High School Highlights

Parrous, Walker represent county in All-Star games

The annual East-West All-Star games and North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic returns to Greensboro the week of July 16-19.

The clinic annually draws thousands of high school coaches in various sports to Greensboro for clinic sessions with a variety of speakers covering sports specifics and changes in the rules.

In conjunction with the clinic, the East-West All-Star games are held in boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer and football.

Schedule for the All-Star games

Group ticket rates are available in advance of the All-Star games. Call 336-379-9095 for details.

• Basketball: Monday at Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: $5, Coliseum main lot. Game times: Girls at 6:30 p.m.; boys approximately 30 minutes after the girls game.

• Soccer: Tuesday at Macpherson Stadium, Bryan Park Soccer Complex. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: Macpherson Stadium lot. Game times: Girls at 6:30 p.m.; boys at 8:30 p.m.

• Football: Wednesday at Greensboro Grimsley’s Jamieson Stadium. Halftime fireworks display. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Parking: Free in main parking lot. Representatives of the Oasis Shrine will be taking donations for the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospitals. Game time: 8 p.m.

Cumberland County All-Stars Profiles

At press time, only two athletes were scheduled to take part in the games, Talia Parrous of Terry Sanford for East girls soccer and Greg Walker of Seventy-First for East football. There are no Cumberland County coaches on the staff of any of this year’s all-star teams.

21Talia Parrous Terry Sanford soccer• Talia Parrous, Terry Sanford East girls soccer 5-foot-6, forward.

Coach: Karl Molnar

Highlights: All-State as a senior. Scored 31 goals and had 23 assists. As a junior, Parrous was All-State, All-Region, All-Conference and the Cape Fear Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Fayetteville Observer Player of the Year. She scored 25 goals and had 14 assists. As a  sophomore, she had 24 goals and six assists. She also played basketball. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the Twelfth Man Club, Friends Club, French Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She signed an athletic grant-in-aid with UNC-Wilmington to play soccer. She will most likely major in sports management or nutrition. Her mother is her role model.




22Greg Walker Seventy First• Greg Walker, Seventy-First East football 6-foot-2, 260, offensive line.

Coach: Duran McLaurin

Highlights: As a senior, Walker was All-Conference, All-Region and All-910 All-Star. He won the Prestigious Helmet Award and had 18 pancake blocks. As a junior he was named Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. He signed an athletic grantin- aid with Johnson C. Smith where he will major in business. Coach Kellikai Aipia is his role model.

King seeks to bring winning to old neighborhood

20Ernest King WestoverErnest King, a 1992 graduate of Westover High School, is returning to his alma mater as head football coach, and he’s facing a pretty difficult challenge.

King, who was the former coach at E.E. Smith and has been at St. Pauls the last couple of seasons, replaces Craig Raye, who served one year as coach of the Wolverines.

King takes over a Wolverine team that went 4-8 last year and lost to powerful Southern Nash in the first round of the state 3-A football playoffs.

The timing of King’s return to Westover is complicated by how limited he’ll be in assessing his team before the first official day of fall practice on July 30.

There are two mandatory dead periods in July. One already took place the week of July Fourth. The second is the week of the North Carolina Coaches Association clinic and East-West All-Star games starting July 16.

That gives King barely two weeks to see what he has returning. Further complicating matters, he’s got to hire almost a full staff of assistant coaches. The only coach back from last season is head wrestling coach Bennie Tillman, who assisted with football last season.

King also needs to establish some continuity quickly as he’s the third head coach of the Westover football program in three seasons.

“The biggest thing is discipline,’’ he said. He plans to stick with the basics, teaching the fundamentals of offense, defense and special teams. By the second week of July, he hopes he can take his team to a seven-on-seven pass skeleton with another team to get a better evaluation of his available talent.

Another concern for King is getting his players into the weight room. “I want to try and get the kids stronger as much as possible,’’ he said. “We’ll lift during the season.’’

King said he’ll have to use the non-conference portion of Westover’s schedule to get the team ready for league play.

“We’ll take it week by week,’’ he said. “We will evaluate our kids every day in practice, see what types of schemes we need to run.’’

