Up & Coming Weekly

July 10, 2018

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 28 of 36

28 UCW JULY 11-17, 2018 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@ gmail.com. 910-364-6638. Bruce McClelland Dante Bowlding Terry Sanford not ready to yield grip on title by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Colts seek success after Galloway-Velazquez by EARL VAUGHAN JR. With the loss of a talented se- nior class led by record-setting twins Christian and Andrew Jayne, Terry Sanford head football coach Bruce McClel- land worked with a lot of new faces during this year's spring football practice. But McClelland is hopeful he's got enough talented players returning to make another run at the Patriot Athletic Conference football title. e Bulldogs were 11-2 last season, losing only to Cape Fear in league play en route to the championship and falling 42-41 to Jack- sonville in the second round of the 3-A playoffs. With Christian Jayne throwing often to Andrew Jayne last season, the Bulldogs were best known as a passing team, although they certainly were able to run the football. Coming into the fall, McClelland said he has an open mind as to what kind of team the Bulldogs will be this year. "I feel my duty is to work with the personnel I have,'' McClelland said. "We're going to run a similar offense. If we have the backs, we'll run the ball. If we have guys that step up at wideout, we'll throw it. But we're going to lay all the cards on the table.'' One of the big questions McClelland has to sort out is who will be the Bulldog quarterback this season. Davidjohn Herz, a star pitcher for the Bulldogs' Eastern 3-A finalist baseball team last season, came off the bench in some critical situations to spell Christian Jayne last year. While he may be the front runner for the job, McClel- land said there will be an open competition for the starting job this summer and fall between Herz, who is a senior, and junior Jacob Knight. "ose two will have all summer to battle, and the scrimmage games,'' McClelland said. "We'll go from there. Whoever gives us the best chance to win will play.'' McClelland will also be looking for a new core of leaders on this team, but he's got some solid candi- dates back from last year, players like running back Leonard Mosley, offensive and defensive lineman Tanner Morris and the versatile Dante Bowlding. "e good sign of the spring is the definite transi- tion of leadership,'' McClelland said. "It seems seamless with Dante and Tanner and the senior class stepping up. ese guys are ready to work. at's not a coaching thing. at's a leadership thing. "We can appoint whoever we want to be the leaders, but the kids are going to follow who they are going to follow.'' McClelland called Bowlding one of the best football players he's ever coached, and an even better young man. "You'll see him all over the field,'' McClelland said. "He returns punts and kicks. His primary position is safety, but he'll play some slot and wideout. He's going to give us the ver- satility to run multiple sets, offensively and defensively.'' Bowlding said as a junior he had to play a leader- ship role for the Bulldogs and doesn't expect it to be different this season. "We're mainly focused on trying to teach the new guys,'' he said. "We're obvi- ously not as big as we were last year, but as long as you play with a lot of heart, it shouldn't matter.'' He thinks a lot of teams may look down on the Bulldogs because of the loss of the Jayne brothers, but he warns that's not a good idea. "No team should really look down on you,'' he said. For the Cape Fear football program, this is the year 1 A.J., as in after Justice Galloway- Velazquez. e talented Cape Fear athlete is now a Campbell University freshman, after leading the Colts on the best four-year run of football in school history, a record of 43-13 that included a conference title, a 4-A state runnerup and Eastern 4-A run- nerup finish. "It's definitely going to be an adjustment for us and some of our guys,'' said Colt head coach Jake omas. "ey're handling it pretty well.'' A player who will be fully in the spotlight for the Colts this fall is Cayden McKethan, who stepped in at quarterback for Galloway-Velazquez last year when he was battling injuries. A sophomore this fall, McKethan completed 38 of 64 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. "He's got a good grasp but it's a work in progress,'' omas said. "He's not as big as Justice (McKethan is 6-feet-0, 195 pounds). He's got good size, (he's) a good athlete and (has) decent arm strength. He's a smart football player.'' Aside from replacing Galloway-Velazquez, omas has concern about the wide receivers and the secondary, where the Colts will be replacing a lot of losses. "We don't have a lot of experi- ence returning at those positions,'' omas said. "We're working on basic alignments, communica- tion and knowing your assignments.'' ere are some bright spots for the Colts going into the fall, omas said. ose areas include the defensive and offensive lines, linebackers and run- ning backs. "For the most part, all those guys are back, so we feel good about them,'' omas said. Coming out of the spring, omas hopes his players will be able to grasp the team's top three running and passing plays, as well as being able to line up in the right defense in response to the op- posing offensive formation, along with reacting to any offensive motion. omas welcomes back a number of players who are expected to play key roles this fall. One of the biggest is Jaylen Hudson, who will be moving from linebacker to free safety. Hudson has already been getting college football offers. Mark Burke will move from linebacker to strong safety, and T.J. Hale will move to a starting corner- back spot. Rounding out the top returnees are Sincere Hale and Caleb Krings in the line, along with linebacker Austin Hunt. Hunt is returning from an ACL injury that sidelined him last year. He and the other five players omas mentioned will serve as the Colt captains. "Austin is doing good in the weight room and looks good out there,'' omas said. Hunt hasn't been cleared for full contact and expects to be held out throughout the fall practices, possibly until the start of regular season, just to make sure he's fully healed. "It's great to be with the guys once again,'' Hunt said. "My lateral movement and speed is back and I'm still physical like usual. e hardest part is the pain and soreness and my knee getting tired. I've got to build my endurance back up.'' Watching from the sidelines last season, Hunt saw room for improvement in Cape Fear's pass rush. "I wasn't too pleased with the sacks last year,'' he said. "Run-wise, we're pretty decent.'' Hunt said the formula for winning again this fall is simple. "We've got to play as a team,'' he said. "Everybody has to hold the rope. Everybody has to make big time plays for us. "We can't lag behind. We've got to take two steps forward every day.'' Jake omas Austin Hunt

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