Dudley will be the team to beat, again!

Posted by Andy Durham on August 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm under High School | 20 Comments to Read

Two straight State 3-A Titles and even though they have moved up to the 4-A level, the Championship still runs through Dudley High School.

In our continuing look at the upcoming season, we look at the Dudley Panthers as the team to beat, again. With the local camps opening yesterday, Dudley is the target and they remain on everyone’s radar and if you want to be the best here locally and throughout most of the state, you have to go deep through Panther Nation over on Lincoln Street off of East Lee at Highway 29 North.

Ricky Lewis Jr. and a host of other Panthers are missing, but with the return of RB JR Peterson and Major Bryant, David Amerson, Jeremy Reynolds, Denzel Jones, Demarcus Neal and a few more Dudley blue chippers, you have to think Coach Steven Davis is going to be in pretty shape again in 2009.

Peterson took apart several teams on his own last year and Bryant made two-point conversion runs a new-found art, in the Panthers’ offensive attack led by the crafty young offensive mind of Coach Antonio Kirkpatrick. More of Bryant could well be on the way and who knows, we may see him line up at fullback in certain sets this year and who’s to say that a goal line set might not just be the perfect place to use Bryant and his power-running game. Expect Demetrius Dick at quarterback early and he may remain at the spot if the Coach Davis feels comfortable with Dick’s leadership.

Mycah Gaylord is fast and he was a regular backfield-mate of Peterson’s early in the season in 2008. Gaylord should fast become a featured back and even though Dudley will have to replace many of their big men up front on the line, that will just mean that the backs will have to add more to the blocking-scheme in August and September, until all of the linemen get steady and solid up front.

The other area teams will have to line up to see who will take out Dudley and WS Carver will get the first shot on August 21, and then Ragsdale will make their stand on August 28 and later on it will be Northern Guilford and then Page, Grimsley, Smith, Western Guilford, Southeast Guilford, Southern Alamance and others all lining up to take out the Champs.

The word out of Page is that they had a lot of kids turn out for practice yesterday and that Tuc Phon might get a number of carries in the backfield this year to utilize his speed. Page had a shot at Dudley last with now-departed Will Newman at the helm as QB and now the Pirates will have Bruce McCoy and the Summers kid up from the JV’s calling the shots.

Grimsley got rolling on Saturday and one of their concerns is the line, but if I had DJ Reader, Jordan Patterson, Terrell Clark, Charlie Jones and whoever the fifth guy is, I can get you 3 yards a carrry if you keep me loaded with water. Reader is huge and if he gets mean, get out of the way and Charlie Jones has big feet and that means if he can’t knock you down he will walk all over you on the way to the end zone.

I am curious about Western Guilford and if they have the Matt Poplowski kid that was the QB at Northwest. That’s what we have been hearing all summer and we should know something for real soon. When I was out around WG back in the day, the old coach said we had some of the best linemen in the county and after my workout on Saturday afternoon with my 4.45 downhill 40 yard sprint, I am wondering why he didn’t let us touch the ball a few times other than on Thurdays in those famous 45 minute workouts/practices. I still don’t understand that…..

Thursday was the only day he would let us touch the ball and then it was, “don’t put your hands on that precious ball for extended minutes”. If I could have got a better grip on that pigskin, I might still be up in Canada and playing on the weekdays in the CFL. A downhill 4.45 40, there has to be a need for that somewhere south of the border.

Ragsdale has checked in from the 7 on 7’s with a healthy returning corp of Stone, Sparks, Armwod, Anderson, Ellison and other key skill players, so the Tigers expect to win their new 4-A conference and finish above HPC, NWG, Glenn, SWG, and others.

That is our early look at Guilford County football and we will continue blogging on this subject as the week progresses.

If you have any news for us on practices, players or upcoming scrimmages, send it to the site or to durhamandy@live.com…………


  • rumormill said,

    Yes it is true, Matt POPLOWSKI is at Western and Northwest.Heck ,we even heard he was spotted at Northern working out as well! Who knows, he might be at ORMA. That kid is so good he could start at four differnt high scools at the same time!…lol. I think you are thinking about the Godley kid.

  • Topfin29 said,

    Coach Davis does a great job! Good luck to the Panthers

  • Andy said,

    Sounds good to me rumormill, but is he there? Western needs a quarterback. They has McKenna last year and he’s gone. McKenna put up some of the best numbers in the the state with Hooks, Ridenhour and Jones to throw to.

