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Jags ready to pounce

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Farmville Central High School football players watch the ball after Zander Gardner kicks a field goal during practice Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Like many of the county’s high school football teams, Farmville Central is back in action this week with summer workouts, and the Jaguars are looking to rebound after a 5-7 season and a 3-3 mark in conference play.

“We are looking good. We have a lot of talented ball players and a lot of athletes,” head coach Scott Gardner said Tuesday during the team’s practice. “I’m excited for the season. There’s gonna be some good football played over here.”

The Jags got off to a rough start, losing their season opener to Kinston on Aug. 8, 27-22. They turned their luck around just after, coming up with wins against North Lenoir (41-16) and Princeton (41-12). They then lost to  Ayden-Grifton, 21-7. Their record sat at 3-3 after splitting two games as part of the “Touchdown against Cancer” series. They added a win against rival Greene Central, 24-20, and took a loss against West Carteret, 34-19, in that series.

The Jags’ season continued to be up and down, with FC earning a 2-3 record over the course of their remainder of the regular season. That included a disappointing close after an exit in the first round of the state playoffs in a loss to Beddingfield, 23-12. 

This year’s team features current three-star 6-foot-2, 329-pound lineman recruit Keziah Everett. A junior defensive end, Everett currently has scholarship offers from East Carolina, UNC, Campbell, Appalachian State, Duke, South Carolina and Virginia, making him one of the more touted recruits in eastern North Carolina. 

Everett is a force on the outside of an already large defensive line, featuring a mix of power and speed moves to blow by offensive lineman. When needed, Everett can also transition to the offense, playing tight end or transitioning into a power halfback role. 

Gardner looks forward to having his full team together with multiple lineman on both sides of the ball who are over 320 pounds apiece.

“They are some big guys. They are also really athletic. It’s gonna be nice when we get them all back,” Gardner said.

The Jags offense relies on the speed and athleticism of the team, which FC is not short on in either category. FC threw for only 669 yards and eight passing touchdowns last season. On the rushing front, the Jags picked up 2,731 yards and 29 rushing TD’s.

Farmville will work with two quarterbacks during the summer, and could possibly run with multiple quarterbacks by the start of the regular season.

The Jags once again begin their season with a matchup with Kinston on Aug. 17, followed by a game with North Lenoir on Aug. 24. They then hit the road for a game with Princeton on Aug. 30 and a Sept. 9 rematch with Ayden-Grifton.

Fans should be sure to circle the Sept. 14 showdown with rival Greene Central as the first of a four-game homestand. West Carteret, Nash Central and North Johnston will also visit the Jaguars in consecutive weeks. Southwest Edgecombe will then host the Jags on Oct. 19. They will host Beddingfield Oct. 26, and will round out their regular season on Nov. 2 with a trip to North Pitt. 

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on twitter.

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