Loading...
I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Vikings looking for next big wide receiver

080719_gdr_dhcfootball-9.jpg
1 of 2

D.H. Conley players run drills during practice on Aug. 6, 2019.

080719_gdr_dhcfootball-6.jpg
Loading…

By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

At the beginning of the 2018 football season, fans of the D.H. Conley Vikings were left wondering who would replace former star and current East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers. Coach Nate Conner put his trust in then-junior Nick Hamilton, who helped lead the team to a 9-4 record and a 3-A state playoff berth.

The situation is almost identical this year, as another Vikings' star graduated and is with the Pirates.

C.J. Johnson, the 2018 Daily Reflector All-Area Offensive Player of the Year, did it all, leading Conley a year ago in rushing (39 carries, 520 yards, 14 touchdowns) and receiving (77 receptions, 1,701 yards, 23 TDs).

Following Johnson's departure, a large sum of targets became available, meaning that members of this season's DHC receiving corps will have to fight to earn their share of the looks from Hamilton.

"These guys have all been excited about the opportunity to be a part of the receiving corps," Conner said. "They are working really hard. What I'm excited about is that I think we can have a really sound corps all the way across, where last year we had a really dominant and special player. Some other guys did some good things too, but this year I'm looking for it to be very balanced."

Matthew Rostar returns after he was the Vikes' second-leading receiver when he brought in 363 yards on 25 receptions, scoring two touchdowns. Johnson accounted for 57 percent of DHC's receiving yards last season, leaving names like Rostar and fellow senior LaShaun Atchinson at the top of the depth chart to help fill in and create production in their final seasons.

"We have a lot of depth out there at some spots," Conner said. "We have worked hard to get guys out there, create some depth and help keep our guys fresh. Some guys to think of: Rostar coming back, he's been a two-year starter; LaShaun Atchinson has had a great offseason; Chance Brown has really worked hard; Charlie Dees, Khalil Harper, Deshaun Blount, those guys have really worked hard. Trey Robins has also had a really good offseason."

Conner added that his receivers will be multitalented as they have been in the past, also stepping on the field as defensive backs.

"The unique thing about these guys is they play defense," Conner said. "We don't cut them any slack, we expect that these same guys who play receiver are going to play defensive back for us too. It helps them. I think it helps them at receiver and at defensive back as well. They are going to have to turn around and play defense, but they should have good ball skills because of that."

In terms of looking for a definitive leader of the receiving group, Conner will naturally allow whoever aims to take control to do so, even if that leader changes week by week.

"It could be any of those guys that week," he said. "I think we want to be able to be in a situation where we want to take what the defense gives us, if it's one guy that week he needs to step up and take his role and do that. I think the best offenses run that way, you don't have to rely on trying to force something; you take it to where the defense gives it to you and hopefully we can take advantage of that."

Those names and more will be on the field as the explosive Conley offense looks to continue its success while the team attempts to claim the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference title. Conley will participate in scrimmages late this week in preparation for an Aug. 23 opening game in Greenville against Elizabeth City Northeastern.

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

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

High Schools

August 24, 2019

The resolve of defending Eastern Carolina 3A/4A champion South Central showed Friday, as the Falcons mounted a furious two touchdown comeback to edge Greene Central for the second straight year, 29-28.

GC first-year head coach Jay Wilson’s varsity football coaching debut didn’t feature…

082419_gdr_scfootball-1.jpg

August 24, 2019

Wade Jarman made an impression in his first career varsity start Friday night, leading J.H. Rose to a shootout victory over visiting Fike, 38-35.

After leading the entirety of the first half, Rose (1-0) fell behind following an hour-and-45 minute delay due to severe weather. Coming out of the delay…

082419_gdr_rosefootball-19.jpg

August 23, 2019

Pope John Paul II is preparing for its first ever football season.

The Saints will play eight-man football, much like fellow private school Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, and will be coached by the schools athletic director Shaun Murphy.

"Expect a lot of passing and high scoring games,"…

081019_gdr_jp2tour-11.jpg

August 23, 2019

There is a saying that goes, “What’s old is new again.” That statement has come true as “new” Farmville Central head coach Eddie Rhodes returns to the football field as a high school head coach for the first time since 1991. Rhodes, who enters his 39th season as a…

080819_gdr_farmvillecentral-1.jpg

August 23, 2019

As Greg Watford enters his second year leading the rebuild at North Pitt he returns a team that may not have many seniors, but holds plenty of leadership, especially on offense.

The Panthers will have a trio of returning players of various years ready to help quickly bring new players into the fold,…

080919-Alex Espinosa-Johnson

August 23, 2019

For three years J.H. Rose junior Wade Jarman watched as his brother, Grant Charles, led the J.H. Rose varsity football as the quarterback. This year it's Wade's turn.

It will be the third straight season the Jarman name graces the nameplate of the Rampants starting quarterback, and he is prepared…

080219_gdr_jhrfootball-7.jpg

August 23, 2019

For those around Greene Central it was no surprise to hear that Jay Wilson was named as the Rams next head coach. Former head coach Allen Wooten, who led the team to the postseason in each of his six seasons in charge, departed for perennial powerhouse Havelock, leaving the Rams with no leader mid-…

080619_gdr_greenecentral2.jpg

August 23, 2019

Ayden-Grifton head coach Paul Cornwell has built his 15-year legacy with the Chargers around an airtight defense and a physical, punishing ground game. In 2019, he hopes to shake things up, while keeping the game plan the same.

It’s no surprise that the historic football program emulates…

080219_gdr_agfootball-5.jpg

August 23, 2019

Last season D.H. Conley faced the daunting task of replacing a once in a generation talent in now-East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers. While others wondered and speculated as to who would fill the lofty shoes left by Ahlers one man knew from the start who he wanted to step in. That man was…

080719_gdr_dhcfootball-3.jpg

August 23, 2019

North Pitt head football coach Greg Watford spent the majority of his first season in Bethel assessing what tools he had to work with, followed by beginning to enact a total overhaul of the team's culture.

In the process, he watched a seniors fall away, while younger players stepped up looking for…

080919_gdr_npfootball-3.jpg
115 stories in High Schools. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 12
        Next Page»   Last Page»