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Football fever: Coastal Plains holds inaugural media day

Published 4:30pm Thursday, August 7, 2014

BAYBORO — Representatives from five of the six high school football teams in the Coastal Plains Conference convened at Pamlico County High School on Thursday to discuss the upcoming season.

Directing the conference’s first ever media day was conference president and Pamlico County Athletic Director Earl Sadler Jr., who admitted he borrowed the idea from neighboring North Carolina high school conferences.

With football practice well underway and the regular season kicking off in just two weeks, coaches and players stepped in front of the microphones and cameras for this first time in 2014. Down the line, each team shared a common theme.

For a conference that produced just one, arguably two standout teams in 2013, growth, depth and consistency were the principle topics of conversation, beginning with Jones Senior, a team that went winless last season.

The Trojans finished in the basement of the Coastal Plains and will return just four starters this fall. However, head coach John Davis and his coaching staff are emitting an aura of confidence and new attitude competing in what is shaping up to be a very winnable conference.

With the resignation of East Carteret head football coach Mike Sartain in May, the Mariners upgraded at the position last month, hiring Greg Peele, who spent 10 years as Pamlico County head football coach from 1997-2007. Peele, who garnered respect from virtually everyone in the room, amassed a 90-39 overall record and remarkable 41-9 conference record in his tenure as Hurricanes head coach. Despite his team new posting a 5-7 record last season, Peele inherits a roster full of athletes and returning starters, including Ty Simmons and Jacque Brown.

Peele’s former team and media day host Pamlico County is fresh off a second-place finish in the Coastal Plains. Kevin Yost, who is entering his second season as Hurricanes head coach, is looking towards his senior leaders — running back Tony Credle and receiver Cameron Moore — to spearhead a young roster. Defensively, he’s counting on an unproven secondary to force turnovers and support a veteran core of linebackers.

“’We just want to continue making strides in the right direction,” Yost said. “My goal is to compete for the top spot in conference and make the playoffs.”

Pamlico will have to keep pace with last year’s Coastal Plains leader, the Lejeune Devil Pups, to have any shot at a title. After an impressive 13-2 record, conference championship and state tournament semi-final appearance, head coach Darryl Schwartz will have his entire defensive line returning this season.

“We know everyone is out to get us, but that’s ok because we’ve had a great camp so far,” he said.

Beaufort County’s own Jeff Carrow, head coach of the Southside Seahawks, closed the press conference, highlighting his team’s rapid improvement from last season and the new physicality the Seahawks bring.

“I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, but none of that matters unless we put it all together on game day. I’m pleased with what we have now, but not satisfied by any means.”

Southside opens the season on the road at North Duplin at 7:30 p.m., while the Northside Panthers will be at Creswell. The 2014 season kicks off on Aug. 22.

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