Sunday, July 31, 2011

The 2011 Preseason Sweet 16 Football Poll: No. 16

NOTE: Each day, the Observer will unveil a team ranked in its Sweet 16 football poll. We begin today with No. 16, Albemarle. Monday (Aug. 1) at 3 p.m, the No. 15 team will be unveiled and each day at 3 p.m. a new team will follow.

By Brett Honeycutt

Despite a team that returns less than half of its starters, Albemarle should still be in the hunt to win its sixth state title in 11 seasons and opens this year as No. 16 in the Observer's Sweet 16.

"We're going to be a lot younger and inexperienced," said Albemarle coach Danny Akins, whose team won its second straight 1AA state championship last season but will be without quarterback Nat Dunlap, who was the MVP of the state championship game after passing for three touchdowns.

Graduation left only six returnees on offense and four on defense, but those returning are quality players, including several who missed portions of last season because of injury.

Returning are Desi Dockery, who led the team in receiving and had two touchdown catches in the state championship game, fullback Trenton Stanback, and outside linebacker Freddie Parker, the defensive MVP of the N.C. 1AA championship game and winner of the 100 meters at the N.C. 1A track championships, will lead the Bulldogs.

Also returning are Hunter Williams and Yakeem Carpenter, who missed most of last season with injuries.

Williams, a wide receiver, missed most of the season with a broken collarbone, and Carpenter, a senior defensive tackle, is back after getting hurt early in the season and returning the last game of the regular season.

ALBEMARLE: A quick look
Last year: 12-4, 5-2 Yadkin Valley (N.C. 1AA state champions)
What's new: Coach Danny Akins will have to replace more than half the defense, but the key is the offense, which has six returning from a team that averaged 39.3 points per game in its last nine games.
Three to watch:
WR Desi Dockery (5-8, 160), Sr. Leading receiver for an explosive offense.
OLB Freddie Parker (6-0, 190), Sr. Was defensive MVP in state championship game and won the 100 meters at 1A state track championships in May.
FB Trenton Stanback (5-11, 190), Sr. Stanback will be looked at to help lead a stout running attack.
Bet you didn't know: Parker was the first ever boy from the school to win the 100 meters at the state championships and only eighth ever to win a state championship in track.
Preview analysis: Forfeited three games last season, but ended with a nine-game winning streak including the Bulldogs' second straight 1AA state title. Despite the adversity, the resilience shown last season should help Albemarle challenge again. 
Schedule: Aug.: 19, West Stokes; 26, West Stanly; Sept. 2, at North Stanly; Sept.: 9, at Mt. Pleasant; 16, at Chatham Central; 23, West Montgomery; 30 at South Davidson; Oct.: 7, North Rowan; 14, at East Montgomery; 21, North Moore; 28, South Stanly.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Former Butler girls basketball coach at Southern Illinois

Former Butler girls basketball coach Stephanie Butler is now an assistant with Southern Illinois. Butler led the Bulldogs to a 121-26 record from 2006-10 and won the 2010 N.C. 4A state title. She was fired by CMS over recruiting violations in the spring of 2010.

Butler has previous coacing experience. She served as the recruiting coordinator and assistant camp director at Division II Lander University for one season after serving two seasons as the assistant women’s basketball coach and camp director at Division I Presbyterian College.

She also coached at three S.C. high schools -- Gaffney, Byrnes and Westside -- after a successful playing career at Southern Wesleyan, where she was a four-year starter and two-year captain.

“Stephanie is a championship level coach. She is a tireless worker and is willing to work to help make our program successful,” Southern Illinois women’s basketball coach Missy Tiber said. “Her many years of experience in coaching young women both at the high school and college level will be a tremendous asset to our program. Stephanie has many connections in the south that will assist in our recruiting and she is widely known as an excellent floor coach.”

West Meck names James Veal as new boys basketball coach

Former West Mecklenburg assistant James Veal Sr. is the Hawks new boys basketball coach.
Veal, whose son played at the school, replaces Donald Kirby, who left to take the head job at Butler High. Veal was an assistant under Kirby at West Meck for six years.
"Coach Veal has been an integral part of the success of the West Meck Varsity Boys Basketball Program in recent years," West Meck principal Eric Ward said. "As head (junior varsity) coach, his nearly unstoppable teams have served as the perfect feeder to the varsity program. His proven success and dedication to our students made him the logical choice for the job." 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

West Caldwell names new AD, boys basketball coach

Stephen McMasters is the new athletics director at West Caldwell High and Hank Newson is the new boys basketball coach.

McMasters, a 1994 West Caldwell grad, returned to the school in 1999 after graduating from Appalachian State. He's been a drafting teacher and coached girls basketball and was an assistant football and boys basketball coach. He's entering his third season as West Caldwell's boys and girls cross-country coach.

Newton has taught and coached at West Caldwell since 2004 and has been a basketball assistant since 2005. He is a Pennsylvania native.
Newton replaces Danny Anderson, who resigned as basketball coach in May. Anderson, also the school's athletic director, will vacate that post on Aug. 1.

Anderson coached for 29 years and won 582 games. He was 431-109 in 19 seasons at West Caldwell and once led his team to an 80-game conference win streak.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

David Johnson is new Hopewell football coach

Hopewell announced the hiring of David Johnson as its new head football coach.

Johnson comes to Hopewell from Phillip O. Berry Academy, where he has served as the offensive coordinator for the past three years. Johnson graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport, where he played college football.

He has experience working as an assistant coach in New York for the Central New York Express of the New York Amateur Football League, where in 2004 Johnson was part of the coaching staff that won the Harvest Bowl National Championship.

Johnson replaces Chris Rust, who retired this past winter, at the helm of the Titan program.

-Sergio Tovar