Wyatt Smith’s Guilford County Football Pre-Season Top 10

Guilford County High School Football 2016 Pre-Season Top 10

     As we prepare for scrimmages to start today, I have compiled my Pre-Season Top 10 for Guilford County High School teams. Once you get past the first few picks, it becomes a little harder to predict who will finish where. I have spoken to coaches, a few players, and some of the area’s preps writers to come up with my list. What do you think about these predictions? Are there teams that were left out who should be in? Are there teams who are ranked higher or lower than you expected them to be? Give us your predictions in the comments!


#1- Dudley: With the return of the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the state and Virginia Tech commit Hendon Hooker taking control of the Panther offense, Dudley should have no problem in the scoring department.  To compliment the senior quarterback, running back Ezra Perkins is back this year to carry the ball for the Panthers and will be looking to rack up big yardage and plenty of touchdowns.

Dudley’s defense was its strong suit last season. Averaging only seven points allowed all season in 2015, expect more of the same:  commanding numbers on offense and a suffocating defense.

The only thing that could be a problem for Dudley is the difficulty of its schedule. They play at Richmond County, the always daunting Durham Hillside, and Page. They also host Pine Forest (Fayetteville). I believe that senior leadership from Hendon Hooker, Brion Seagraves, Ezra Perkins, and Dacquari Wilson –  to name a few—should boost their chances of winning big games.

The Panthers still have a sour taste in their mouth from last season when they lost to Richmond County in the regular season, at home in the rain, and to Charlotte Catholic in the fourth round of the playoffs. I think Dudley will be ready to prove that they are the best team in the state this season, and will finish the regular season undefeated at (10-0). As I mentioned, though, they have a tough non-conference schedule, and will have to be ready to battle in every game to finish undefeated.


#2- Page: After a devastating loss in the State Championship game in 2015, the Pirates will be looking to move forward and use that experience as motivation when their team opens at home against Davie County on August 19th.

The Pirates return quarterback Will Jones and the top rated running back in the state, Javon Leake. These two will definitely carry the team on their shoulders and take them to victory if they both stay healthy. The only question about this offense is who will step up to fill the role of Diondre Overton, who graduated earlier this year. Jones will be looking for new targets, as well as familiar ones. It’s not impossible to replace a player as talented as Overton, but it is very difficult. I anticipate that the Pirates will run the ball much more than pass this year, with Leake and Gafford in the backfield.

Looking at Page’s schedule, the only two teams they play that I foresee as being a tough game for the Pirates are when they host East Forsyth (9/23), and Dudley (10/28). The team can only hope that it can feed off the energy of the home crowd and get ahead early in the game.

The Pirates will be hungry and ready to get back to the State Championship game, so everybody in the Metro should look out for the silver and red. Since they are in the same conference as Dudley, I will have to say that they will finish as runner-ups in the conference, but I see them finishing the regular season (8-2). That’s with losses against East Forsyth and Dudley.


#3- Northwest Guilford: The Vikings have many key members of their offense returning this season: Thomas Hennigan, Tre Turner, Cameron Cloud, and running back Kyle Finnie. Continuity at the quarterback position was the main struggle for Coach Rolfes’ team last season, with Jake Smith sharing time with Caleb Homol. Coach Rolfes hopes that bringing in Jacob Leonard to be the designated quarterback, with Henning taking some snaps in a Wildcat Offense, he will have solved the issue at the quarterback position. To win games that the Vikings need to win, they are going to need skilled play at the quarterback position on a regular basis.

Northwest definitely has the talent this season; there is no doubt about that. Although Tre Turner more than likely will not return from an ankle injury until the third game of the season – against Northern Guilford – Leonard, Hennigan and Finnie, along with Cloud should be able to hold their weight until Turner is healthy and returns to the lineup. Turner is a standout player and will contribute a great deal when he returns.

If the Vikings can get the performance they hope to from Jacob Leonard, they should have a pretty easy time rolling through their schedule until they play on the road at Southwest Guilford and East Forsyth for the final two games of the regular season. That should be a great test for the Vikings going into the playoffs to gauge where they are and what kind of talented opposition they are capable of beating.

Northwest should be a lock for the playoffs, and possibly win the conference. Everything depends on the performance they get from quarterback spot. I think the Vikings regular season record could be as good as (10-1).