    Brandon Easter is gone too at WG, but I think Aaron Jones is back and ready.

    Will Northwest have anything left? Kennedy is gone at RB and we heard that Ples had moved to Florida, but someone was saying last week that he had come back to town.

    We need people to quit holding back and tell us what they know.

    The Street is Open.

    Good luck to the kids, but they all need some pub. Area folks barely know who these kids are and without this site the story would go untold.

  • rumormill said,

    The QB from NW that went to Western is Mclean Godley! He was the starting QB for NW varsity last season! Matt Pawlowski is a sophomore at NW and was the starter for the NW JV’s last season! That team was 9-1. NW may be a year away from something big!! Stay tuned!!

  • UNCMTH '13 said,

    I am rather surprised that Dudley would be the team to beat in 4-A play. Dudley is a power don’t get me wrong, but now they are going to be playing with the Independences and Richmond Seniors. Truly, anything can happen in the Metro 4-A (Page, Grimsley, Smith, Western Guilford, Dudley, SE Guilford, S. Alamance). As a former Pirate, I have to say that the Page-Dudley game was very close last yr. The head coach’s wise decision to place 12 men on the field stopped us from at least putting that into overtime (Page gained to momentum in the 2nd half) and possibly winning. I think Page has a good shot of stealing a win @ Dudley. But then again, its too early to call. 4-A competition is a heck of a lot harder than 3-A as the football team saw in the Page and Richmond games. Well we’ll see..GO PIRATES!!!

  • NW QuietStorm said,

    Andy, I’m new to your site & find it not only quite interesting but humorous as well! Northwest Guilford may have lost some very gifted players from last year, but I encourage you to stop by & check out OUR upcoming Friday Night Lights to SEE for yourself!! I sorta like the fact that preseason, we don’t appear to be on anyone’s radar, including yours… advantage VIKINGS! Yes, we lost a # of seniors, but there is talent aplenty, ready to suit up! W e have a young, extremely talented quarterback in Matt Palowski (note the spelling) & a hardworking, supporting cast. We also have a topnotch coaching staff led by a man with tremendous integrity & experience, head coach Joe Woodruff. We will hold our on in this new conference. Here’s to Opening Night…. Good luck to all the Guilford County programs! It”s time to put the politics & recruiting violations, etc. behind us and take it the the FIELD!!!!

  • ol" bawl coach said,

    Of course with Dudley to have been the power around here the past 6 years it’s hard NOT to think they would be the favorite. They have beat a number of 4A teams in non conference games.Personally,I think it’s a half full / half empty situation,and with a predominantly former PAGE staff there,it comes with the territory. Yes, they do have some fine athletes out there,but we’ll see if “three peat” (as Coach Davis has mentioned in the past) will be their magic number. I don’t believe they’ll run roughshod over their non conference and conference foes. It’s August and time for them to put up all that hardware from the past,they were really a 4A team playing 3AA,only time will tell and the time will start on the 3rd Friday of this month ! Word of warning . . .don’t under estimate Western Guilford, Smith ,or Grimsley for that matter. The games will be played on the field and not in here. Best of luck to all the teams in the area. Now let the games begin and all the hot are be that . . .hot air !

  • Topfin29 said,

    Good point Ol bawl coach. That is why they play the games so we don’t have to argue about it. It’s hard not to pick Dudley though. Not sure about Grimsley, they have some good players returning but an entirely new staff, a good staff, but entirely new. Page will obviously miss 2 time Metro conference offensive player of the year Will Newman, but they have some experience coming back on defense. Probably not a contender but could be a spoiler. Can’t wait to see all of the local teams play. Can’t wait to smell the popcorn and hear the band! See you at the game!

  • UNCMTH '13 said,

    For the record, I didn’t come here to argue. I was just shocked that former 3-A Dudley would be the favorite next year, but I said enough. Let’s get ready for some Friday Night Football..and as mentioned above, time will tell.

  • Get Real said,

    Andy the fifth guy on Grimsley O line is Donald Manley, watch out for this kid. Good size and foot work.

