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Wilson ready for year one

080619-Greene Central

Greene Central Head Football Coach Jay Wilson (center) talks to players at practice Monday.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

First-year head coach Jay Wilson is more than ready to lead the Greene Central Rams into battle this football season.

Following the departure of former head coach Allen Wooten, who left to lead perennial eastern North Carolina power Havelock, Wilson was promoted as the next leader of the Rams after two years as an assistant.

"It has been pretty smooth," Wilson said Monday of the transition to head coach. "Fortunately I had been here prior to it all, it was my second year, so it was real smooth. I knew the guys and they knew me. I had either been their junior varsity coach or their track coach, so I kind of flew in. They knew what to expect from me and I already knew them by face and name. For a couple of the guys, I talked with them and started fixing some things I knew they needed to work on."

Wilson is not the only new face on the sideline, as the team also is replacing former star running back A.J. Dupree. He was a senior last season and committed to playing at North Carolina A&T, which is also Wilson's alma mater.

A new face will also be under center, as last year's starting quarterback, B.J. Corbitt, will be replaced by junior Cole Dawson.

Dawson, who suited up for the Rams' JV team a year ago, has been working through the changes to the next level.

"It's been an adjustment," Wilson said of Dawson. "Cole is a great leader by action. He is learning more about the vocal part of leadership. He is not only the commander of the offense, but of the locker room itself. As always, the starting quarterback is either the most popular or most unpopular man in the locker room depending on how things go. He's working on understanding the pressure and other things that go along with it. That has been an adjustment for him."

Knowledge Branch will be the next man in the backfield up after Dupree's departure. Branch saw action last season and impressed fans and coaches. With an increased role, he should become a major piece of the offense, but like Dawson, the junior is still learning how to become a vocal leader.

"He is another one who is a lead-by-action guy," Wilson said. "That's the role he is going to fill, which is a lot like how A.J. was. A.J. was more about action than a whole bunch of 'rah-rah.' We do have some other guys who are great leaders like Perry Tingen, Debo Pigford, (Quantavious) Horne, Luke (Hoskins), they are guys who will do both, through actions and words at the same time. My seniors have done a really good job of filling that vacuum."

GC opens the season on the road when it travels to face South Central on Aug. 23.

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

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