Up & Coming Weekly

June 25, 2019

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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20 UCW JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Pine Forest names Pless girls' basketball coach by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Falcons seek to continue winning tradition by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Kayla Pless has been named the new varsity girls basketball coach at Pine Forest High School. The announcement was made last week by Trojan athletic director Jason Norton. Pless replaces David May, who will be step- ping down as the girls basketball coach but will continue to work at the school, his alma mater. His new position will be as assistant boys basketball coach and girls golf coach. May will represent Pine Forest as girls basketball coach one last time at next month's North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star basketball game at the Greensboro Coliseum. Cumberland County players who will be on the East team include Pine Forest's Kendal Moore, E.E. Smith's Alex Scruggs and Terry Sanford's Kate Perko. Pless is a 2012 gradu- ate of Topsail High School in Hampstead, North Carolina. She played college bas- ketball at Methodist University, graduating in 2016 with a bachelor of science in sports management. She coached youth basketball in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for two years and was a junior varsity coach at Terry Sanford High School last sea- son. She also coached a 16-and-under Amateur Athletic Union team from Durham. Pless is currently working on a mas- ter's of education at Methodist with a concentration in coaching and athletic administration. Editor's note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts. The winning tradition established under Duran McLaurin continued at his alma mater, Seventy- First, last fall. The Falcons made the deepest run in the state football playoffs of any of the Cumberland County Schools, reach- ing the 4-A Eastern Regional finals before fall- ing to Sandhills Athletic Conference rival Scotland. They finished the season with an 11-4 record. To make a similar run this season, McLaurin will have to improve the Falcons' depth and fill a big loss at quarterback caused by the graduation of multi-talented Kyler Davis. McLaurin will coach Davis one last time next month. The two are scheduled to take part in the annual North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star football game in Grimsley High School's Jamieson Stadium in Greensboro. "Losing Kyler is going to be a big area of con- cern for us,'' McLaurin said. "We're going to have to replace Kyler's production at several positions.'' McLaurin indicated the Falcons will need to get more offensive production from their running backs and receiver corps to offset Davis' exit. One player McLaurin is counting on is receiver Jermaine Johnson, who had 29 catches and two touchdowns last fall. There will also be some younger prospects joining the varsity from the Falcons' last two successful junior varsity teams. "Seventy-First has a winning tradition,'' McLaurin said. "That's what we do over here, and we're going to try to continue that.'' One key to that this season will be the play of two-way lineman Russell Hewett, who will again see action on the offensive and defensive fronts. "We are depending on his veteran experi- ence and leadership on both sides of the ball,'' McLaurin said of Hewett. "He's very important where it counts, in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines. He's one of our toughest players. We're expecting a whole lot from him.'' Hewett said the focus of Seventy-First's spring workouts was to get better than the day before. "We just keep working so we can be successful this season and make it to the championship,'' he said. Whoever winds up playing quarterback for Seventy-First this year, Hewett said the pressure is on the offensive line to protect him. "We need to block for our quarterback,'' he said. "Our key is just to block for them, and they'll take us to the championships.'' EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@gmail. com. 910-364-6638. Russell Hewett Duran McLaurin David May Kayla Pless

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