Senior lineman ready to contribute

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

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Ahmed Privott Jr., known to almost everybody as A.J. plans on his final fall in a Pam Pack uniform to end better than his junior season did. Privott tore the ACL in his left knee during the fourth game of the season at Eastern Wayne HS and watched from the sidelines the rest of the way. The Washington native is healthy and starting at offensive guard for a squad that earned new coach Matt Taylor his first head coaching win last Friday in Kinston.

  1. How big was it to be part of the first victory for your new coach?

A.J.: It was great. After being hurt most of last season, I really didn’t get to celebrate much. He’s a good guy who wants the best for us, so it was neat to help him get his first win.

  1. What did you think when your former head coach, Perry Owens, told the team he was leaving back in the spring?

A.J.: It was a surprise for sure and a little bit of a shock. We understood that he wanted to go back home (to Edenton) to coach, but we knew we would miss him. We were thinking about who our next coach would be and if our roles would stay the same. It’s turned out fine.

  1. How long did it take for you and your teammates to buy into the way Coach Taylor wants things done?

A.J.: It took a couple of weeks, maybe a little longer. We could tell that his energy and passion for football was real and that he was the same guy every day. He and the other coaches showed us they cared about us by organizing some fundraisers for new footballs and better practice equipment. He’s done great so far and we are having fun playing for him.

  1. You are one of the captains this year. What does that mean to you?

A.J.: It’s cool to be a captain after missing so much time last year. I like to lead by example and set a positive tone for practice and games. I think actions speak louder than words. I try to go all out every practice and game and pay attention to the little details that can make a big difference.

  1. Being an offensive lineman is not a glamour spot by any means, yet it is vitally important to offensive success. What to you enjoy most about playing guard?

A.J.: The challenge of going up against a defensive lineman who is probably bigger and a superior athlete. It feels great to open a hole for my running back that turns into a big play or a touchdown. It’s very satisfying to do your job and help your team.

Bonus question: What are your plans after graduation?

A.J.: To get my HVAC certification from Beaufort County Community College and get a good job that pays well. I work at Pizza Inn on the weekends now and have learned that hard work will pay off. Nothing is free. You have to earn it.