High School Sports

Prep Football Preview: Rutherford County

Mallard Creek All-America LB Trent Simpson headed to the SEC

Mallard Creek linebacker Trent Simpson committed to an SEC school Friday, saying it felt like home.
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Mallard Creek linebacker Trent Simpson committed to an SEC school Friday, saying it felt like home.

Preseason all-county team


QB – Calvin Jones, East Rutherford, 5-9, 180, Sr.

RB – Cody Maxwell, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 5-10, 150, Sr.

RB – Kayshawn Woods, Chase, 5-10, 180, Sr.

WR – Garrett Hampton, Chase, 5-7, 160, Sr.

WR – Shemar Petty, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 6-0, 140, Sr.

WR – Dakota Twitty, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 6-3, 175, So.

OL – Chris Moore, Chase, 6-3, 305, Jr.

OL – David Borders, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 6-0, 350, Sr.

OL – Zach Burgess, East Rutherford, 5-7, 205, Sr.

OL – Tragen Moore, Chase, 5-8, 220, Sr.

OL – J.W. Bradley, R.S. Central, 6-3, 255, So.


ATH – C.J. Hannon, R.S. Central, 5-10, 245, Sr.

ATH – Grant Logan, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 6-0, 205, So.

K/P- Nick McDaniels, R.S. Central, 6-1, 180, Sr.


DL - C.J. Hannon, R.S. Central, 5-10, 245, Sr.

DL – Damian Turpin, Chase, 6-0, 220, Jr.

DL – Jaleke Coreas, East Rutherford, 6-2, 245, Sr.

DL – Jayden Hooper, R.S. Central, 6-4, 215, Jr.

DL – Isaiah Foster, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 5-11, 370, Sr.

LB – JuJu Whitesides, East Rutherford, 6-0, 195, Sr.

LB – Matthew Hunt, East Rutherford, 6-0, 180, Jr.

LB – Clinton Deyton, R.S. Central, 5-11, 165, Jr.

LB – Bryson Jarrell, R.S. Central, 6-1, 220, Sr.

DB – Garrett Hampton, Chase, 5-7, 160, Sr.

DB – Calvin Jones, East Rutherford, 5-9, 180, Sr.

DB – Colby Silva, Thomas Jefferson Academy, 5-10, 160, Sr.

Rutherford County Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Calvin Jones, East Rutherford, QB, Sr.

Rutherford County Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: JuJu Whitesides, East Rutherford, LB, Sr.

School Previews


Head Coach: Cort Radford (2nd year as Chase head coach).

2018 Record: 4-7 (2-3 in the Southwestern 2A).

2019 Conference: Southwestern 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 17 (9 offense; 8 defense).

Returning Letterman: 28

Key Returning Starters: Kayshawn Woods, Sr., RB/DB (5-10, 180); Garrett Hampton, Sr., WR/DB (5-7, 160); Tragen Moore, Sr., OL/LB (5-8, 220); Chris Moore, Jr., OL/DL (6-3, 305); Damian Turpin, Jr., DE (6-0, 220); Kiylan Miller, Jr., LB/WR (6-3, 175); Kaden Hampton, Jr., QB (5-10, 200).

Key Newcomers: Jamarion Mills, So., DE (6-0, 225); Stoney Hicks, Jr., LB (6-0, 195).

Outlook: The Trojans have struggled in recent times, going 12-43 in the last five years, but made progress in coach Cort Radford’s first season in charge going 4-7. Radford is a former defensive coordinator for 3A state power Boiling Springs Crest. This year, with 17 starters back, led by seniors in RB Kayshawn Woods (610 yards rushing, five touchdown last year), WR Garrett Hampton (41 catches, eight touchdowns) and OL/DL Chris Moore (28 pancakes), Chase has the pieces to get back above .500 for first time since 2013) and to get into the playoff hunt.


Head Coach: Clint Bland (11th year as East Rutherford head coach (56-61); 23rd year overall).

