DURHAM — Southern Durham coach Adrian Jones heard all the preseason whispers: The Spartans were too powerful for 3A football. They would dominate the new Big Eight 3A Conference. They would go undefeated. And so on.
Southern Durham (12-2) did flex its muscle in its first season of 3A football by going undefeated in the conference. Its only losses were to 4A powers Durham Hillside and Scotland County. Those early losses, Jones said, are what helped his team get to where it is now a Friday night semifinal matchup against Wilson Hunt.
It helped us to learn from adversity, said Jones. We expect to go undefeated every year. We prepared ourselves for the (new) conference.
Senior quarterback Kendall Hinton, who has thrown for over 3,400 yards and rushed for more than 1,000, said the players also felt the pressure of living up to high expectations.
We did. We knew we had to prove ourselves, he said. There is a lot of talent in the conference, and we knew we had to be ready every game.
Hinton, who received a scholarship offer from Duke last season, has two wide receivers that are ready every night. N.C. State recruit Maurice Trowell and Derrick Mason have over 1,000 receiving yards. The Spartans also have a solid backfield with West Virginia recruit William Cameron and Jordan Brown combining for over 1,500 rushing yards.
Having three Division I prospects on one team is just unheard of, Hillsborough Orange coach Pat Moser said before last Fridays loss to the Spartans. Ive never had three on one team. They are just a talented team.
Wilson Hunt (12-3) has won nine straight games since losing 15-13 to Wilson Beddingfield.
Hunt upset top-seed Fayetteville Douglas Byrd 20-14 in the quarterfinals. Byrds loss gave Southern Durham the home-field advantage for Fridays 7:30 p.m. game.
Hunt won some tough games this year, and we expect a tough one Friday night, he said. We are very excited about having the game on our field and having the support of the parents and fans.