Lake Norman & Mooresville

Senior receiver shines through Viking struggles

Whether Terrence Clyburn is running, receiving or sometimes throwing the football, the versatile North Mecklenburg senior receiver is a threat for opposing teams on every down.

"Terrence is the silver lining in that dark cloud of our season," said North Meck coach Mike Bradley, whose team started the year 1-5. "Any success we've had has been around him."

Clyburn led the Vikings in receiving, rushing and returning yards as well as in touchdowns heading into last Friday's game against Hough. The 18-year-old has also contributed defensively, leading North Meck with three interceptions.

In the first six games of the season, Clyburn had compiled 867 all-purpose yards, including 279 rushing and 377 receiving, as well as 11 total touchdowns.

Clyburn attributes his performance to the mentality he brings to the field.

"I'm reckless," he said. "I have to go get it every single down - I try to play every down like it's my last, try to give it my all."

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Clyburn said that determination has been with him since he began playing the sport at age 7.

"I feel like football is my way out," he said. "I'm smart, pretty intelligent, but I feel like I could really do something with football. That's why I go so hard out here every day."

Bradley said that approach to the game and his leadership may be Clyburn's biggest asset to the Vikings.

"If you watch Terrence in practice, his work ethic is second to none," said Bradley, adding that it rubs off on his teammates.

"I think people see him on the field and in practice, and it's hard to loaf when the guy next to you is going full-speed all the time," said Bradley.

Clyburn said he, along with fellow seniors like running back Garrison Dark, has taken it upon himself to keep his teammates focused on this season and not on building for the future.

"For us seniors, this is it," he said. "This is all we have."

That's why Clyburn decided to play through the pain of a broken right hand he suffered three weeks ago in practice.

He said he didn't want to allow an injury to make the work and hours of tape he watched in the offseason go to waste.

Reaching his goal of 2,000 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns also kept him from sitting out until he fully healed.

Bradley said it's gotten tougher for Clyburn to put up big numbers with opponents carefully game-planning against him.

"People focus on stopping No. 3," said Bradley. "We've had to get very creative to try to get him the football."

That includes fakes, reverses and even letting Clyburn take snaps from center in the Vikings' Wildcat formation.

Bradley said that his team's record to start the year doesn't reflect how his team has played.

Aside from the Independence and Myers Park losses, both of which were by 30 points or more, the Vikings have kept games competitive.

Their other losses, including its first two I-Meck games, were all by a touchdown or less, losing by a combined 12 points in those three games.

Things don't get any easier for the Vikings this week, as they face the No. 1 team in the state, Mallard Creek, on Friday night.

"But our kids haven't quit," said Bradley. "In this league ... you could win three games, and depending how everybody else does, you could finish in third or fourth place. We still have something to play for."

Clyburn, who's being looked at by Ball State, Wingate and N.C. A&T, admits he's been frustrated with the start of the season.

He said his team will have to learn to play together to have any success the rest of the way.

"We've got to learn how to face adversity and learn to overcome it," said Clyburn.

"If we do, we could shock some people."

Although Clyburn will have to play a big role for the Vikings to do that, Bradley said he can't do it alone.

"We just have to get an extra play or two from someone other than No. 3," said Bradley.

Clyburn said he'll continue to give it his all to try to extend the time he has left on the Vikings' football field.

"No matter what we go through, if the record looks good on paper or if we don't agree on everything, I have a bond with these fellas like no one else," said Clyburn. "That is my family."