High School Highlights

Boosters dedicate bus to memory of McFayden

Screen Shot 2019 06 17 at 100855 PMThe Hope Mills Boosters American Legion baseball team solved a nagging problem while also paying tribute to a beloved supporter who recently died.

Getting to road baseball games each summer was a challenge for the boosters as coaches and team members had to find their own transportation to and from games. 

That problem was solved thanks to the support of the Massey Hill Lions Club and one of its members, Fred McFayden. With their help, the Boosters bought an old Cumberland County school bus and converted it into an activity bus.

They used it for the first time last month. 

“The bus was bought for safety reasons at the conclusion of last season,’’ said Mark Kahlenberg, coach of the Boosters team. “The Massey Hill Lions Club has been a great support system for our program. Fred was the biggest reason the bus was purchased, and he’s always been there for us.’’ 

Tragically, McFayden died unexpectedly this April, at the age of 64, before the 2019 American Legion baseball season began.

“The club thought it would be fitting to name (the bus) in honor of Fred as an enduring testament to his love for Legion baseball and his dedication to keep it alive in Hope Mills,’’ Kahlenberg said.

Jack Britt seeks return to football glory days

19JoshTownsendEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

Brian Randolph was an assistant coach under former Jack Britt football head coach Richard Bailey during the period when Buccaneer football enjoyed consistent success. Randolph has been working hard to return the Buccaneer program to that same level of winning. Last year’s 5-7 record, which included a trip to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A state playoffs, was a step in that direction.

Randolph hopes to keep the march to championship contention going in the season ahead.

“I want to set a standard of excellence that’s been here since the school was open,’’ Randolph said. “Nobody is going to be perfect, but we can all reach for that higher level in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s football or academics. That’s what restoring order is all about this year.’’

Britt rebounded from a 0-3 start last season to go 4-3 in the Sandhills Conference, including a win against 4-A Eastern finalist Seventy-First.

“We were within one game of finishing second in the conference,’’ Randolph said. “The mantra last year was don’t quit, regardless of what happens. They did not quit.’’

But the Buccaneers did suffer substantial graduation losses on both sides of the football, especially defensively, where the entire linebacker corps was wiped out.

The good news on offense is almost the entire line will return, but Randolph will have to replace veteran quarterback Brennan Shortridge.

“I think there are pieces in place to be successful,’’ Randolph said. “But as you know, the conference we play in is difficult.’’

The Buccaneers open with a brutal non-conference slate that includes South View, Pine Forest and Terry Sanford. Pine Forest was the Patriot Athletic Conference regular season title. That trio combined for 31 wins in 2018, and all reached the third round of the state playoffs.

Pass defense will be critical for the Buccaneers as Randolph hopes his team can play a lot of man-to-man coverage. “That frees us up to do more things up front, especially with the loss of linebackers and defensive line,’’ he said. He said Britt needs to find ways to put pressure on the ball and create what he calls havoc plays.

A player who figures to be central in making that happen is cornerback Josh Townsend, who will be a senior this fall.

Townsend said last season the Buccaneers weren’t entirely in the same flow. The focus so far for 2019 is to get everyone doing their job and knowing what that job is on the field.

“Younger guys have got to step up,’’ Townsend said. “Older people have to lead them there, teach them to do it the right way.’’

Townsend expects some familiar teams to be in the hunt for this year’s Sandhills Athletic Conference championship.

“Seventy-First always gives us a good run,’’ he said. “Richmond Senior was really good last year. They had a great team.’’

Randolph is working to get Jack Britt included in the discussion when the subject is conference championship.

“People in this building understand there’s a standard of excellence you have to attain to,’’ he said. “We’re following that same mantra on the football field.’’

Photo: Josh Townsend

East girls All-Stars have heavy Cumberland County flavor

19DavidMayKendalMooreThis summer’s East All-Star girls basketball team will have a strong Cumberland County flavor. The head coach and three players on the team hail from Fayetteville.

Pine Forest’s David May will serve as head coach for the East team in the annual East- West All-Star game. It will be played Monday, July 15, at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The girls will play at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 8:30 p.m.

Joining May as members of his East girls team will be Alex Scruggs of E.E. Smith, Kendal Moore of Pine Forest and Kate Perko of Terry Sanford.

Scruggs was the Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference while Moore made first team all-conference. Scruggs is going to Wake Forest, and Moore is headed for North Carolina State.