  • cs said,

    Well probably one very good reason why Dudley is moving up to 4A and is a lot of folks favorite to win the conference is the win / loss record against 4A teams the last 5 years. Yes they had a close game at Page last year and went down and beat Richmond County who went on to win the 4AA title. Football is Football not to many teams go into Richmond County and come away with a win 3A or 4A. Correct me if i’m wrong but Dudley has lost only what two games against 4A teams within the city the last 5 years? I don’t think anyone is saying Dudley will have a cake walk but right now on paper based on what everyone has returning they have to be one of the favorites to win the Conference title. Correct the games still have to be played and you never know what team(s) will be injury free which could play a big part in who wins the conference crown. But hey good give credit to Dudley for the accomplishments. 3 State titles appearance in the last 5 years is impressive. I no on poster said something about Dudley having a coaching staff dominated by former Page coaches and players but it’s a reason why they left Page. Great teams takes a good balance of good coaching and good talent on any level. No quesiton about it Dudley has always been a hot bed for talent.

  • ol" bawl coach said,

    If the hot bed of talent is truly their’s . . . . . . . .

  • Andy said,

    The Manley kid at Grimsley is Keith’s brother and I believe he came through Kernodle Middle. Keith Manley was a hard worker and their dad was a big man too and if the new Manley kid works as hard as Keith, he will be OK.

    The crazy thing about Dudley when you look back at all this is that Dudley did not lose a game at all last year and with the schedule they play it’s tough to go through a year unbeaten.

    We would have to go back to 2007 for their last loss and that might have been the Western Alamance regular season game that year when Donald Britt got hot late and took the off on the run up the left sideline to get the Warriors in position to steal one.

    Dudley at Northeast that year(2007) with the Kenny Okoro “Hail Mary” late in the 4th quarter saved that season for the Panthers.

    People are ready to talk football and I’m just bummed that the Metro 4-A won’t get a chance to go at it with High Point Central this year and that Coach Ken Helms is gone. Just give this some thought and I think I have hit on one of my better points here:

    Coach Ken Helms(Southeast Guilford and High Point Central) was the Monte Kiffin of Guilford County football.

    There will probably be some srimmage games going on by the end of the week or early next week.

    I am interested in the “New Look” Northwest Guilford team. Anybody have any more word on whether Sean Ples is in or out?????

  • cs said,

    Was Page talent all theirs when the dominated in every sport? Was Northern Guilford talent theirs this past season? What about Charlotte Indy? I mean we can go on and on but I still does not change the fact that Dudley has a lot talent throughout the years. I can run down a list of players dating back from the 80’s of players that should have been at Dudley but when to other schools. If you are from the area you know in Guilford County kids go with the hot thing.

  • Joe Barile said,

    Dudley will be solid this year.. but they will not dominate the 4A ranks.

  • Andy said,

    Back to that High Point Central theme, I’d still like to see our guys get a shot/look at their young quarterback Drew Adams. I think that kid can be a good one if he has time to run his offense. Adams can pass and he has the ability to run some option, but he needs time and he didn’t get it last year with the “O Line” he had up front.

    Must get some blocking to me sussessful. Drew Adams QB(HPC).

    Ragsdale had a real solid line last year on “O” and I think they lost some of those guys like Joey Finison etc.

    Joe needs to send us some Page insight now that practice is under way.

  • Topfin29 said,

    About Dudley, They have always had good talent but Coach Davis brings something his predecessors couldn’t. Discipline. Anybody else not like the extended playoff brackets? Every year there are teams under 500 in the playoffs. Do away with the A and AA brackets and add a 5A. The first year there were 0-10 teams in the playoffs. How does a 3-8 team benefit from travelling 200 miles just to get pounded. It’s got to cost the schools a lot of $$. Seems the only one benefitting is the NCHSSA.

  • PageFan said,

    I think Page is going to like the fact that they are going into this season as under dogs…Hopefully, this motivates them…Even though they lost Chris Knight at lb’er, I still think that defense is going to be solid, and I believe their running game is going to be superb with three very good running backs (Thuc, Drew, and Lenny)…If their QB (whoever wins the job) plays at a consistent level and limit the mistakes, then I think someone said it best, they could be spoilers, but they could also be contenders as well…I can’t wait for football to start…Only time will tell…

  • reggie said,

    Page is far from an underdog. They return most of a very good defense. Page will not sneak up on anyone. They’re good and have been working hard this summer.

  • john said,

    Watch Ragsdale in pads yesterday. Look good. Lots of speed, especially with Heavner @QB. Receivers know how to get open. May be team to beat