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PREP SPOTLIGHT: National Signing Day 2019

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AJ Dupree signs a Letter of Intent for North Carolina A&T at Greene Central High School Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.

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Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The majority of high school football players across the country signed their national letters of intent in December, but there were those who wanted to take the extra time to make their decisions.

Wednesday marked the late, and traditional, signing period for those who were ready to announce where they would continue their athletic and academic careers.

D.H. Conley defensive lineman Reed Chandler kicked off the day by making a longtime dream come true, suiting up for Army West Point on the field in 2019.

“This is extremely exciting. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was in seventh grade,” Chandler said. “To have it finally all come together is just awesome.”

Chandler will begin military service following his graduation from West Point. 

Just down the road, J.H. Rose watched as four players also signed commitments to various schools, starting with Ben Harris, the Rampants 6-foot-5 star wide receiver, signing with Charleston Southern. Harris, originally from Charleston, saw the opportunity as a way to return home.

“It’s a blessing to be able to play Division I football,” Harris said. “Not a lot of kids get to experience this, so its a blessing.”

Quarterback Grant Charles Jarman will stay close to home, accepting a preferred walk-on spot with hometown East Carolina.

“This is very special,” Jarman said. “I’ve grown up watching ECU football since I was born. Watching ECU play every Saturday has always been something I loved doing, so going out on the field next year will be a great experience.”

Rampants defensive back and top wrestler Phifer Ozimek signed on the dotted line to play for Campbell. Family ties played a big role in his choice to join the Camels.

“My brother went there, so I grew up going to the games and really liked it,” Ozimek said. “I really liked the coach a lot. After going to the camps, they showed me around and I really liked the facilities.”

The final Rampant to sign was Ethan Bower, who committed to Trinity (Texas).

“I was actually born in Houston, so this is like returning home for me in a way,” Bower said. “Originally, I wasn’t for it, but I went down to Texas and saw the campus, and the coaches were very supportive, and I feel like that’s the best opportunity for me to grow my career as a player and also as a person.”

Greene County and the Greene Central Rams also saw their top player, AJ Dupree, make his choice official, signing with NC A&T. Dupree, who spent time over his four years playing both sides of the ball, will play safety for the Aggies.

“I’m ready to get out there and prove myself and show this is meant to be and I’m meant to play on this stage,” Dupree said. 

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

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High Schools

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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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February 10, 2019

Multiple Pitt County high school wrestling teams competed in regional competitions Friday and Saturday. 

North Pitt led the way in the 2-A East Regional, held at Croatan High School, finishing third out of 25 schools with 118 points.

Raheem Jones finished first at 182 pounds after defeating…

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February 09, 2019

D.H. Conley and J.H. Rose swimming teams wrapped up the 2018-19 season at the 3-A state championship finals held at Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary Friday night.

JHR’s girls squad finished 11th with 78 points, highlighted by Madeline Smith winning the title in the 100 freestyle, finishing…

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February 08, 2019

D.H. Conley’s boys basketball team completed a three-game season sweep of crosstown rival J.H. Rose Friday night, defeating the Rampants 76-56.

The Vikings (13-8, 6-4) saw top production from a trio of seniors, including Jahmois Barnhill (18 points) and CJ Johnson (17 points). Gavin Russell…

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February 08, 2019

Friends and family of four South Central athletes packed the school’s media center Thursday afternoon to watch as they announced their college choices.

Falcons football players Markell Gibbs and Myles White, softball and basketball teammates Amaya Evans and Marissa Roach and volleyball…

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