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Catawba County high school football previews

Here are Catawba County high school football previews, as compiled by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards

PREVIEW LINKS

Preseason All-State Team Released

Observer-area County previews

2017 high school football schedules

BANDYS

Head Coach: Trent Lowman (5th year as Bandys

2016 Record (Conference): 3-8 (1-6 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A.

Returning Starters: 8

Returning Lettermen: 18

Key Returning Starters: JaTay Culliver, Sr. ATH (5-11, 175); Ethan Howard, Jr., RB (6-0, 235); Aaron Johnson, Jr., OL/DL (6-1, 220); Anthony Bisculca, Jr., OL/DL (6-0, 270); Coby Morgan, Sr., RB/DB (5-11, 175).

Key Newcomers: Isaiah Talbert, Jr., LB/WR (6-2, 180); Lake Hojnacki, Jr., QB/DB (6-0, 165); Devin McCorkle, Jr., LB/RB (5-8, 195).

Outlook: The Trojans struggled in the last two seasons, winning just five games combined and it

--JAY EDWARDS

BUNKER HILL

Head Coach: David Haynie (2nd year as Bunker Hill head football coach)

2016 Record (Conference): 1-10 (1-6 in Southern District 7 (SD7))

2017 Conference: Northwest Footballs/2A

Returning Starters: 11

Returning Lettermen: 17

Key Returning Starters: Cameron Barkley, Sr., OL (6-0, 215); Caleb Lonca, Sr., OL/DL (6-1, 233); Ross Garcia, Sr., OL (6-0, 270); Danny Moss, Sr., DL (5-11, 245); Harley Tremain, Sr., WR/S (6-0, 150); Devin Caldwell, Sr., WR/LB (6-5, 230); Aaron Prince, Sr., QB/LB (6-0, 187); Josh Propst, Sr., WD/DB (5-5, 160); Raheem Carson, Jr., WB/DB (5-6, 138); Harold Morrison, Sr., WB/LB (5-10, 160); Garrett Poovey, Sr., TE/LB (5-10, 182).

Key Newcomers: Joe Miller, Sr., RB/LB (5-10, 160); Nick Hamby, Sr., WR/DB (5-9, 155).

Outlook: Life won

--JAY EDWARDS

FRED T. FOARD

Head Coach: Derrick Minor (2nd year as Fred T. Foard football coach).

2016 Record (Conference): 3-8 (1-6 in Northwestern 3A/4A).

2017 Conference: Northwest Foothills 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 15 (8 offense; 7 defense).

Returning Lettermen: N/A.

Key Returning Starters: Jack Colosimo, Jr., QB (5-11, 165); Tate Beaver, Sr., RB (6-1, 200); Corey Siemer, So., RB (6-1, 190); Matthew Greenwood, Sr., LB (5-11, 185).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Tigers have struggled in recent years as they haven

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY

Head Coach: Russell Stone (1st year as Hickory football coach; 39th year overall/262-142).

2016 Record (Conference): 2-9 (2-5 in the Northwestern 3A/4A conference).

2017 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A conference (3A).

Returning Starters: 11

Returning Lettermen: 16

Key Returning Starters: Darrien Phillips, Sr., QB (5-10, 175); Jaekwon Staton, Sr., WR/DB (5-9, 175); Dre Rhinehart, Sr., WR/DB (5-10, 160); Izak Milsap, Sr., LB/RB (5-9, 205); Kevin Shuford, Jr., WR/RB (5-9, 155); Jacob Clifton, Sr., LB (5-10, 220); Quintavios Sadler, Jr., RB/LB (5-10, 225); Jacob Surbaugh, Sr., DE (6-1, 217); C.J. Hargrove, Sr., OG (5-8, 215); Marquia Gibson, Sr., DL (5-11, 270); Bryce Stober, Jr., WR/QB/DB (5-9, 160); Grant Amos, Sr., OT/DT (6-2, 235); Jalen Byrd, Sr., RB (5-7, 160).

