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PREP SPOTLIGHT: Ti'Shawn Spence

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Greene Central's AJ Dupree, front, is taken down by North Pitt's Ti'shawn Spence during their game on August 31, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ti’Shawn Spence lives for football. He lives for contact and the feeling of tackling a ball carrier for a loss. He also strives to succeed in the classroom. Preps beat writer Jake Keator spoke with Spence about the feeling of making a big hit and the discussion around the safety of football as a whole.

Q: How did you get started playing football?

A: “I started when I was about eight. I saw my cousins playing and they showed me the game and the NFL. I’ve loved it ever since.”

Q: Have you always been a defensive lineman, or have you played other positions in the past as well?”

A: “I played running back and quarterback when I was younger. Later I put on a few pounds and coaches moved me to the defensive line.”

Q: What’s your favorite part of playing on the line?

A: “Contact.”

Q: What’s the feeling like when you really hit someone hard?

A: “It’s the best feeling, it’s hard to describe. I really feel like I laid the power on this guy, but the important part is to get back and get ready to do it again.”

Q: What has it been like playing for coach (Greg) Watford?

A: “It’s been fantastic. He has been teaching us a lot of new strategies to help get past the offensive line. He also has been working really hard on improving our fundamentals and other skills that will give us a better foundation here at North Pitt.”

Q: What do you say about adults who say that football is too dangerous for kids?

A: “There’s no right or wrong answer to the question. I personally think that you have to teach the fundamentals at an early age. You have some coaches going out there and telling kids to go out and hit. What they don’t know is that (if the hit) is targeting. I understand what they are saying though. This is a dangerous game and there is some risk to playing it.”

Q: What advice would you give to younger players who want to improve their game on the field?

A: “I’d tell them, ‘Practice is hard, but you really have to push yourself.’ A coach told me, ‘Practice what you play. If you practice hard then you’re going to play harder.’ You have to have a strong mindset. There are times where it is going to be hard but you have to push yourself to be better.”

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

CROSS COUNTRY

Conley girls, Aycock boys post wins

Brooke Despress (24:48.29) and Hannah Higgins (24:57.08) claimed fourth and fifth place, respectively, in the girls’ race to help D.H. Conley to a victory in a conference meet staged at Boyd Lee Park on Wednesday.

South Central took second and J.H. Rose fourth.

Also finishing in the top 10 and representing Pitt County were South Central’s Paige Wittenborg (23:21.57) in second place, J.H. Rose’s Corry Eason in third, SC’s Katelyn Lamm in sixth, Rose’s Murphy Fisher in seventh, Conley’s Channing Mitchell in eighth and Rose’s Morgan Owens in ninth.

On the boys’ half, South Central’s Fletcher Bost claimed the top spot in 18:19.66, but C.B. Aycock won the team event followed by Rose, South Central, and D.H. Conley.

Seth McKinney and Kyle Hardee took second and fifth, respectively, for Conley. Rose’s Christian York finished sixth, and teammates Quang and Minh Tran swiped eighth and ninth.

SOCCER

D.H. Conley 3, Eastern Wayne 1

The Vikings scored three goals in the opening half on the road on Tuesday night to secure a comfortable win.

Zack Tucker opened the scoring on a feed from Matt Park, and Tucker struck again before junior captain Cody McLaughlin capped the Conley attack before halftime.

The Vikings traveled to Greene Central on Wednesday.

Epiphany 4, Oakwood 3

Oakwood fell to to 0-3 this season in a loss to Epiphany.

The loss nullified a two-goal match by Ryan Smith, and Solomon Hidalgo added a goal for Oakwood, with assists coming from Jackson Hunt and Gonzalo Insurralde.

VOLLEYBALL

D.H. Conley 3, West Carteret 0

The Vikings are still perfect in volleyball, running their record to 9-0 this season after sweeping West Carteret 25-7, 25-7 and 25-9.

Alexis Desoto had 12 kills, Macy Smith added 10 kills and five digs, Olivia Lefever amassed 19 assists and Kourtney Stone had five digs for Conley.

Parrott Academy 3, Fayetteville Academy 0

Parrott Academy won a quick straight-sets away match tonight with game victories of 25-7, 25-12 and 25-9.

Parrott’s (9-0) faces off with Harrell’s today.

Oakwood 3, Epiphany 0

Oakwood stormed part Epiphany in three straight, 25-10, 25-21 and 25-17 to run its season record to 8-3.

Leading the win were Macey Robinette with seven kills, Sloan Correa with four aces, Kennedy Rhodes with four blocks, Maddy Heins with five digs and Sydney Martin with 13 assists.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Oakwood 6, Epiphany 3

Eliza Wood, Michela Robinette, Knor Ali and Julia Moore all won singles matches to boost Oakwood past Epiphany and run its season record to 3-1.

JV SOCCER

Oakwood 4, Epiphany 3

Oakwood rode Ty Williams’ four-goal onslaught to victory.

Charlie Uveges and Luke Cahill added assists in the win for Oakwood (2-1).

JV VOLLEYBALL

D.H. Conley 2, West Carteret 0

Conley stayed unbeaten, running its record to 9-0 thanks to 25-10 and 25-6 wins against West Carteret.

Ella Philpot and Haley Jackson had five kills each, while Anna Sawyer logged seven assists

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