High School Sports

Prep Football Preview: Stanly County

Preseason All-County team


QB – Jaquez Cooke, South Stanly, 6-0, 195, Sr.

RB – Jordan Poole, West Stanly, 6-0, 210, Jr.

RB – Cole Barber, North Stanly, 5-10, 180, Jr.

RB – Marcus Green, South Stanly, 5-8, 175, Sr.

WR – Daniel Hansen, West Stanly, 6-1, 190, Sr.

WR – Joseph Benfield, North Stanly, 5-11, 170, Sr.

OL – Colby Almond, South Stanly, 6-4, 275, Sr.

OL – J.P. Lucas, North Stanly, 5-10, 200, Sr.

OL – Josh Layton, North Stanly, 6-4, 340, Sr.

OL – Drake Cullingford, West Stanly, 6-0, 225, Sr.

OL – Jessup Bowers, West Stanly, 6-1, 210, Sr.


ATH – Dylan Eudy, North Stanly, 5-9, 160, Sr.

ATH – Josh Smith, Albemarle, 5-9, 175, Sr.

K/P- Monta Hall, Albemarle, 6-1, 185, Jr.


DL – Ian Morgan, West Stanly, 5-10, 200, Sr.

DL – Grayson Lowder, North Stanly, 5-11, 220, Sr.

DL – Travis Wilson, West Stanly, 6-0, 200, Sr.

DL – Kevon McRae, North Stanly, 6-3, 260, Sr.

LB – Nate Kirby, South Stanly, 5-11, 215, Sr.

LB – Adrian Little, Albemarle, 5-10, 195, Sr.

LB – Jordan Poole, West Stanly, 6-0, 210, Jr.

DB – Christian Bowden, West Stanly, 5-9, 170, Jr.

DB – Julius Smith, Albemarle, 5-9, 175, Sr.

DB – Dylan Eudy, North Stanly, 5-9, 160, Sr.

DB – Keshawn Mouton, Albemarle, 5-8, 165, Sr.

DB – Justin Gaddy, South Stanly, 5-11, 165, Sr.

Stanly County Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Jordan Poole, West Stanly, RB, Jr.

Stanly County Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Nate Kirby, South Stanly, LB, Sr.

School Previews


Head Coach: Richard Davis (3rd year as Albemarle head coach; 8-14 at Albemarle).

2018 Record: 4-7 (4-3 in the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference).

2019 Conference: Yadkin Valley 1A Conference/1A.

Returning Starters: 13

Returning Letterman: 30

Key Returning Starters: Adrian Little, Sr., LB (5-10, 195); Julius Smith, Sr., ATH (5-9, 175); Josh Smith, Sr., ATH (5-9, 165); Antonio Burns, Sr., ATH (5-11, 175); Brandon Smith, Jr., DL (6-2, 270); Johnny Owens, Sr., OL/DL (5-9, 250); Keshawn Mouton, Sr., CB (5-8, 165).

Key Newcomers: Jylukus Hyatt, Jr., RB/LB (5-8, 175); Malik Patterson, Jr., ATH (5-8, 162); D.J. Watkins, Fr., DE (6-2, 210).

Outlook: Albemarle has struggled of late with just 13 wins in the last five years. This year, the Bulldogs have the experience to be much improved with 13 starters and 30 lettermen returning. Coach Richard Davis will need his senior class -- headlined by LB Adrian Little (98 tackles), and two-way standouts Julius Smith (505 yards rushing, six interceptions), Josh Smith (867 all-purpose yards), Antonio Burns (three interceptions) and Keshawn Mouton (four interceptions) -- to step up. Albemarle has the veteran team capable of making a move in the Yadkin Valley 1A standings and compete for more favorable, playoff seed.


Head Coach: Scott Crisco (5th year as North Stanly head coach; 36-14 at North Stanly).

2018 Record: 11-3 (7-0 in Yadkin Valley 1A conference).

2019 Conference: Yadkin Valley 1A Conference/1AA.

Returning Starters: 10

Returning Letterman: 19

Key Returning Starters: J.P. Lucas, Sr., C (5-10, 200); Josh Layton, Sr., OT (6-4, 340); Kevon McRae, Sr., OL/DL (6-3, 260); Dylan Eudy, Sr., FB/SS (5-9, 160); Joseph Benfield, Sr., CB/WR (5-11, 170); Grayson Lowder, Sr., DE/OG (5-11, 220).