Key Newcomers: N

Outlook: Hickory has struggled mightily the last three seasons, winning only four games overall in that span. But 39-year veteran coach, Russell Stone, believes he can get an experienced team back on track in his first year in charge. The Red Tornadoes have experience in the right places in playmakers, senior QB Darrien Phillips (3rd year as starter), WR Jaekwon Staton (857 yards receiving and eight touchdowns), OT Grant Amos and DB/WR Kevin Shuford (127 tackles, three interceptions) to help lead their team back up the Northwestern 3A/4A conference standing and into the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY HAWKS

Head Coach: Jim Ruark (4th year as the Hickory Hawks

2016 Record (Conference): 9-4 (Independent/no conference).

2017 Conference: Independent/NACA.

Returning Starters: 12

Returning Lettermen: 16

Key Returning Starters: Kendell Johnson, Sr., TE/DL (6-3, 275); Josh McManus, Sr., RB/LB (5-11, 190); Maureece Norris, Sr., FB/NG (6-2, 295); Max Fulcher, Jr., C/NG (6-3, 285); Jordan Frierson, Sr., RB/S (5-9, 170); Jack Hayes, Sr., OL/LB (6-3, 15); Chris Maxy, Jr., OL/DL (6-0, 270); Briggs Shealy, Sr., TE/DE (6-3, 220).

Key Newcomers: Hunter Burkett, Sr., QB/LB (6-0, 200); Garrett Sain, So., QB/DB (5-9, 165); Jack Tomlinson, Fr., QB/LB (5-9, 175).

Outlook: The Hawks have won 26 games in the past three seasons, including eight straight victories to end the 2016 season with an NACA national championship. With 12 starters back, led by All-American, senior DL, Kendell Johnson (92 tackles, eight sacks) and classmate,

--JAY EDWARDS

MAIDEN

Head Coach: Will Byrne (2nd year as Maiden football coach).

2016 Record (Conference): 8-4 (5-2 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 10

Returning Lettermen: 24

Key Returning Starters: Maurtice Bennett, Sr., LB/TE (5-11, 180); Micah Cobb, Sr., DE (5-10, 235); Cooper Bumgarner, Sr., LB/TE (6-2, 190); Charlie Moody, Sr., OL/LB (5-9, 160); Caleb McDaniel, Jr., WR/DB (5-9, 160); Gannon Bishop, Jr., LB/OL (6-0, 215); Logan Hentschel, Sr., WR/S (6-0, 165); Chris Morgan, So., TE/LB (6-0, 205).

Key Newcomers: Keygan Mayfield, Sr., QB/CB (5-11, 175/Davidson Day transfer).

Outlook: The Blue Devils have a strong defense returning, led by senior LB Maurtice Bennett (66 tackles), but have a challenge in replacing 90 percent of their offensive production. If Davidson Day transfer, Keygan Mayfield (played at Maiden as sophomore) can step in and be a player at quarterback, the Blue Devils should be a major factor in the South Fork 2A conference race and into the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

ST. STEPHENS

Head Coach: Wayne Hicks (5th year as St. Stephens

2016 Record (Conference): 3-8 (2-5 in the Northwestern 3A/4A conference)

2017 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A conference.

Returning Starters: 13

Returning Lettermen: 20

Key Returning Starters: Bryce DeSantis, Sr., K (6-2, 190); Tyler Granger, Sr., OL/DL (6-1, 250); Dawson Lail, Sr., NG (5-9, 290); Xavian King, Jr., CB/RB (5-9, 155); Teavius Henry, Sr., WR (6-3, 170).

Key Newcomers: Daniel Tellez, Jr., NG (5-6, 210); Alex Lineberger, Jr., ATH (5-9, 165); Jordan Boiling, Jr., TE/LB (6-0, 170); DeUntae Henry, Jr., S (5-9, 155); Ethan Upton, Jr., OL (6-0, 200); Anthony Vera, Jr., WR (5-10, 205); Blake Baker, Jr., RB/DB (5-6, 145); Ivan Vergel, Jr., TE/LB (5-6, 180); Salvador Gilvaja, Jr., DL (5-11, 210).

Outlook: The Indians have had just one winning season since 2009, and it won

--JAY EDWARDS

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