#4- Southwest Guilford: Looking at other predictions, Southwest is at or near the bottom. I think that the Cowboys have a good chance to finish the year over .500 in the Metro-4A. I saw the Cowboys play several games last year, and although their record was sub-.500, several games were lost by a touchdown or less. Unfortunately for Southwest and Coach Eric Rainey, he lost his top receiver, running back, top defender, and top offensive lineman to graduation. That’s probably why they’re placed toward the bottom of other preseason polls, but Jaren Rainey is a playmaker and he showed us that last year.

I expect to see good things from the Cowboys. If I had to pick a sleeper team, Southwest would be it. The JV team had a 7-3 record last year, and the players who move up this year could likely bring that success with them from their performance last season.

However, Southwest has an incredibly tough schedule this season and will need to capitalize on the games they are predicted to win. If they can get those victories under their belts and achieve momentum, Southwest will be a fierce competitor against the teams in its conference.

Southwest losing receivers Jeremiah Brown, Emmanuel Dines, running back Tamarius Howze, and MLB Colton Weeks is definitely going to make things tougher, as athletes of that caliber are hard to replace. The Cowboys should still have a very good season, and finish with a record of (8-3) and if they can pull off an upset of Northwest Guilford, (9-2).


#5- HP Andrews: After going (12-2) overall and (5-0) in the PAC 2-A conference last season, the Red Raiders at Andrews are returning their top two rushers from last season, Travis Steele and Jamarri Palbusa. Steele is predicted to be one of the top rushers in the county this season, and with a No. 2 back like Palbusa, look for the duo to collect a lot of yards and score often for the Red Raiders of Andrews.

Andrews’ schedule looks much like it did last season, which would lead me to believe that they should only run into problems if their defense doesn’t play as well as they did last year. They shouldn’t have any problems scoring points, but Southwest Guilford is definitely going to want to come out strong against them in the first game of the year, especially since Andrews beat the Cowboys in the 2015 season opener. The two teams will meet again on the 19th of August to begin regular season play. If they can get past Southwest, they will be in good shape in the rest of their games.

The Red Raiders will look to repeat their conference championship, but I believe that they will finish the regular season somewhere around the (8-3) mark.


#6-Southern Guilford: Southern Guilford looks to repeat its Conference title under new leadership. The Storm is one of five Guilford County teams who have new head coaches this season.

The Storm was also undefeated in the Mid-Piedmont 3-A conference in the 2015 season under head Coach Daryl Brown. The Storm also looks to recover from losing Ray Knight, Romello Herbin, Amon Harris, and Kenyon Taylor, who were all huge contributors to Southern’s success last season.

New head coach Earl Bates returns a good group of seniors who have the experience of winning and will be the leaders who help the Storm continue their football legacy. The seniors include Thaj Easter, Nykeem Myers, Tre Wallace, Chase Ross, and Deandre Days.

Southern opens their regular season with a game against Eastern Guilford August 19th. The Storm has a possibility to do as well as last year. I’m not ready to say they will be conference champions again, but their regular season record should be (9-2)


#7- Eastern Guilford: Junior quarterback Dominique Graves looks to lead his Wildcats to a better 2016. Eastern finished 2015 with a (5-7) record overall, and went (3-5) in conference play.

To be successful this season the Wildcats must improve in both defense and offense. Eastern had a -4.7 point differential in 2015 that must improve onto the positive side. DE and OT Spencer Clapp recently committed to Appalachian State and will lend experience and talent to the Wildcats’ defense, as well as provide support on the offensive line.

Eastern should finish the regular season with a record of (8-3).


#8- Northern Guilford: Northern Guilford enters the 2016 season under new direction. Longtime Nighthawks coach Johnny Roscoe retired for medical reasons. New head coach Erik Westberg, former offensive coordinator at Greensboro College, is set to take this team back to the playoffs in the 2016 season. The Nighthawks made a playoff run last season and advanced all the way to the region final before losing to Southern Durham.

This year’s team will feature former Southern Durham RB Myron Frazier, who will be stepping in to fill the hole left when CJ Freeman graduated, going to South Carolina.