Perko was a second team All-Patriot Athletic Conference selection. She will be playing for Meredith College.

The East All-Star boys basketball roster was announced earlier, and there is one Cumberland County player on the squad. Brion McLaurin of Seventy-First, Player of the Year in the Sandhills Athletic Conference, will perform for the East squad.

L to R: David May and Kendal Moore

Pinecrest takes Sandhills Wells Fargo Cup

15ChadBarbourPinecrest High School won the Wells Fargo Cup for the Sandhills 4-A Athletic Conference, according to a press release from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The cup is awarded to the conference school with the best overall athletic program as determined by points awarded for order of finish in each official conference sport.

Pinecrest capped its championship this year with a strong showing in the spring, taking conference titles in boys and girls track and baseball.

Jack Britt placed second in the chase for the cup. The Buccaneers won boys tennis and placed second in softball this spring.

Richmond Senior placed third with a title in softball and second place in baseball.

Here are the point totals for each school: Pinecrest 138.5, Jack Britt 118.5, Richmond Senior 103.5, Lumberton 73, Scotland 73, Hoke County 64.5, Purnell Swett 48.5, Seventy-First 43.

• Some people were a little surprised to see the name of Pine Forest’s Isaiah Bennett during the closing rounds of the recent Major League Baseball draft. A pitcher for the Trojans, Bennett has seen little action for more than a year as he’s been recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

Bennett had already committed to play baseball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when the San Diego Padres took him in the 36th round of the draft.

The East Village Times said Bennett is the thirdranked player overall in the state of North Carolina despite his injury problems. They called him an athletic right-handed pitcher with a high upside. They said his fastball is between 89 and 91 mph, sometimes hitting 92 or 93.

Multiple sources indicate Bennett will likely decide to decline the draft opportunity with the Padres and enroll at North Carolina to play for the Tar Heels.

• Two players from Terry Sanford were named to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association 3-A All-State team earlier this month: Davidjohn Herz and Justin Ebert.

Herz decided to forgo playing with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, signing a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs last week. He is awaiting assignment to a Cubs rookie league team, most likely in Arizona. Ebert is committed to play baseball at High Point University in the fall.

• At the most recent meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Education, South View High School’s Isaiah Fultz was recognized for his accomplishments in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A track and field meet.

Fultz became the first wheelchair-bound athlete from Cumberland County to both compete and win in the state 4-A track meet. He took the championship in the wheelchair 100-meter competition with a time of 21.91 at the state meet at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.

South View athletic director Chad Barbour said as far as he’s been able to determine, Fultz is the first wheelchair athlete from Cumberland County to compete in track and field at the state level.

Photo: Isaiah Fultz, left, is the first wheelchair-bound athlete from Cumberland County to both compete and win in the state 4-A track meet. To his right is South View athletic director Chad Barbour

South View program aims to keep rising

18MatthewPembertonEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

Rodney Brewington was a player on the 1991 South View High School football team that won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A state championship. Last year, his Tigers got a taste of that kind of success as they finished in a tie for second place in the Patriot Athletic Conference, one game back of regular-season champion Pine Forest.

But Brewington has a big rebuild to do on offense, and it involves replacing his son, four-year Tiger quarterback Donovan Brewington.

“The biggest thing we are looking for now is guys who have to step up and lead,’’ Brewington said.

They’ll also need to replace his son’s favorite target, Emery Simmons, one of the best deep threats in Cumberland County, who’s now playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

One player who will be counted on heavily is running back Matthew Pemberton, the secondleading rusher in Cumberland County Schools last season with 1,667 yards and 23 touchdowns, the latter the most in the county. “Matthew Pemberton is going to carry a heavy load,’’ Brewington said.

On the defensive side of the ball, Brewington thinks the Tigers have players who can fill the positions, they just need to step up and show what they can do to make big plays.

Offensively, Brewington thinks this will be the year of the running back in Cumberland County. Nearly every school will have a talented runner in the backfield who can take the ball the distance whenever it is handed to them, he said.

South View’s best, Pemberton, is hoping to get a lot of college looks while doing all he can to help his teammates be winners.

“We have the players this year to do the same or better than we did last year,’’ Pemberton said. “We just have to be disciplined and listen to coach.’’

Pemberton said he expects to be called on to do more things to fill some of the void left by the departed seniors. “I have to do more to help the younger kids understand what they need to do in game situations,’’ he said.

Photo: Matthew  Pemberton

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