No. 13: new Triton coach Ashley Ennis may add passing attack to potent running game

tstevens@newsobserver.comAugust 4, 2012 


Triton's Dedrick Stacker (11) slips past South Johnston's Quincey Williams to score his fifth touchdown of the night during the second half half, Friday at Triton High School in Erwin.Triton won 55-9.


  • N&O preseason football rankings (2011 record) 1. Aug. 11 2. Aug. 11 3. Aug. 10 4. Aug. 10 5. Aug. 9 6. Aug. 9 7. Aug. 8 8. Aug. 8 9. Aug. 7 10. Aug. 7 11. Aug. 6 12. Aug. 6 13. Erwin Triton; 10-2 14. West Johnston; 7-4 15. Clayton; 5-7 16. Panther Creek; 8-4 17. Broughton; 5-6 18. Bunn; 9-4 19. Southern Durham; 7-4 20. Knightdale; 4-6

— Triton High’s undefeated domination in the Eastern Carolina 3A Conference a year ago was overshadowed by Cleveland’s remarkable playoff run when the school’s first varsity football team reached the state semifinals.

Triton claimed a 41-28 regular-season win over Cleveland and the Hawks essentially were not challenged in other league games. Coach Joe McCullen’s team looked set for a long playoff run before losing to Cardinal Gibbons, 25-15, in the second round.

“Gibbons did a good job cutting off our outside running game and they were good enough inside that it was tough to get anything going there either,” said new coach Ashley Ennis, who was an assistant at Triton last year. “We had been able to run the ball all year and had built up some pretty big leads and didn’t want to throw the ball.

“Then we found ourselves in a position where we really needed to throw well and we made some mistakes. Gibbons is well coached and just did a tremendous job against us. ”

Most of the players who achieved a 10-2 record in 2011 are back. The club returns players who accounted for 3,400 yards in offense. The Hawks averaged 317 yards rushing, second to Leesville Road, and scored 36.2 points per game. They allowed only 12.2 points per game and held nine teams to less than 20 points.

Leading the veterans is league player of the year Dedrick Stacker (6-foot, 180 pounds), who rambled for 1,603 yards per game and averaged almost 12 yards per carry. Junior fullback Todd Penny added another 499 yards and back Brandon McLean chipped in with 382.

“Stacker is a special player,” Ennis said. “He has really good lower body strength, cuts well and has good vision once he is downfield. He also has breakaway speed (with sub 4.5-second times in the 40.)”

The Hawks will still line up in a Wing-T formation, but Ennis plans to add more passing from a shotgun formation. Quarterback Maurice McBryde threw for 595 yards in the run-first offense that attempted only 49 passes in 2011. McBryde is much improved.

“He was new at quarterback and we had a strong running game,” Ennis said. “We didn’t have to throw the ball a lot. I expect we’ll throw 20-25 passes a game this year.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service