He expects to move players to different positions as needed, do what’s best for the team and try to keep things simple. “Some kids may not buy in,’’ he said. “The ones that do, we’ll continue to coach them up and try and get them better each week.’’

King said one of his biggest intangibles is getting the Wolverine football players to believe in Westover pride. “Hopefully me being a product of that environment and knowing what the demographics are, I can turn it around and get those kids out,’’ he said. “I may have to go out in the neighborhood and meet the kids in the hallways to get more kids out that normally don’t play football.’’

Terry Sanford not ready to yield grip on title

16Bruce McClelland Terry Sanford footballWith the loss of a talented senior class led by record-setting twins Christian and Andrew Jayne, Terry Sanford head football coach Bruce McClelland worked with a lot of new faces during this year’s spring football practice.

But McClelland is hopeful he’s got enough talented players returning to make another run at the Patriot Athletic Conference football title.

The Bulldogs were 11-2 last season, losing only to Cape Fear in league play en route to the championship and falling 42-41 to Jacksonville in the second round of the 3-A playoffs.

With Christian Jayne throwing often to Andrew Jayne last season, the Bulldogs were best known as a passing team, although they certainly were able to run the football.

Coming into the fall, McClelland said he has an open mind as to what kind of team the Bulldogs will be this year.

“I feel my duty is to work with the personnel I have,’’ McClelland said. “We’re going to run a similar offense. If we have the backs, we’ll run the ball. If we have guys that step up at wideout, we’ll throw it. But we’re going to lay all the cards on the table.’’

One of the big questions McClelland has to sort out is who will be the Bulldog quarterback this season.

Davidjohn Herz, a star pitcher for the Bulldogs’ Eastern 3-A finalist baseball team last season, came off the bench in some critical situations to spell Christian Jayne last year.

While he may be the front runner for the job, McClelland said there will be an open competition for the starting job this summer and fall between Herz, who is a senior, and junior Jacob Knight. “Those two will have all summer to battle, and the scrimmage games,’’ McClelland said. “We’ll go from there. Whoever gives us the best chance to win will play.’’

McClelland will also be looking for a new core of leaders on this team, but he’s got some solid candidates back from last year, players like running back Leonard Mosley, offensive and defensive lineman Tanner Morris and the versatile Dante Bowlding.

17Dante Bowlding Terry Sanford“The good sign of the spring is the definite transition of leadership,’’ McClelland said. “It seems seamless with Dante and Tanner and the senior class stepping up. These guys are ready to work. That’s not a coaching thing. That’s a leadership thing.

“We can appoint whoever we want to be the leaders, but the kids are going to follow who they are going to follow.’’

McClelland called Bowlding one of the best football players he’s ever coached, and an even better young man. “You’ll see him all over the field,’’ McClelland said. “He returns punts and kicks. His primary position is safety, but he’ll play some slot and wideout. He’s going to give us the versatility to run multiple sets, offensively and defensively.’’

Bowlding said as a junior he had to play a leadership role for the Bulldogs and doesn’t expect it to be different this season. “We’re mainly focused on trying to teach the new guys,’’ he said. “We’re obviously not as big as we were last year, but as long as you play with a lot of heart, it shouldn’t matter.’’

He thinks a lot of teams may look down on the Bulldogs because of the loss of the Jayne brothers, but he warns that’s not a good idea.

“No team should really look down on you,’’ he said.



PHOTOS: (T-B) Bruce McClelland & Dante Bowlding

Colts seek success after Galloway-Velazquez

18Jake Thomas Cape Fear football coachFor the Cape Fear football program, this is the year 1 A.J., as in after Justice Galloway-Velazquez.

The talented Cape Fear athlete is now a Campbell University freshman, after leading the Colts on the best four-year run of football in school history, a record of 43-13 that included a conference title, a 4-A state runnerup and Eastern 4-A runnerup finish.

“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment for us and some of our guys,’’ said Colt head coach Jake Thomas. “They’re handling it pretty well.’’

A player who will be fully in the spotlight for the Colts this fall is Cayden McKethan, who stepped in at quarterback for Galloway-Velazquez last year when he was battling injuries.

