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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

November 16, 2018

Farmville Central head football coach Scott Gardner announced Friday that he has retired as the head coach of the Jaguars.

Gardner has spent 28 years in coaching, along with the majority of his life, in the Farmville community. 

“I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years,…


November 16, 2018

Ayden-Grifton will take on a familiar foe tonight in the first round of the 2-A East playoffs in Eastern Carolina Conference champion Kinston.

A-G head coach Paul Cornwell is all too familiar with postseason football, and he and his staff also have a good understanding as to how to better attack…


November 16, 2018

South Central entered this season looking to continue its climb to the top. 

Every year under head coach Andy Tew, the program has seen a rise in its win totals. After a 10-win season last year, the Falcons improved to perfection this year in a season that included wins over local rivals J.H.…


November 15, 2018

Nazir Monroe-Smith has seemingly done it all. A 1,000-yard rusher his junior year, Monroe-Smith has moved outside to become part of a threatening core of wide receivers in his final season. Preps beat writer Jake Keator spoke with Monroe-Smith about the Falcons’ undefeated season and how he…


November 13, 2018

Pitt County high school football teams finished a perfect 4-0 in the final week of the regular season, while Greene Central almost pulled out an upset of 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference champion Kinston.

Ayden-Grifton (7-4, 4-2) put up another strong outing, shutting out South Lenoir on the road,…

110318JHRfootball-1.jpg (1).jpg

November 10, 2018

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released its brackets Saturday afternoon informing teams of their paths to a state title. 

Ayden-Grifton saw a change in its seeding just before the brackets were finalized. A-G started the day as a 14-seed, scheduled to play South Granville.…


November 10, 2018

The Greene Central Rams looked to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the season against undefeated Kinston, and nearly did. In the end, however, one key play ended any thought of knocking off the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference leader.

Looking at a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line, it seemed…


November 09, 2018

The final week of the high school football regular season is here as local teams, including D.H. Conley (7-3, 5-1), use to make up previously postponed contests during hurricane season. 

The Vikings received some good news Tuesday night, as they learned they will be allowed to continue on into…


November 08, 2018

Ayden-Grifton football brought its regular season to a close on a high note, defeating South Lenoir, 42-0, on Thursday night.

Quarterback Blake McLawhorn threw two touchdown passes on the night, both going to running back JC Darden, who looked much like his older brother, starting running back Ray…


November 08, 2018

Rose forward Tyre Taft had his soccer career at J.H. Rose come to an end Tuesday night after a 1-0 loss to Chapel Hill in the second round of the state playoffs. Taft finished with 17 goals, two assists and 36 points over 39 games played. Taft was a captain and leader of the Rampants on their way…

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