I have seen Frazier once, in the Regional Final against Northern, and believe that the Nighthawks will be very happy with Frazier. The Nighthawks only have a handful of seniors returning so it is a fair guess to say that they may struggle due to the youth of the team, and learning a new system. I don’t see Northern being able to make the run that they made last season, even though they live for the playoffs.

I believe that Northern will finish the regular season with a record of (6-5)


#9- Northeast Guilford: As head coach Jason Lippard goes into his second season leading the Rams football team, Northeast fans should see a vast improvement from last year’s (1-10) overall record.

The Rams’ will call on junior Gerald Simpson to be their quarterback. Simpson will have to be a playmaker if the Rams are going to be successful this season. His targets will include seniors Germal Price and Lance Thompson, along with fellow junior Desmond Overton.

The run game for Northeast will compliment Simpson’s talent. Look for juniors Kobe Dillard and Ta’rique Ridges, and senior Noah Priester to be the main ball carriers for Northeast.

The 2015 JV Rams finished with a record of (7-3), and coach Lippard is hoping that the success that the JV team will continue when those players make the transition to the varsity team this season.

Northeast opens their season at Parkland in Winston Salem on August 19th. I predict that the Rams will finish with a regular season record of (5-7). The Rams could have a better season, but they are in one of the toughest conferences in the area.


#10- Grimsley: Led by new head coach Darryl Brown, we should see a much better Grimsley team in the 2016 than we saw in 2015. Coach Brown has been very successful in his career to this point and will be motivating his players to be as successful as they can be.

The Whirlies finished the 2015 campaign with a (2-9) overall record.

With senior quarterback Garrett Hudnell leading Grimsley’s offense, and recent Penn State commit Brelin Faison-Walden being the big playmaker on defense, this team should be able to stay in games. Coach Brown and his staff will have the team ready, that’s for sure. Execution on the field of Brown’s system will determine how successful the Whirlies will be this season.

For Grimsley to be successful in Brown’s first season at the helm, they will need to beat the teams they are capable of beating.

Don’t expect Grimsley to turn everything around this year. Look for them to finish at least (5-7) in the regular season. However, if they beat one or two of the stronger teams they play, they could end up at the .500 mark or above.

12 thoughts on “Wyatt Smith’s Guilford County Football Pre-Season Top 10

  1. Where does SE Guilford fall in your rankings???
    A 2-9 and a 1-10 squad in front of the Falcons??
    Hopefully you just forgot about SE…
    Please explain and give a record prediction for them.

  2. He listed his Top 10 for Guilford County. Maybe SE isn’t that good. What’s your top 10?


  3. If anyone really thinks that Grimsley, Northern, NEG, or Southern will be better than SEG going into the season I think you’re wrong. Just my opinion

    NW Guilford
    SE Guilford
    SW Guilford
    Eastern Guilford
    HP Central
    NE Guilford

  4. I think the biggest sleeper in the State is the NW Guilford Vikings! I think they could very well play with and beat teams like Dudley Page and East Forsyth.


  5. I had SEG in the 10 spot originally. When I looked at their schedule, considered the loss of CJ McThay, and the fact I think that both teams could finish around the (5-7) mark, I decided to go with Grimsley because I think Darryl Brown can get their offense going, and the defense should be lead by Brelin Faison-Walden.
    No disrespect was meant, I was going on schedules and returning players.

  6. My prediction for SE Guilford is a (5-7) regular season. Maybe I should’ve included them in a tie for 10th

  7. NW Guilford is very talented this year. But to put them above Dudley and Page is hilarious. Before your can get that much respect your must win the big games. Like a Northern Guilford or East Forsyth. Not taking anything away from your but winning some 7 on 7 Tournament won’t do it. How many regional finals your played in or State championship game your been in. Schedule a better Non conference teams like a Page or Dudley. Then you will get more respect then you do. No way should your be rank above neither Dudley or Page. Not until you win a big game when counted.

  8. I don’t know if NEG had all of their players or not, but Smith and Mount Tabor manhandled them yesterday.

  9. Very strange not to see HP Central in the Top Ten. I think Chavis Little/Curt Ervin will be the top RB duo in the county.

  10. The record for EG is listed wrong. The overall record was 6-6. That conference record was 4-4

  11. Dudley
    NW Guilford
    SE Guilford
    Eastern Guilford
    SW Guilford
    HP Central
    Southern Guilford
    SW Guilford

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