The Dudley Panthers are the team to beat since they are still the defending State 3-A title holders. Everybody will be gunning for Dudley this season and it won’t be easy when they face WS Carver at home this Friday night in Tarpley Stadium on Lincoln Street. This should be another Greensboro/Winston-Salem backyard battle.
The big plus for Dudley this year is the battle-tested quarterback Ricky Lewis Jr. Lewis the senior leader is not big 5’10/175 but he is quick and very fast and through the championship run of 2007 he has developed a more than adequate arm. Lewis and Dudley beat Oxford Webb on the ground in the state semifinals and they went to the air to take care of Charlotte Catholic in the championship game.
Along with Lewis and his leadership the offensive and defensive lines are loaded for the Panthers again and they should be the biggest overall strength for Dudley this season. Many of the Panther linemen possess unbelievable size and speed. For instance Chris Neal 6’1/230 with a 4.7 40, Josh Jones at 6’2/235 4.8 40, Kelton Shephard 6’2/235 4.8, Darius Hall 6’3/260 4.9, Cameron Ingram 6’2/320 5.4 40, Tavorris Stanback 6’0 255 5.1, Steve McCain 6’1/285 5.3, and DeMarcus Bell 6’2/285 5.0.
Those are some tough linemen and then throw in the backs like Fred Overby 5’9/175 4.4 40 and his brother, Rakeem Overby, a receiver at 5’8/150 4.5. Another key back will be Junior Peterson 5’11/190 at 4.6 in the 40. It won’t get any easier when you face the Dudley linebackers; Major Bryant 6’1/205 with 4.6 speed and Tevin Williams at 6’2/200 and 4.5 speed in the 40. That’s a ton of talent and they are all college prospects and for good measure you can add in WR Sam LeGrand 5’10/166 with 4.5 speed.
How are you gonna stop Dudley? You may have to call Coach Hal Capps from Western Alamance, his is one of only three teams to beat Dudley in 2007, the others being Northeast Guilford and Grimsley. Western Alamance will be picked to finish second behind Dudley in the conference this year.
Northeast Guilford will be picked as the third team in the Triad 3-A and they lost a load of players from last year’s squad. Graduation took away Kendall Bratcher, Tyler Woods, Michael Via, Joseph Hayes and soph QB Maurice Harris transferred to Northern Guilford. NEG will have excellent team speed and they will be strong. Coach Tommy Pursley is counting heavily on Demetrius Phillips his new quarterback who can fly at 4.6 in the 40 and he benches 220.
Rayshawn Trader is the fastest Ram with his 40 timed at 4.3 and he can bench 230. Chris Smith will be a key blocker up front at 6’3 266 and he is major college prospect. Gant Apple 5’7/200, Jordan Fulk 6’0/210, and Nick Mabe 5’11/240 will be expected to help Smith up front with the blocking. Kenny Rush who has been in the Ram starting lineup for at least three years will anchor the NEG defense. Rush should get plenty of help from linebackers Johnathan Reaser and Trey Williams.
Western Guilford finished at 7-6/3-3 in 2007 and Chris Causey wants to make a bigger dent in the conference standings in 2008. It will be tough for WG to catch Dudley and Western Alamance but they may have a shot at NEG. Western has an abundance of offense but the push is for the offensive line to get stronger to open more holes for RB Brandon Easter and so they can offer up important protection for QB Corey McKenna. McKenna passed for over 2,500 yards last season and Easter ran for more than 1,600 yards and he scored 18 TD’s. Julius Hooks, Aaron Jones, and Jabri Ridenhour will be McKenna’s main receivers. Linebacker Mustafa Stinson will spearhead the Hornet defense.
That’s a look at our Guilford County teams and from the Triad 3-A Conference, Donald Britt of Western Alamance is Pre-Season All-State in the NC Preps News publication and Britt is also the Pre-Season 3-A Player-of-the-Year. LB Major Bryant of Dudley is 3-A All-State as is DL Michael Brooks of Bartlett Yancey.
Here’s how the conference should stack up:
#2) Western Alamance
#3) Northeast Guilford
#4) Western Guilford
#5) Rockingham County
#7) Bartlett Yancey