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PIGSKIN PREVIEW: Players to watch

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Ayden-Grifton's Micheal Webb, center, runs the ball during their game against Farmville Central on Sept. 8, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, August 17, 2018


Micheal Webb


Running back/cornerback

* Webb has received preseason praise from head coach Paul Cornwell for his work ethic as the Chargers look to build on last season’s even 6-6 record in the Eastern Carolina 2-A Conference.

* He should see an increase in touches in the Ayden-Grifton run game as a junior, looking to utilize his speed to outrun defenders and become the team’s mainstay rusher for the next two seasons.

* Webb has shown the ability to not only terrorize defenses as a tailback, but he also has the skills to track balls through the air in the secondary and create big plays while playing cornerback.


D.H. Conley

CJ Johnson


Wide receiver

As a junior, Johnson totaled 31 total touchdowns and 1,547 yards on 68 receptions, outpacing Conley’s second-leading receiver by 808 yards (Jaquavion Bridges, 739 yards).

Johnson averaged 119 receiving yards per game as a junior in 2017. Bridges held second in the category at a distant 61.6 yards per game.

Johnson committed to East Carolina University on May 17. He joined a trend that saw many other local prospects commit to the Pirate program and will join former teammate and QB Holton Ahlers when he becomes a Pirate.


Farmville Central

Keziah Everett


Defensive end

* At 315 pounds, Everett is the anchor of the Jaguars’ defense, forcing his way into opposing backfields and serving as a constant threat to alter passes and opposing running attacks.

* Everett’s talents also landed him with the East Carolina football program as, like Johnson, he announced during the offseason he will stay in Pitt County, picking ECU over a host of other interested schools.

* The defensive end will be the leader of the Jaguars in 2018. While not very vocal, his presence is one of a leader and one the team rallies around, and his presence will require game-planning by opponents.


J.H. Rose

Ben Harris


Wide receiver

* On a Rose team that finished 3-8 and missed the playoffs, Harris nonetheless stood out as the only Rampants receiver to top 1,000 yards in 2017, finishing with 1,054.

* As a junior, Harris found the end zone 12 times, also a team high. His 1,000-yard campaign was built on consistency; he averaged 105 yards per game.

* The 6-foot-4 Harris will form a formidable pairing with fellow outside receiver Wesley Shade, also 6-4, and the Rampants could utilize their length to help create big plays.


North Pitt

Keyshon Cox


Wide receiver/safety

* Perhaps the most versatile and busy player on the field no matter who has the ball or what the situation, the multi-talented Cox will act as a key receiver on offense, a safety on defense and will even be the Panthers’ punter.

* Cox is one of the tallest players on the Panthers, listed at 6-foot-1, giving him an advantage both in battling coverage to make big catches on offense, but also to help erase opponent receivers on defense.

* At Panthers practices, it is Cox who has become the vocal leader for the team, leading the unit from the front during drills and conditioning this preseason.


South Central

Jeremy Lewis


Defensive end/wide receiver

* As a junior, Lewis accounted for 55 total tackles, including 20 solo stops and 35 assisted, to help the Falcons’ defense complement their offense and form a playoff team.

* The edge pressure created by Lewis’ combination of speed and power helped to lead the Falcons defense, and he recorded a team-high four sacks for a total net loss of 41 yards.

Lewis joined other high profile-recruits in committing to East Carolina during the offseason, joining Everett, Johnson and recent commit Traveon Freshwater (Elizabeth City Northeastern) as members of a loaded ECU 2019 class.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

February 20, 2019

With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Eastern Wayne’s Wesley Case drew a foul and stepped to the line with his team down just one, 52-51, on Tuesday night. Case hit both of his free throws to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, 53-52, with 1:31 to go.

Case’s free…


February 18, 2019

North Pitt head girls basketball coach William Knight preached focus ahead of his squad’s opener to the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference tournament Monday night against Nash Central. 

The message was well received, as the Panthers dominated in a 73-42 victory. 

NP was led by the trio…


February 18, 2019

Farmville Central head basketball coach Larry Williford announced Monday morning that star sophomore shooting guard Terquavion Smith had officially given his verbal commitment to N.C. State.

“He went to N.C. State’s team camp last summer and that’s where they identified him,…


February 17, 2019

GREENSBORO — With the high school wrestling season officially in the books following Saturday night’s state finals, coaches are beginning to reflect on their seasons and plan ahead for next year. 

The North Pitt Panthers captured a Pitt County championship and 2-A Eastern…


February 16, 2019

GREENSBORO — After two days of intense competition leading up to Saturday night, Ayden-Grifton senior wrestler Ray Darden brought home the state championship crown at 195 pounds during 2-A action at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Darden defeated Will Frady of Smoky Mountain via a 3-2…

021619-Darden Champion

February 16, 2019

With 5:30 left in the fourth quarter on Friday, Ayden-Grifton looked to capitalize on its furious second-half comeback and take its first lead of the night against Greene Central on senior night. 

A quick bucket in transition from Josh Wright tied the game at 46, but a pass between the legs of…


February 14, 2019

South Central boys’ basketball coach Chris Cherry picked up his 450th career win and the Falcons finished their regular season strong, winning 71-26 on senior night against D.H. Conley. The Falcons got off to a hot start, led by North Carolina commit Day’Ron Sharpe getting a putback…


February 14, 2019

Farmville Central senior big man Dyquavis Wilkins is nearing the end of his high school basketball career, with just a trip to the playoffs left between him and graduation. Wilkins spoke with preps beat writer Jake Keator about his time with the Jaguars and his future.

Q: How did you get started in…


February 13, 2019

South Central cruised to its 12th straight victory in front of a packed crowd, and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, defeating C.B. Aycock, 56-25.

Williams visited Winterville to check in on commit and Falcons superstar forward Day’Ron Sharpe. 

“Coach Williams is a great man,…


February 13, 2019

College signings continued at J.H. Rose on Tuesday morning, as four more athletes across three sports confirmed where they will be heading to play at the next level.

Former Rose football captain David Sawyer Jr. announced he would sign with Columbia University (N.Y.). The prestigious Ivy League…

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