High School Sports

Gaston County High School Football Team Capsules

jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The Observer’s county-by-county high school football previews began this week with a look at Iredell County Schools. Today, the newspaper continues the previews with a look at Gaston County.

Look for additional previews throughout the week.

Correspondent Jay Edwards has compiled capsules for the Observer’s area schools. These will be presented by county.

Quick Links

2016 High School Football Schedules

Iredell County Team Previews

Gaston County Previews

ASHBROOK

Head Coach: Greg Hill (7th year as Ashbrook head football coach)

2015 Record: 6-6 (4-3 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Ishaun Wright, Sr., DB/ATH (5-9, 170); Jacquez Armstrong, Sr., DB/ATH (5-10, 170); Jaquaious Miller, Sr., FS (6-0, 175); Malik Hyatt, Sr., WR (6-2, 215); Coleby Phillips, Sr., OL (5-10, 230); Terrell Hager, Sr., RB (5-11, 175); Antwan McClee, So., LB (6-0, 230); Elijah Fifer, Jr., WR (6-4, 180); Jordan Alexander, Sr., LB (5-9, 205).

Key Newcomers: British Brooks, Jr., RB (5-10, 190); Hayden Welle, Jr., QB (6-0, 175); Will Bryson, Jr., OL (5-10, 235); Noah Kyei, So., DL (6-0, 265); Josh Long, So., OL (6-0, 205).

Returning Starters: 9

Returning Lettermen: 19

Outlook: The Green Wave look to emerge out of the middle of the pack in the Big South conference and will lean on their defense and senior, RB, Terrell Hager to try to make a move.

BESSEMER CITY

Head Coach: Larry Boone (13th year as Bessemer City head football coach)

2015 Record: 4-8 (3-3, Southern Piedmont 1A conference)

Key Returning Starters: Shun Allison, Sr., WR/DB (5-9, 170); Ja

Key Newcomers: N/A

Returning Starters: 14

Returning Lettermen: 25

Outlook: The Yellow Jackets have the experience, speed and talent -- led by seniors QB Ja’hari Guthrie and seior DL Rod Littlejohn (23 tackles

for loss last season) -- to be a factor in the SPC 1A conference race and into the postseason.

CHERRYVILLE

Head Coach: Tim Pruitt (1st year head coach, 47-70 overall)

2015 Record: 1-10 (1-4 in the SPC 1A)

Key Returning Starters: Austin Treadway, Sr., WR/S (5-7, 145); Yung Sherrill, Sr., WR/CB (6-4, 185); Preston Elliott, Sr., QB/P (6-0, 170); Josh Garren, Sr., FB/DE (5-10, 230); Will Walker, Sr., TE/LB (6-2, 215).

Key Newcomers: Ben Deviney, Jr., LG (5-11, 200); Matt Crain, So., OT (6-3, 260); Jacob Haden, CB/QB.

Returning Starters: 12 (5 offense; 7 defense)

Returning Lettermen: 17

Outlook: Former Cherryville coach Tim Pruitt returns to lead an Ironmen team that has struggled in the SPC 1A conference. Pruitt will have to rejuvenate an offense that averaged only seven points per game last season.

EAST GASTON

Head Coach: Sean Joyce (6th year as East Gaston head football coach; 21-34)

2015 Record: 7-5 (5-2 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Nick Ferens, Sr., QB (6-0, 165); Malik Davis, Sr., RB (5-10, 160); T.J. Sanders, Sr., RB/LB (5-10, 170); Jonathan Eggers, Sr., OL/DE (6-1, 245); Landon Vandyke, Jr., OL/DL (6-3, 290); Kellen Wilbanks, Jr., OL/DL (6-1, 280).

Key Newcomers: Jay Gwinn, Jr., ATH (5-11, 160); Nick Gwinn, So., ATH (5-10, 150).

Returning Starters: 7

Returning Lettermen: 12

Outlook: The Warriors took a big step forward last year with their first winning season in coach Sean Joyce’s tenure. This year, they hope to keep that momentum going with senior QB Nick Ferens leading an offense that hopes to put up a lot of points (36 ppg in 2015).

FORESTVIEW

Head Coach: Chris Medlin (10th year as Forestview head football coach)

2015 Record: 5-7 (4-3 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Jaylen McCree, Sr., LB (5-8, 205); Tramone Duncan, Sr., S (5-11, 195); Rhett Jenkins, Sr., LB (6-0, 215); Tremayne Booker, Sr., DL (6-2, 220); Jared Carter, Sr., WR/S (6-0, 175).

Key Newcomers: Jayveon Love, Jr., RB (5-10, 170); Cameron Jackson, Jr.. LB (6-2, 205).

Returning Starters: 11 (4 offense; 7 defense)

Returning Lettermen: 21

Outlook: After winning 21 games in 2013 and 2014 combined, the Jaguars were up and down a year ago (5-7). But Coach Medlin believes his team has the experience and defense to get back on top of the Big South standings again this season.

HIGHLAND TECH

Head Coach: Darren Shepherd (1st year as Highland Tech head football coach)

2015 Record: 0-10 (0-FILL in the Southern Piedmont 1A conference)

Key Returning Starters: Patrick Wiggins, Sr., WR/RB (5-10, 155); Chandler Childs, Sr., LB/DE (6-1, 180); Gavin Davis, Jr., WR/CB (6-0, 160); Malik Brown, Sr., RB/DB (5-7, 160); Caleb Hill, So., QB/LB (5-10, 160).

