Preseason football reportPublished 1:31pm Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Systems aligning, talent rising to the top
It’s been two weeks since the 2014 North Carolina high school football season officially kicked off, as each county team begins to inch closer and closer to finding their identities on both sides of the ball.
While Southside seems to have most of their primary playmakers back on offense, it’s Washington and Northside that have lost top talent to graduation.
At practice, teams are transitioning from conditioning and learning the system to full pads. Players are now sporting uniforms and full-contact drills have begun.
And with the minimum nine-plus practices under their belts, scrimmages are underway, starting with Southside at Northside today at 6 p.m.
On Friday, all three county teams will meet at Northside, along with South Lenoir and Spring Creek, for a five-team preseason football jamboree, which will showcase just how far each squad has come in the last two weeks.
The regular season will open Friday, Aug. 22 with three road games.
WASHINGTON PAM PACK
The annual preseason Midnight Madness event was held last week, giving fans the chance to see the new varsity and junior varsity teams in game uniforms and full pads. After a few flashy and intimidating stretching exercises, head coach Sport Sawyer ran the team through a few offensive sets.
Linebacker Jamond Ebron and tight end EJ Peartree, both standout physical specimens, are shaping up to be the catalysts behind the Pam Pack. Both have high ceilings and the potential for breakout seasons.
In his first year in the starting role, senior quarterback Patrick Thompson is maturing nicely in terms of accuracy and game management. He’s looking like a definite upgrade at the position.
Sawyer has been working the two-tight end, halfback sets in practice, isolating Kyle Krajewski and Peartree.
Standout senior linebacker Rockne Butler, who has been with the team since it’s winless season four years ago, has not only seen his team mature and grow through the years, but also significantly this offseason.
In practice this week, head coach Keith Boyd is running his team through a series of contact drills, aligning his defense and offense accordingly.
Quarterbacks Noel Howson and Jordan Woolard have complemented each other nicely and are becoming the true senior leaders on offense.
Defensively, due to an undersized roster, much of the workload this season will fall on the core of linebackers. Butler, James Barrow, Colby Woolard, Jordan Woolard and Austin Gambriel are taking the majority of the reps at that position, while Colby Woolard and Caleb Alligood are becoming the X-factors on the offensive line.
While head coach Jeff Carrow was reluctant to name starters a week ago, he admits that players are beginning to find their roles on the team.
It begins with senior Johnny Sullivan, who Carrow says has significantly separated himself from sophomore Marshall Medlock in the battle for the starting quarterback position. Sullivan has shown he’s the best option, in terms of skill and intelligence, at running the wing-T offense.
Carrow also says that junior Donshae Tatum has done enough in practice to earn a spot on the first-team offensive and defensive line. Tatum at 6-2, 282-pounds, has the frame to play the position at the 1-A level and could be one of the surprise breakout players on the Seahawks roster this season.
Also finding his way into a host of roles is Donald Moore. Moore will get some time running in the wing-T on offense, while covering the middle of he field on defense. As of right now, Moore is also the favorite to win the kicking job.