Key Newcomers: Christian Barber, Jr., RB (5-10, 180); Luke Shaver, So., QB (5-10, 150).

Outlook: North Stanly has set a high standard, with 21 wins in the last two years, including a perfect 14-0 in Yadkin Valley 1A conference play to win back-to-back league titles. This year, the Comets will have to rely on a lot more younger players as just 10 starters return. North Stanly will look to a veteran offensive line, led by seniors, J.P. Lucas, Josh Layton, and Grayson Lowder to pave the way. Also back are senior FB Dylan Eudy, junior RB Christian Barber and sophomore QB Luke Shaver. The Comets’ defense will also be young with Joseph Benfield, Eudy, Lowder and McRae providing experience. North Stanly has greater expectations after winning the last two conference titles, and even with a younger roster expects to compete for a third straight league crown and return to the postseason for the seventh consecutive year.


Head Coach: Ryan Ochier (2nd year as South Stanly head coach).

2018 Record: 8-5 (5-2 in the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference).

2019 Conference: Yadkin Valley 1A Conference/1AA.

Returning Starters: 8 (5 offense; 3 defense).

Returning Letterman: 22

Key Returning Starters: Jaquez Cooke, Sr., QB (6-0, 195); Colby Almond, Sr., OL (6-4, 275); Nate Kirby, Sr., LB (5-11, 215); Justin Gaddy, Sr., WR/DB (5-11, 65); Marcus Green, Sr., RB (5-8, 175).

Key Newcomers: Cade Turner, Jr., OL (6-0, 220); Tony Rogers, Jr., OL (6-0, 225); Camryn Huneycutt, Sr., LB (6-0, 175).

Outlook: Coach Ryan Ochier impressed in his first year, leading South Stanly to their first winning season since 2012 as well as a first-round playoff victory. Now, the challenge is for Ochier and company to build on that momentum with eight starters returning. The Rowdy Rebel Bulls will need seniors like QB Jaquez Cooke (1,100 yards total offense, 12 touchdowns last year), RB Marcus Green (685 yards rushing, eight touchdowns) and OL Colby Almond (6-4, 275) to play even bigger roles, while a young defense led by seniors LB Nate Kirby (81 tackles) and DB Justin Gaddy gains experience.


Head Coach: Brett Morton (3rd year as West Stanly head coach; 10-11 at West Stanly).

2018 Record: 7-5 (3-1 in the Rocky River Conference).

2019 Conference: Rocky River Conference/2A.

Returning Starters: 11

Returning Letterman: 16

Key Returning Starters: Jordan Poole, Jr., RB/LB (6-0, 210); Jessup Bowers, Sr., C (6-1, 210); Drake Cullingford, Sr., G (6-0, 225); Hagan Lawhon, Sr., LB (5-9, 176); Daniel Hansen, Sr., WB (6-1, 190); Will Barbee, Sr., WR (5-10, 165); Christian Bowden, Jr., DB (5-9, 170).

Key Newcomers: Gavin Hudson, So., LB (5-9, 215); Jamarquis Morrison, So., DL (6-0, 310); Logan Little, Jr., RB (5-11, 178).

Outlook: West Stanly enjoyed only their second winning season (7-5 last year) in the last eight years. The Colts will reload with junior RB Jordan Poole (869 yards rushing, nine touchdowns) and a veteran offensive line led by Jessup Bowers and Drake Cullingford paving the way. Poole (67 tackles, two interceptions) will also lead the Colts’ defense. West Stanly will need some young players to emerge as playmakers if they are going to have another winning season and return to the playoffs.

Stanly County Conference Predictions

Rocky River Conference

  1. Mount Pleasant; 2. Anson County; 3. Forest Hills; 4. West Stanly; 5. Montgomery Central.

Yadkin Valley 1A Conference

  1. North Rowan; 2. South Stanly; 3. North Stanly; 4. Albemarle; 5. Chatham Central; 6. South Davidson; 7. North Moore.