High Five: O’Neal is back home and thriving

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, September 8, 2022

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Northside senior Jayvian O’Neal was born in Washington, but moved to Wake County after his fifth grade year at Northeast Elementary. His family returned to the area for his junior year and O’Neal feels more at home than ever. He qualified for the 1A state track meet in the shot put last spring and has a starting role at tight end and various defensive positions this fall.

  1. Why did your family leave the Raleigh area and come back to Beaufort County?

Jayvian: I started out at Clayton High School, but was redistricted into North Johnston HS for my junior year. My dad, Delray Jennette, was a very good running back here at Northside, and thought the football program would be better here, so we came back. I know a lot of my teammates from Northeast, so it’s been a very good move. I started playing for the Belhaven Bulldogs in the Washington Youth Football League when I was six and went to Northside games before we moved, so it’s great to be back home.

  1. What’s been the best part so far?

Jayvian: Being part of a winning football program and competing in the state track meet so far. I’ve really enjoyed playing for Coach Boyd and the other coaches. They make you a better person and a better football player. I’ve learned that it’s fun to work hard and have success. I like to compete at everything and the track meet let me be around a lot of athletes from different schools. It was great to be in that environment and I’m looking forward to trying to get back.

  1. What are your events in track?

Jayvian: I run the 200 and am part of the 4 x 200 relay in addition to throwing the shot put. I’ve lost about 25 pounds (down to 210) and hopefully have replaced some of it with muscle. I can tell I am stronger and faster, so it will be fun to see how the track season goes.

  1. What classes have you enjoyed the most?

Jayvian: I really liked Math 4 with Mr. Bunch last year. He taught us life lessons and gave good advice in addition to teaching us math. I also like my English 4 class and my history class.

  1. What are your plans after graduation?

Jayvian: I’d like to play football in college at some level. I’ve talked to the coaches at N.C. Central, but that’s about it for now. I’m planning on majoring in Physical Therapy wherever I end up.