “That’s a plus when you’re coaching in an all-star game,’’ Thomas said. A three-year captain for Cape Fear, Thomas called Burks an outstanding teammate and leader.
Burks had 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He was first team All-Patriot Athletic Conference at linebacker.
Fiffie is the only one of the four county players that Thomas didn’t actually see in a game this season since Cape Fear and Britt don’t play each other. “I’ve heard offensive coaches talking about him, his size as a receiver and his hands,’’ Thomas said. “He does a great job of running routes and being precise.’’
Fiffie was a first team All-Sandhills Athletic Conference wide receiver. He led Cumberland County in receiving with 81 catches for 1,156 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Thomas called Pemberton a versatile playmaker who can do all kinds of things to help a team win. “He’s just a tremendous athlete,’’ Thomas said.
Pemberton was Athlete of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He rushed 230 times for 1,919 yards and 31 touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns.
Terry Sanford’s Maiya Parrous was the lone county player selected to the East girls soccer team. Previously announced as head coach of the team was Pine Forest’s Isaac Rancour.
Like the rest of the soccer players in the state, Parrous had her senior season stripped from her when the spring sports season was halted on
Before play was halted this season, Parrous was one of the leading scorers in Cumberland County. She had eight goals and two assists. Last season she scored 19 goals.
Parrous, who will attend the College of Charleston in the fall, said she’s excited about what she hopes will be one more chance to put on the uniform and compete as a high school player.
“Everyone hopes it happens,’’ she said of the soccer all-star game, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, at Greensboro’s MacPherson Stadium.
Rancour said he plans to play Parrous at a wing position. “I think she has good technical ability and fits in well with the other players,’’ Rancour said. “I hope she can score a few goals.’’
Rancour said all-star game officials indicated they would make a final decision on whether they will be able to play this summer around mid-June. “A lot of it revolves around the coaches clinic and what’s going on there,’’ he said.
The East-West games are annually held in conjunction with the North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic, which takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
Although not connected to the East-West competition in Greensboro, Cape Fear High School golf standout Toni Blackwell was chosen to take part in the fifth annual Tarheel Cup as a member of the
The competition, which has been canceled because of COVID-19, was scheduled May 15-17 at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary.
The event would have pitted six girls and six boys from the eastern part of the state against six boys and six girls from the western part of the state using a Ryder Cup-style format.
Blackwell won the NCHSAA East Regional championship this year and placed third in the 3-A state tournament with a two-day total of 80-69-149.
She plans to join the golf team at UNC-Pembroke in the fall.