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Alex Nease: Defensive player of the year.

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D.H. Conley's Alex Nease, defensive player of the year, poses in the studio on Dec. 19, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


The Daily Reflector

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The 2017 season began with Alex Nease attempting to get accustomed to his new surroundings at D.H. Conley after three seasons at J.H. Rose.

It ended with the senior linebacker being named The Daily Reflector’s all-county defensive player of the year after a season in which he helped spearhead a stingy Vikings defensive attack that was one of its strongest in recent memory.

Nease logged 141 total tackles (102 solo) in his senior season, 15 of which were for loss. He was the team’s leader in both sacks (eight) and quarterback hurries (13), and tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown in the playoffs against Northern Guilford, and also had a fumble return touchdown against Rocky Mount.

“It was really fun. I look back at all my seasons and this is probably one of the most fun ones,” he said. “I just liked the atmosphere of the team and how we weren’t focused on ourselves, but we were focused for each other on one goal and that was to get better, make it to the state championship and win. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I think it was a good season.”

Nease led Rose in tackles his sophomore and junior seasons. His production continued at Conley, where the Vikings’ defense allowed its fewest points (279) in its three seasons under head coach Nate Conner.

He contributed at least six total tackles in every one of Conley’s games in 2017. In seven of those games, he had at least 10 tackles, culminating with a 22-tackle effort — along with a fumble recovery — in Conley’s last game of the season against Eastern Guilford in the second round of the 3-A playoffs.

By the end of the season, Nease had formed a tight bond with his defensive teammates at Conley, but that’s not to say there wasn’t an adjustment period in which he and the Vikings had to learn each other.

“At first it was a little hard because I didn’t really know anyone,” he said. “I knew of them and they knew of me, but as soon as we got to talking and working out together, it all clicked and I’m best friends with a lot of guys on the team. It really worked out well.”



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High Schools

October 20, 2018

South Central continued its undefeated football season with a decisive victory over New Bern on Friday night, 52-8.

In their first game in two weeks, the Falcons dominated with their multifaceted run game and took advantage of the Bears’ offensive mistakes.

After a sloppy but uneventful first…


October 20, 2018

Four Pitt County high school volleyball programs are ready to make some noise in postseason play. J.H. Rose, D.H. Conley, South Central and Ayden-Grifton all are eyeing a state title this year after terrific regular seasons.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association plans to reveal the…


October 19, 2018

D.H. Conley bested rival J.H. Rose on the gridiron for the second straight year Friday night, 48-21, increasing their win streak to six straight in the process.

“This is an awesome feeling,” Conley head coach Nate Conner said. “The most important thing is that it puts us in a…


October 19, 2018

It’s time for another installment of one of the best rivalries in the state as D.H. Conley (5-2, 3-0) travels just under seven miles down the road to face J.H. Rose (5-2, 2-1) tonight in high school football action.

With two high-scoring offenses coming together it will be a shootout, and…


October 18, 2018

The Ayden-Grifton Chargers volleyball team celebrated senior night by defeating South Lenoir Wednesday to improve to 19-1 on the season.

The Chargers (11-0 in league play) won in straight sets, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-19.

The match marked the final time seniors Jordan Cannon, Zion Hardy and Kristen…

October 18, 2018

Zion Hardy, known by her teammates as “The Beast,” is one of three seniors on a Chargers volleyball roster that has only 10 players. Hardy spoke with preps Beat Writer Jake Keator after a 3-0 win on senior night about the Chargers season and winning back-to-back conference titles.



October 16, 2018

J.H. Rose put on a performance reminiscent of the beginning of its season with a 55-0 rout of Southern Wayne last Wednesday night. 

The game seemed to be a walk in the park for head coach Dave Wojtecki and Rose (5-2, 2-1), who held a comfortable 42-0 lead at halftime.

The Rampants switched up…


October 13, 2018

After winning yet another local volleyball showdown against fellow powerhouse South Central on Friday night, D.H. Conley coach Jennifer Gillikin perhaps best summed up her team’s season thus far when asked what she does to help her team avoid a letdown.

“What do you mean by a letdown?…


October 13, 2018

North Johnston kicker Graham Walston spoiled homecoming for the Farmville Central Jaguars on Friday night, kicking a 20-yard field goal as time expired to cap off a furious second half comeback. The Panthers walked away with a 31-29 victory. 

Tied at 29 late in the fourth quarter, FC (2-6, 1-…


October 12, 2018

The weather once again played a factor in the scheduling of high school football games in Pitt County this week. In preparation for the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Michael, J.H. Rose and D.H. Conley both played road games on Wednesday and both teams walked away with wins.

The trip by Ayden-…

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