Key Newcomers: Ryan Crosby, Sr., FB/LB (5-10, 180); Bernard Thompson, So., DE (5-11, 190); Josh Grant, So., OL/DL (5-7, 190).

Returning Starters: 14

Returning Lettermen: 19

Outlook: First-year head coach, Darren Shepherd believes his team is starting in a “New era of optimism,” after winning just one game in the last five seasons. With 14 starters back, they have the experience to get back in the win column and give themselves something to build on going forward.

HUNTER HUSS

Head Coach: Jamar McKoy (3rd year as Hunter Huss head football coach)

2015 Record: 3-8 (2-5 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Ja

Key Newcomers: Marcus Manley, So., S/TE/LB (6-3, 185); Chase Williamson, So., LB (6-1, 175); Chase Nixon, Jr., WR/DB (5-10, 175); Prince Bemah, So., LB/SS (6-0, 190).

Returning Starters: 10

Returning Lettermen: 15

Outlook: The Huskies haven’t had a winning season since 2006, but believe a strong running game – led by senior RB Ja’Quavious Butler – and their defense can help them challenge for Big South conference supremacy and postseason play.

MOUNTAIN ISLAND CHARTER

Head Coach: Robert Washington (2nd Year as Mountain Island Charter coach)

2015 Record: 6-5 (1-4 in the Southern Piedmont 1A conference)

Key Returning Starters: Aapri Washington, Sr., CB/ATH (5-10, 170); Eric Gallman, Sr., WR (5-10, 175); Carson Pledger, Sr., K/P/WR/TE (6-6, 190); Bryson Howell, So., S (6-1, 150); Michael Spivey, Jr., LB (5-10, 200).

Key Newcomers: N/A

Returning Starters: 16 (8 offense; 8 defense)

Returning Lettermen: 17

Outlook: The Raptors went 6-2 after Coach Robert Washington took over last season, and they look to carry that momentum into 2016, and with 16 starters back – led by senior playmakers Aapri Washington and Eric Gallman – they believe they can contend for a SPC 1A conference crown.

NORTH GASTON

Head Coach: Mike Patton (5th year as North Gaston head coach; 16-39 overall)

2015 Record: 4-7 (2-5 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Ethan Costner, Jr., LB (5-9, 175); Jarqueze Elder, Sr., FB/SS (5-10, 191); Dylan Betts, Sr., OT/DE (6-1, 215); Kade Christian, Sr., WR/DB (6-0, 170); Bryce Cobb, Jr., WB/CB (5-9, 150); Darius Boone, Sr., CB (5-8, 145); Michael Watson, Jr., 6-2, 255 (OG/DT).

Key Newcomers: Isaiah McNeil, So., QB/FS (6-1, 175)

Returning Starters: 8

Returning Lettermen: 15

Outlook: The Wildcats look to move up the Big South standings and the have the speed and talent to do so, but will have to grow up quickly with just eight starters back and will need some young player to step up into key roles.

SOUTH POINT

Head Coach: Mickey Lineberger (6th year as South Point head football coach; 58-11 overall)

2015 Record: 13-3 (7-0 Big South conference champions)

Key Returning Starters: Nick Muse, Sr., LB/TE (6-5, 242); Max Mead, Sr., QB/S (6-0, 178); James Granson, Sr., OG (6-0, 245); Nathan Silver, Sr., CB/WR (5-11, 170); Larry Dowdy, So., OT (6-3, 250); Phillip Davis, Jr., NG (6-2, 305).

Key Newcomers: Scottie Lee, Jr., QB (5-11, 178); Jake Alexander, Jr., FB (6-2, 190); Ethan Jackson, Jr., C (5-11, 220); Victor Hernandez, Sr., OG (5-11, 245).

Returning Starters: 7 (3 offense; 4 defense)

Returning Lettermen: N/A

Outlook: “Tradition never graduates at South Point,” according to Coach Mickey Lineberger. The reigning, 3A state runner-up is eager to prove they are a Big South conference and N.C. state contender again, led by senior LB Nick Muse (180 tackles, 8 interceptions) last year.

STUART CRAMER

Head Coach: Ben McMillan (4th year at Stuart Cramer head football coach)

2015 Record: 5-6 (2-5 in the Big South conference)

Key Returning Starters: Darnell Johnson, Sr., LB (6-2, 190); Noah Oxendine, Sr., QB (6-1, 185); Isaiah Foust, Sr., FS/WR (6-2, 180); Robert Truesdale, Sr., RB/LB (5-11, 189); Corey Stowe, Sr., WR/KR (5-9, 155); Adam Hannibal, Jr., DL (5-9, 200);

Key Newcomers: Deniorrian Lindsay, So., WR/DB (5-9, 160); Navja Fair, Sr., DE/TE (5-11, 195); Landon Helton, Jr., DB/WR (5-11, 160); Kobe Sithisaribouth, Sr., WR/DB (5-9, 165).

Returning Starters: 15

Returning Lettermen: 32

Outlook: The Storm has made progress in each of their two varsity seasons, and believe they can challenge for the Big South title this season behind an opportunistic defense led by senior LB, Robert Truesdale, who led the state with 17.5 tackles per game.

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