2018 Record: 10-3 (3-2 in the Southwestern 2A conference).

2019 Conference: Southwestern 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 7

Returning Letterman: N/A.

Key Returning Starters: Calvin Jones, Sr., QB (5-9, 180); Matthew Hunt, Jr., LB (6-0, 180); Jaleke Coreas, Sr., DL (6-2, 245); JuJu Whitesides, Sr., OLB (6-0, 190).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: East Rutherford enjoyed their first 10-win season since 2005 last year. With only seven starters back, they will need some young players to emerge to keep their momentum going forward. The Cavaliers will lean on do-it-all senior QB/DB Calvin Jones (682 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns; 8 interceptions on defense last year) and a stout defense led by senior LB JuJu Whitesides (95 tackles last year).


Head Coach: Brad Hutchins (3rd Year as R.S. Central head coach).

2018 Record: 2-9 (1-4 in the Southwestern 2A conference).

2019 Conference: Southwestern 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 13 (7 offense; 6 defense).

Returning Letterman: 28

Key Returning Starters: Jayden Hooper, Jr., DE/WR (6-4, 215); C.J. Hannon, Sr., FB/DT (5-10, 245); Xavier Toms, So., RB/SS (5-11, 185); Bryson Jarrell, Sr., MLB (6-1, 220); Clinton Deyton, Jr., OLB (5-11, 165); J.W. Bradley, So., OL (6-3, 255); Deonta McCluney, Sr., DT (5-10, 275); Jaiden Coston, So., QB (5-9, 165).

Key Newcomers: Ken Hines III, So., LB/FB (5-11, 195); Chase Causby, Jr., DE/OT (6-0, 205); E’Kari Boyd, Jr., LB (5-10, 195).

Outlook: R.S. Central has struggled the last two seasons, going 6-16 in that span, including a 2-9 last year when the Hilltoppers averaged only 12 points per game. This season, there are playmakers returning on both sides of the ball that should help R.S. Central put more points on the board including senior RB C.J. Hannon (598 yards rushing, six touchdowns last year) and sophomores, RB Xavier Toms and QB Jaiden Coston. Meanwhile, senior MLB Bryson Jarrell (50 tackles in six games) and junior OLB Clinton Deyton (70 tackles) lead an experienced defense.


Head Coach: Jerry Cash (8th year as Thomas Jefferson Academy head coach).

2018 Record: 12-1 (6-0 in the South Piedmont 1A conference).

2019 Conference: South Piedmont 1A (SPC 1A).

Returning Starters: 12

Returning Letterman: 20

Key Returning Starters: Cody Maxwell, Sr., RB (5-10, 150); Dakota Twitty, So., WR (6-3, 175); Shemar Petty, Sr., WR (6-0, 140); Colby Silva, Sr., WR/DB (5-10, 160); Isaiah Foster, Sr., NG (5-11, 370); David Borders, Sr., OT (6-0, 350); Devin Bradford, So., WR (6-4, 175).

Key Newcomers: Grant Logan, So., QB (6-0, 205).

Outlook: Thomas Jefferson Academy has averaged 11 wins per season over the last five years, including a 12-1 record and a 1A state quarterfinal run a year ago. This season, Cash returns 12 starters led by seniors in RB Cody Maxwell (993 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns last year), WR Shemar Petty and WR/DB Colby Silva. Sophomore QB Grant Logan takes over for Nomi McMullens and will try to keep the high-powered Thomas Jefferson offense rolling (43 points per game last year).

Rutherford County Conference Predictions

South Piedmont 1A Conference (SPC 1A)

  1. Thomas Jefferson Academy; 2. Mountain Island Charter; 3. Bessemer City; 4. Community School of Davidson; 5. Cherryville; 6. Pine Lake Prep; 7. Union Academy; 8. Highland Tech; 9. Christ the King.

Southwestern 2A

  1. Shelby; 2. South Point; 3. Burns; 4. East Rutherford; 5. R.S. Central; 6. Chase; 7 East Gaston.