Carrboro would like nothing more than to take that last step up in North Carolina high school football.
The Jaguars have progressed farther each year in the state playoffs since they made their first appearance in 2010. Last year they reached the 2AA state championship game in Carter-Finley Stadium, where the title eluded them in a close 30-27 loss to South Iredell.
“Everyone’s goal every year should be to build on the success of the previous season,” Carrboro senior James Scott said. “We were pretty close to winning it all last year; the only higher goal would be to win the state championship. That’s what everybody’s thinking about.”
Carrboro head coach Jason Tudryn, who’s led the Carrboro program since it started varsity football in 2007, enjoys the enthusiasm of his team and the intensity that comes with that.
He just wants them to remember what it takes to get to a state championship game.
“Since these kids were freshmen, they’ve been on teams that went 8-4, 10-4 and 15-1 … nothing but success,” Tudryn said. “It’s been hard talking with some of the younger guys to get them to understand the hard work that went into all that success.”
Tudryn recalled an impromptu team bowling tournament held during a summer camp at the University of Virginia. “We promised a pizza to the winning four-man team. Those kids were trying their hardest, doing whatever it took to win. You would have thought they were playing for the state championship.”
The coaching staff won the pizza, Tudryn noted.
Carrboro lost 10 lettermen off last year’s 15-1 state finalist squad, and on a 2A team that seems like 20 players because so many played both offense and defense. That included conference lineman of the year Scott Peretin, linebacker/receiver Tabias Sales, and backs Douglas Parrish and Shamek Dolby.
The Jaguars’ priorities include replacing quarterback Alex McVeigh and all-conference kicker Mike McPeak, both of whom graduated.
The Jaguars, with six starters back on offense and six on defense, have plenty of options at quarterback. Tudryn was looking at four different candidates throughout the summer’s 7-on-7 passing games: last year’s No. 2 QB Jonah Mendys; East Chapel Hill transfer Adam Bussian, son of former Duke QB John Bussian; 2012 JV starter Campbell Isom, now a 6-5, 220-pound sophomore; and multifaceted Rowe Mellott, who played on both sides of the ball last season.
“No matter who starts, they’re all too talented to be standing next to me on the sideline on Friday nights,” Tudryn said. “I’ve told every one of them that they’ll play somewhere.”
Carrboro returns at least five starters who could play at the college level: junior running back Trai Sharpe (offers from Purdue and N.C. State); wideout Marlin Johnson (multiple Ivy offers); all-conference linemen Ezavian Dunn and 310-pound Rakim Satterwhite; and Scott, a 6-foot-6 tight end/linebacker.
“We’ve just got to stay healthy,” Tudryn said. “It all comes down to being willing to commit to doing all the hard work, the workouts, lifting weights, watching film. It’s just work and more work.”