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High school sports

Ready for some football? Fayetteville teams gear up for fall season with spring conditioning


Hard to believe, but high school football season is already here as Cumberland County teams are engaged in off-season spring conditioning.

There is no set schedule when teams can hold the workouts, so some have already finished while others are in progress. A few will begin later.

Here’s a brief look at comments from local coaches who have already held workouts.

Cape Fear, Jacob Thomas

Thomas said the Colts have a lot of work to do installing their different looks and improving fundamentally. They will be looking for newcomers to step up at key positions.

This summer, Cape Fear will focus on individual fundamental skill development.

Key players returning: Landon Sargent, senior linebacker/tight end; Rico McDonald, senior wide receiver, defensive back; Desmond Harris, senior defensive line; Mekhai Coleman, senior defensive back, halfback; Jeremiah Melvin, senior wide receiver.

Pine Forest, Bill Sochovka

Sochovka lost his entire linebacking corps to graduation. The team looks solid in the offensive and defensive lines, at cornerback and at the skill positions.

Finding four consistent players at the linebacker positions and improving depth on both sides of the ball will be the main job this summer.

Key players returning: Fred Logan, senior defensive back/wide receiver; Nyzir Bostick, senior defensive back; Latrell Carter, junior running back; Tim Blue, senior defensive line; James Hunt, junior defensive end.

Seventy-First, Duran McLaurin

McLaurin is trying to replace his entire secondary, along with filling some holes in the offensive line. He is optimistic his team will have more receivers to throw to this season. He expects the Falcon defense to be solid.

Summer drills will focus on conditioning and execution.

Key players returning: Anthony Quinn Jr., junior running back; Donavan Frederick, junior linebacker; Hector Bautista, junior defensive line; Zymeir McPhaul, junior offensive line; Deandre Nance, junior quarterback.

Terry Sanford, Bruce McClelland

Spring is one of the busiest sports seasons of the year, and McClelland is dealing with a common problem for football coaches. Many of his potential players are competing with other teams at Terry Sanford. He has been focusing on designated workout days for players at specific positions.

The Bulldogs have gotten stronger in the weight room. He’s hoping being in shape will help the team win the battle with fatigue.

This summer, he will focus on improving his younger players and getting them familiar with the Terry Sanford system.

Key players returning: Rashid Jones, senior wide receiver; Jaylen Wright, senior quarterback; Kenyon Slaughter-Keen, junior running back/linebacker/defensive back; Kamal Thames, junior defensive back/wide receiver; Johnathan Higgins-Simmons, running back/linebacker.

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Westover, Ernest King

King said the Wolverines are young at a number of positions. This summer, the players will focus on building muscle memory, getting stronger and playing fast.

Key players returning: Brandon Avery, senior running back; Cameron Hunt, senior linebacker; Cashyon Foster, senior linebacker; Julian Clifton, senior offensive line; Ja’Don Roruk, sophomore wide receiver.

Earl’s Pearls

  • Congratulations to Seventy-First High School multisport athlete A’jaylah Yates, who was named this week to the East-West All-Star games as a member of the East girls soccer team.

This year’s game is scheduled for July 18 at Macpherson Stadium in Bryan Park near Greensboro.

  • Best wishes to Terry Sanford’s Drew Hedgecoe and Jayden Pham as they take part in the state 3-A boys state tennis championships today and Saturday at Burlington Tennis Center.

Hedgecoe is the No. 1 seed from the Mideast Regional and faces Julian Stolevski of West Henderson in today’s first round. Pham was the No. 4 regional seed and plays Drake Gallian of West Henderson.

  • Eric Finley announced on social media this week that he is stepping down as lacrosse coach at Cape Fear High School.

Finley’s boys team finished 11-8 this season, losing to Carrboro 17-3 in the second round of the 3-A state playoffs.

* Karl Molnar announced the field this week for the annual MLK Dream Jam basketball tournament.

Public school boys’ teams include Terry Sanford, E.E. Smith, Gray’s Creek, Pine Forest, South View, Westover, Overhills and Douglas Byrd.

Private schools include Trinity Christian, Fayetteville Academy, Berean Baptist, New Life, Wayne Country Day, Northwood Temple, Fayetteville Christian and Freedom Christian.

Public school girls teams include Terry Sanford, Pine Forest and Richmond Senior. Private schools are Trinity Christian, Wayne Country Day and Cape Fear Christian.

Pairings will be announced later.

  • I was deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Sandy Wilson. His funeral was held Wednesday.

There was no bigger supporter of Douglas Byrd High School athletics, especially during the school’s football heyday under the late Bob Paroli.

Wilson was a regular along the Byrd sidelines every Friday night cheering them on. Prayers are offered for his family and many fellow Eagle friends and teammates.

Cumberland County, sports, education, high school. Earl Vaughan Jr.