On third-and-12, ahead 12-6, and the Eagles driving in the fourth quarter, Wilmoth took a pitch from Brett Boyles and headed for the first down marker.
He was hit about five yards past the line of scrimmage, shook the tackler and pressed on. Wilmoth was hit again just a few yards later, only this time he bulled his way through two North Wilkes defenders and across the first down line, all but securing Central’s first win of the season.
It was dirty, it was muddy, but for Dave Wilmoth it was all about “doing what had to be done.”
Wilmoth has apparently “done” something right during his career for the Golden Eagles, as he signed a letter of intent to play football at Lenior-Rhyne Friday.
After talking with Guilford, Emery and Henry, Greensboro College and UNC-Pembroke, Wilmoth settled on the Phoenix.
“It’s a bigger school and I feel like I fit in better down there and I know a few people down there,” Wilmoth said. “They basically said I would come in as an athlete, as a running back or a safety. I would rather play running back than safety but they said they were looking at me for both positions.”
Wilmoth has had a career full of position changes. As a junior he was Mountain Valley All-Conference at the safety position, but as a senior, following the graduation of Brett Boyles, Southern turned to Wilmoth to take the reigns at quarterback.
Wilmoth finished the 2009 season as just the second quarterback under Central’s current coaching staff who threw for and ran for more than 1,000 yards in the same season.
Southern said Wilmoth’s performance against North Wilkes two seasons ago and his ability to transition from defense to the quarterback role are two factors which made him desirable to a program like Lenior-Rhyne.
“That kind of epitomizes his work ethic and his attitude,” Southern said. “You’ve got to be willing to do what needs to be done and that’s one thing with Dave. As a junior he played defense all the time and offense as much as we could. This year it reversed. He was all-conference at safety as a junior and didn’t get to play more than 20 plays on defense as a senior, but we needed him at quarterback and he stepped up and was big on that side of the ball.”
Wilmoth said he thinks he can bring determination and a level head to any football program.
“Being a smart player, knowing my role with whatever they want me to do,” Wilmoth said of his assets. “Taking it head on. I am going to do whatever they need me to do. If I redshirt next year, I’m not sure if I will, but if I do, hopefully I can help the team do better things the next few years.”
Wilmoth’s parents said they were obviously proud of their son for being able to extend his playing days into college and for having the motivation to reach a plain which would attract interest from the next level.
“I’m glad he has the opportunity because that’s what he wanted to do,” Barry Wilmoth said. “We told him, ‘Don’t do it for anybody else but you,’ because it’s going to take a big commitment. Any time you see your kid do something he wants to, it makes you happy.”
“I think it’s an absolutely awesome thing to work that hard and then be able to go to college play a sport,” Anne Wilmoth said. “Not every student gets that chance and I hope he will make a good opportunity for both football and the academics.”
While Wilmoth said he thinks his versatility is a strong suit, Southern said he knows another reason why any college coach would like to have Dave Wilmoth on his squad.
“Like his mom and dad said, he’s a good kid,” Southern said. “He works to achieve things. At the college level coaches want good athletes but they also want kids who will be good students and good citizens, because they know they can count on them. Hopefully Dave will go down there with the same work ethic and they will realize that eventually they are going to have to find him a place on the field because he’s good enough to do it.”