DOBSON — The Golden Eagles return both quarterbacks and both middle linebackers, but have plenty of spots up for grabs in 2014.
With all respect to the rising JV players, the biggest change for Surry Central this season might be the upgrading of the stadium.
The Eagles have a new, vastly bigger press box, new steps and handrails and a paved walkway up to a handicap ramp.
The safety and handicap improvements came from the county, but almost all of the money for the press box came from boosters, according to head coach Monty Southern.
Alex Martin and Kirk Needham split time at quarterback until Needham went down with an injury in 2013. In order to have both playmakers on the field at the same time, Southern said Martin would spend much of his time at running back.
“Kirk did a really good job at quarterback when he was in there,” said Southern.”He has the ability to make a play when you really don’t see anything there.”
“Alex has a good combination of speed and power,” the coach said. “I think they will enjoy being side by side instead of being subbed out for one another.”
Since the two are the starting safeties on defense, too, Southern will need to spell them on offense.
Chandler Johnson is a sophomore who was the JV quarterback as a freshman. He will get some reps at running back and QB.
Robert Moser, a senior, will see time in the backfield.
The other running back spot, A back, doesn’t have a front runner at this time and could be handled by committee.
Southern named five players who are versatile and could contribute both at the A back spot and on defense. They are junior Tyler Daniels, sophomores Noah Wilmoth and Riley Dockery, freshman Martin Palacios and junior Alek Fargis.
Two receivers are back on the outside in Andrew Hegler and Andrew Mills.
The split ends in this offense don’t get a lot of catches, but they are counted on in the run game to occupy the defensive back, said the coach.
Jed Kidd had a good freshman year on JV and could spell the starters once he recovers from a nagging hip injury.
At tight end, senior Stephen Bruner is a big target and strong support for the run game. He is backed up by a junior transfer from South Carolina, Nathan Prewitt.
On the offensive line, the Eagles return three starters in Zack Martin, Kaleb Dunn and Austin Peele. David Pena played primarily on defense last year, but will see time on both lines this year.
That leaves one wide-open slot with four kids gunning for it, said Southern.
Pena, who also wrestles, is just a sophomore, but the biggest player on the team at 260 pounds. On the defensive side, he will play over the center at nose tackle.
That’s the start of a solid group right up the middle, the coach said. Behind Pena the two inside linebackers are Bruner and Martin, who were first and second on the team in tackles.
Bruner, at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, led the defense and had double-digit tackles in most of the games last year. Martin was second in tackles.
Both of those guys were disappointed not to make the first team for all-conference. They were both honorable mentions, but want to get the higher honor this year.
Behind the middle linebackers are safeties Needham and Martin.
Martin was the team’s lone player on first team all-conference for his defensive play. He was third on the team in tackles.
“Alex is always in the right place,” said Southern. “When he gets his hands on you, you’ll go down. It’s rare he misses a tackle.”
When they need a break, the first substitute in will be Noah Wilmoth.
Noah is physically gifted, but he still has some knowledge of the game — and Central’s defense — to learn, according to the coach.
On the corners, the freshman Palacios will take one side.
Southern said he knows it’s asking a lot of a ninth-grader to be out on an island, but Martin is a competitor who hates to lose.
Daniels would be seeing some time on the other corner, but he is nursing a strained hamstring and has been relegated to watching. Kidd also will get some time there once he is healthy, too.
Another player that could help at the position is one of two seniors who came out for football for the first time.
Aaron Huffman has a smaller frame like Needham, but is athletic and could help at split end and corner.
Aaron Poindexter is a powerful young man who has performed well in some weightlifting challenges in the past. He joined the wrestling team as a junior and could provide depth at offensive line and linebacker.
They aren’t up to speed on the football terminology, but both are athletic and will work their way into playing time, said the coach.
At outside linebacker, Austin Peele and Riley Dockery should see plenty of time.
Austin didn’t start last year, but saw plenty of snaps, Southern said. He showed good timing on stunts and was a disruption to offenses.
Dockery had a good offseason and seems to have a grasp of what the coaches want from him. He is still developing physically into the role.
Defensive end is a position that is still up for competition.
On special teams, soccer standouts Jose Avalos and Uriel Secundino return as kickers, providing experience and strong legs.
The Eagles open at rival East Surry, then debut the new press box at home against East Wilkes.
Southern said the Western Piedmont Conference looks like it will be tough again this year with Carver, West Stokes, North Surry, South Stokes and Forbush on the schedule.
Surry Central Roster
Number Name Height Weight Year Position
2 Martin Palacios 5’5 140 9 AB/DB
3 Chandler Johnson 5’8 155 10 QB/LB
4 Kirk Needham 5’9 150 11 QB/DB
5 Eric Ramirez 5’7 160 10 BB/LB
6 Andrew Mills 6’2 175 12 SE/DB
7 Alek Fargis 5’10 155 11 AB/DB
9 Uriel Secundino 5’6 155 12 K
11 Jed Kidd 5’11 170 10 SE/DB
15 Riley Dockery 5’11 165 10 AB/LB
16 Alex Martin 5’10 200 12 BB/DB
17 Robert Moser 5’9 185 12 BB/LB
19 Garrett Johnson 5’5 130 11 SE/DB
22 Colin Hardy 5’8 145 11 SE/DB
32 Noah Wilmoth 5’11 160 10 AB/DB
34 Chase Boone 5’10 180 10 TE/DB
40 Nathan Prewitt 6’0 175 11 TE/LB
42 Stephen Bruner 6’3 205 12 TE/LB
44 Tyler Daniels 5’7 150 11 AB/DB
50 Chase Mosley
51 David Pena
52 Austin Peele 5’11 180 12 OL/LB
53 Josh Holyfield 5’10 215 11 OL/DL
55 Aaron Poindexter 6’2 210 12 OL/LB
56 Kaleb Dunn 6’0 215 10 OL/DL
57 Sebastian Campbell 5’10 165 12 OL/LB
58 Tyler Samson 5’10 205 11 OL/DL
62 Zack Martin 5’10 195 12 OL/LB
66 Cameron Stanley 5’10 205 11 OL/DL
81 Aaron Huffman 5’11 155 12 SE/DB
82 Jose Avalos 5’5 130 12 K
84 Colt Lane 6’9 195 12 OL/DL
85 Andrew Hegler 5’8 145 12 SE/DB
Head Coach: Monty Southern
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Snow
Line Coach: Stephen Priddy
Running Backs: Wes Evans
Split Ends: Seth Reece