A sophomore this fall, McKethan completed 38 of 64 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s got a good grasp but it’s a work in progress,’’ Thomas said. “He’s not as big as Justice (McKethan is 6-feet-0, 195 pounds). He’s got good size, (he’s) a good athlete and (has) decent arm strength. He’s a smart football player.’’

Aside from replacing Galloway-Velazquez, Thomas has concern about the wide receivers and the secondary, where the Colts will be replacing a lot of losses. “We don’t have a lot of experience returning at those positions,’’ Thomas said. “We’re working on basic alignments, communication and knowing your assignments.’’

There are some bright spots for the Colts going into the fall, Thomas said. Those areas include the defensive and offensive lines, linebackers and running backs. “For the most part, all those  guys are back, so we feel good about them,’’ Thomas said.

Coming out of the spring, Thomas hopes his players will be able to grasp the team’s top three running and passing plays, as well as being able to line up in the right defense in response to the opposing offensive formation, along with reacting to any offensive motion.

Thomas welcomes back a number of players who are expected to play key roles this fall.

One of the biggest is Jaylen Hudson, who will be moving from linebacker to free safety. Hudson has already been getting college football offers.

Mark Burke will move from linebacker to strong safety, and T.J. Hale will move to a starting cornerback spot.

19Austin Hunt Cape FearRounding out the top returnees are Sincere Hale and Caleb Krings in the line, along with linebacker Austin Hunt.

Hunt is returning from an ACL injury that sidelined him last year. He and the other five players Thomas mentioned will serve as the Colt captains.

“Austin is doing good in the weight room and looks good out there,’’ Thomas said.

Hunt hasn’t been cleared for full contact and expects to be held out throughout the fall practices, possibly until the start of regular season, just to make sure he’s fully healed.

“It’s great to be with the guys once again,’’ Hunt said. “My lateral movement and speed is back and I’m still physical like usual. The hardest part is the pain and soreness and my knee getting tired. I’ve got to build my endurance back up.’’

Watching from the sidelines last season, Hunt saw room for improvement in Cape Fear’s pass rush. “I wasn’t too pleased with the sacks last year,’’ he said. “Run-wise, we’re pretty decent.’’

Hunt said the formula for winning again this fall is simple. “We’ve got to play as a team,’’ he said. “Everybody has to hold the rope. Everybody has to make big time plays for us. “We can’t lag behind. We’ve got to take two steps forward every day.’’


PHOTOS: (T-B) Jake Thomas & Austin Hunt

Britt theme for 2018: Bigger, stronger, faster

14Brian Randolph head coach Bigger, faster, stronger.

Those three words dominated the theme of spring workouts at Jack Britt High School this year as head coach Brian Randolph sought to avoid a repeat of what happened last fall when his Buccaneers lined up against Sandhills Athletic Conference powers.

“Last year we had a huge issue with getting pushed around in games when we played the bigger teams,’’ he said. “We wanted to get bigger, faster and stronger. Coming out here in the spring, we wanted to get better at the fundamentals, getting the small things right.’’

The Buccaneers didn’t get everything wrong under Randolph in last year’s season. They finished 6-6 overall and 4-3 in the Sandhills, which was good for a tie for fourth place with Pinecrest. They scored a big win over perennial power Richmond Senior and advanced to the state 4-AA playoffs where they suffered a first-round loss to Raleigh Millbrook.

Heading into the summer workouts, Randolph expects his defense is going to have to carry the Buccaneers this fall until some offensive holes can be filled.

“I think we’ll have a pretty good senior class coming back, especially on defense,’’ he said. That depth is highlighted by the return of four linebackers and a couple of solid defensive linemen.

15Michael MatthewsLosses at the skill positions will complicate things on offense. Among players Randolph will be counting on there are quarterback Brennan Shortridge, who returns after throwing for 1,524 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Chancellor Johnson, younger brother of former Buccaneer star Eric Johnson, is back at running back as is a speedy Cornell Raynor.

A key jack of all trades returns in Michael Matthews, who will be called on to play multiple positions on offense and defense, but he’s getting college offers as a linebacker.

“We want to work on getting better as a team, becoming a family,’’ Matthews said. “We want to be the best we can be. We feel like we’re going to have a great season.’’



PHOTOS: (T-B) Brian Randolph & Michael Matthews

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