The Chocowinity Indians take pride in conference-winning season

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — The 2018 football season couldn’t have gone any better for Chocowinity Middle School, as the Indians outscored their opponents, 258-6 on the way to finishing the year undefeated and capturing the Inner Banks Athletic Conference championship title.

Despite the perfect 6-0 record, preseason wasn’t so kind to CMS, as it took part in a Jamboree on Sept. 6 at Hope Middle School, along with Hope, Ayden Middle School and C.M. Eppes Middle School. Indians head coach Alan Swain said his team was thoroughly dominated that day, but that experience better prepared his players for the season.

“Going to that Jamboree was probably the best thing we ever did. We didn’t score a touchdown. It was like the roles were reversed (from how Chocowinity usually plays). Ayden, Hope and C.M. Eppes were scoring at will and we could barely even move the ball,” Swain said. “They (the Indians) were feeling themselves a little bit before the Jamboree. And once they saw they weren’t quite as good as they thought they were, or that there were teams that were better than what we were out there. That was really the turning point, because they really buckled down because they saw that we might actually get beat.”

Due to Hurricane Florence, Chocowinity didn’t get a chance to open the regular season until Sept. 26, but once the season kicked off, the Indians were ready to dominate all they came across.

Chocowinity began its quest for a conference title with a 46-0 win at home over St. Peter, before traveling to Mattamuskeet Middle School for a 36-0 victory that lasted only one half. The Indians next traveled to Greenville for a rematch with St. Peter, in which the Chocowinity gave up the only touchdown an opponent scored the entire season in a 36-6 win.

Sensing how close they were to finishing the season undefeated, the Indians closed the year with a flourish, defeating Northeast and Columbia at home, 40-0 and 36-0, respectively, before heading to Bath to close the season with a 64-0 victory over the Pirates.

As a team that both seemingly scored at will and allowed only one touchdown in six games, the Indians had playmakers on both sides of the ball. Chocowinity was led by Walker Hill at quarterback, an eight grader who already knew the system after starting the year before. Hill was a dual threat, throwing 14 TDs and running for four more. Wide receiver Jaiden Gibbs was Hill’s favorite target, snagging nine TD catches through the season.

“Mr. Do-It-All” for Chocowinity was Tequon Moore. A seventh grader, Moore scored six times as a running back, ran several punt returns back for scores on special teams and played as an outside linebacker as well. Swain described him as “a standout on both sides of the ball.”

The cornerstones of the team were eight graders Elyjaih Baldwin and Xavier Ham, who both play at guard and also on the defensive line. Their size and strength helped Chocowinity control the line of scrimmage on both side of the ball, and Swain said their leadership abilities and positive attitudes pushed the team as well.

“They (Baldwin and Ham) were unstoppable defensive linemen. I think that’s why we had such a productive year, defensively,” Swain said.

Another force on the defensive side of the ball was Jamie Corprew. A seventh grader, Corprew missed the first two games of the season after breaking his arm in the Jamboree. Returning with a cast on his arm, Corprew played at defensive end and terrorized opposing offenses.

“He was pretty much unstoppable,” Swain said. “He’s got this relentless pursuit to the ball. It’s unbelievable watching him on film.”

Swain set the goal of winning the conference before the season began and said it was great to accomplish that feat. But he added it’s not just about football with his team. He said he urges them to take pride in everything they do, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom or whatever else they do.

“Taking pride in what we do and what the kids do is one of the biggest things I try to preach,” Swain said. “Just doing everything as best they can do it.”