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Knightdale's Tomminique Crank, middle, is taken down in the back field by South Central's Tylando Pinckney, bottom, and Phillip Chen during their game on Nov. 17, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, September 20, 2018

One of the strongest points of the South Central football defense is its defensive line. Senior Phillip Chen is one of the anchors along that line, using his speed and power to make offensive linemen regret ever lining up against him. Reflector prep sports beat writer Jake Keator spoke with Chen about football and what it is like being a student-athlete. 

Q: How did you get started playing football?

A: “I started when I was real young because my dad wanted me to. I was probably about eight. I remember when I signed up the lady asked if I wanted to play flag or tackle and I picked tackle and have loved it ever since.”

Q: Are you strictly an interior defensive lineman or can you move to defensive end? 

A: “I can play wherever coach wants me to play. Sometimes they want me to play inside where I can use my speed to beat centers and guards, and other times I can go outside.”

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

A: “Hitting the quarterback. It feels so good to go out and beat somebody and just hit them. You can’t hit the quarterback any other time, so it feels good. You can use anything that may be making you angry and just take it out by getting to the quarterback.”

Q: Alongside you on the line is Jeremy Lewis and others. What is the defensive line like as a group?

A: “Jeremy is like my brother. I am over at his house every weekend and he is over at my house every weekend. Our families are really close. We also got Percy (Edwards). We’ve been playing together since rec ball. I’ve been with Kendrick (Britton) since we started playing together at A.G. Cox (Middle School). They are all like my brothers.”

Q: You guys have a big game against J.H. Rose this week. Is there anything different at practice or is it business as usual?

A: “We’re getting ready like any other game. Coach is telling us to work hard and be prepared. If we aren't prepared than we could be beaten by a team as good or not as good as us. We just have to stick together through adversity. We know there will be some adversity but we have to stick together.”

Q: Have you thought about where you are going to go to college?

A: “I have some interest letters, but I haven't made my choice just yet. 

Q: What is your dream school as a player?

A: “Every time I think about it I want to stay home. I want to be able to be with my family and my boys. It’s probably ECU. You put me, Jeremy and Keziah (Everrett) together and its gonna be really tough to stop us.”

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes who want to succeed?

A: “I’d tell them, ‘Keep your head up.’ You have to do the right thing and stay out of trouble. It’s also important to get good grades and keep a good mindset. Coaches love guys who are good in the classroom, take care of business on the field and stay out of trouble.”

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


Humans of Greenville


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

High Schools

December 13, 2018

North Pitt junior wrestler Antonio Betancourt has shown promise as part of the Panthers squad. NP is coming off two wins at a tri-meet involving Eastern Wayne and Tarboro. Betancourt spoke with preps beat writer Jake Keator about the sport of wrestling and how he prepares for his matches. 



December 12, 2018

South Central remained undefeated on the basketball season after a big win over Bertie High School, 84-34, on Wednesday night in Winterville.

The game was pretty much in hand in the first quarter of the game due to the fast pace of the Falcons. They led 30-3 after the first period and…


December 12, 2018

North Pitt wrestling took home first place Tuesday night, topping Eastern Wayne and Tarboro in a tri-meet in Bethel.

The meet was originally scheduled to also include Nash Central. The Bulldogs were unable to attend due to not being in school on Tuesday.

The Panthers made easy work of the Warriors,…


December 08, 2018

Farmville Central’s boys’ basketball team defeated Greene Central for the second time this season, winning 72-64 in Snow Hill on Friday night.

The Jaguars (6-0) were led by a sensational performance by Terquavion Smith, who finished with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Justin…


December 07, 2018

Pitt County East Carolina football recruits Jeremy Lewis of South Central and CJ Johnson of D.H. Conley doubled down on their commitments following the arrival of new head coach Mike Houston this week.

Attempts to reach Farmville Central’s Keziah Everett for comment were unsuccessful.



December 06, 2018

This time, Farmville Central wasted little time exerting its will.

The Jaguars started fast and never looked back in an 87-44 win over North Lenoir Wednesday. One day after needing a late run to defeat Ayden-Grifton 91-78, Farmville Central (5-0) led for all but the first 1:20 of the contest.


120518-FC basketball

December 06, 2018

South Central boys basketball took down Greene Central once again Wednesday night, earning an 80-41 victory. 

It was the second meeting of the young season for these two teams, with the Falcons also taking the win on the road, 92-61 on Nov. 27. 

The Falcons were once again led by North…


December 06, 2018

It’s not uncommon for students at John Paul II Catholic High School to congratulate 6-foot-4 junior guard Jordan Yarrell on a great performance. The leader of the Saints is a true utility player, working on becoming even more of a leader of the small squad. Athletic Director Sean Murphy…

120618-Jordan Yarrell

December 05, 2018

Farmville Central’s boys basketball team won the first round of its series with rival Ayden-Grifton Tuesday night, 91-78 in Littlefield. 

The Jaguars were led by their backcourt duo of Terquavion Smith (24 points) and Justin Wright (23 points). Dyquavis Wilkins also had a strong outing,…


December 01, 2018

The Farmville Central Jaguars maintained their perfect record and netted Larry Williford’s 300th-career win in the process after defeating Greene Central, 65-45, on Friday night in high school basketball action. 

The Jags were led by their dynamic backcourt duo of Terquavion Smith and…

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