Wakefield quarterback Connor Mitch is top star in Triangle

tstevens@newsobserver.comAugust 17, 2012 

  • High school football preseason predictions Player of the year: Connor Mitch, Wakefield quarterback. Underclassman of the year: Braxton Berrios, junior, Leesville Road (although who knows where he’ll line up). Best conference race: Cap 8 4A, where Wakefield, Wake Forest-Rolesville and Leesville Road are expected to battle again for supremacy. Regular-season games to watch: Wakefield at Leesville, Sept. 28; Southern Durham at Hillside, Sept. 14. Most likely to play in the finals: Defending eight-man champion Word of God. Biggest surprise: Knightdale. All that team speed could lead to a playoff spot. Key transfer: Running back Rahiem Hines-Miller from Leesville Road to Garner. Coach of the year: Gary Fowler, Clayton. First-year coach of the year: Rod Sink, Wakefield. Most likely to set a state record: Mitch for passing yards in a game. He already holds the record with 605 yards in a 67-58 loss to Leesville Road last year, but he could go for more this season. First week revelation: Middle Creek at Northern Durham. The guess is that Northern coach Gary Merrill may pull some surprises this season. Top newcomer: Bryce Love, Wake Forest-Rolesville Under the radar team: Millbrook
  • Preseason All-Metro football team Offense WR: Jordan Fieulleteau, Wakefield, Sr., 6-3, 205 UNC recruit. Caught 85 passes for 1,178 yards OL: Mike Sutton, Panther Creek, Sr., 6-2, 300 Earned statewide reputation during off-season combines OL: Chris Southerland, Smithfield-Selma, Sr., 6-6, 295 A pillar for Spartans to build offense around OL: Anthony Galavotti, Garner, Sr., 6-2, 245 Key blocker for Trojans, who rushed for 5,050 yards in 2011 OL: Jalen Peterkin, Southern Durham, Sr., 6-2, 285 pounds Spartans are led by offensive line and Peterkin leads the line OL: Jesse Brewer, Erwin Triton, 6-5, 270 Dominating blocker on club that rushed for 317 yards per game TE: Tim Thorb, Garner, Sr., 6-2, 240 Versatile blocker, receiver during 15-1 season last year QB: Connor Mitch, Wakefield, Sr., 6-4, 218 South Carolina recruit; passed for 3,832 yards and 48 touchdowns RB: Khris Francis, Durham Hillside, Sr., 5-9, 181 UNC recruit, rushed for 2,260 yards and scored 31 touchdowns RB: Josh Bailey, South Granville, Sr., 6-4, 195 Ran for 1,784 yards and was league player of the year WR: Corey Cooper, Millbrook, 6-0, 180 Louisville recruit. Attracted national recruiting attention Defense DL: Brian James, Chapel Hill, Sr., 6-1, 230 Recorded 21 sacks during 10-3 season DL: Austin Jacobs, Cleveland, Sr., 6-4, 240 Eastern Carolina 3A defensive player of the year DL: Nick Carroll, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr., 6-5, 255 Key defender for Crusaders LB: Daniel Riddle, Athens Drive, Sr., 6-1, 197 Recorded 157 tackles with four sacks LB : Jourden Blackmon, Pittsboro Northwood, 6-0, 200 Set school record with 183 tackles LB : Jonathan Alston, Bunn, Sr., 6-3, 197 Versatile athlete is attracting national recruiting attention LB : Blake Williams, Wake Forest-Rolesville, Sr., 5-11, 200 Averaged 9 tackles per game DB: Garrett Suggs, Fuquay-Varina, Sr., 5-11, 170 N.C. State baseball recruit; 15 career interceptions DB: Korrin Wiggins, Durham Hillside, Sr., 6-1, 185 UNC recruit, ranks among the top players in North Carolina DB : Alex Duncan, Chapel Hill, Sr., 5-11, 165 Invited to U.S. Army Combine in San Diego DB : Braxton Berrios, Leesville Road, Jr., 5-10, 173 Ranked among the top junior football athletes in the country (Compiled by Tim Stevens and The N&O community sports editors)

A year ago the eyes of the region were on Millbrook High running back Keith Marshall, whom some college recruiting analysts ranked as the top runner in the country.

Marshall is now at the University of Georgia, and the torch has been passed to Wakefield’s Connor Mitch, a strong-armed quarterback who threw for 3,832 yards and 48 touchdowns during the Wolverines’ 9-3 season in 2011.

Mitch has passed for 7,624 career yards and is 10th on the state’s all-time list. He has a chance to become the third player with more than 10,000 career yards. Chris Leak of Charlotte Independence (1999-2002) is out of reach with 15,593 yards, but Mitch possibly can overtake Burlington Cummings’ Ernest Tinnin, who had 10,836 yards (1990-1993).

Broughton’s Daniel Evans (2001-2003) is third with 9,899 yards.

The guess is that Mitch will overtake Tinnin this season and lead Wakefield deeper in the state playoffs after exiting in the first round last season.

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