High schools

High school notebook: Knightdale’s Johnson wins NCHSAA POY

May 2, 2014 

  • Previous area players of the year

    Male

    Robert Siler, Siler City Jordan-Matthews (1986-87)

    A.J. Davis, Northern Durham (2001-02)

    Tevin Hester, Granville Central (2011-12)

    Female

    Wendy Palmer, Person (1991-92)

    Jamie Parsons, Millbrook (1993-94)

    Katrelle Armwood, Durham School of Arts (2001-02)

    Gabby Mayo, Southeast Raleigh (2006-07)

Marquavious Johnson of Knightdale helped win seven N.C. High School Athletic Association state track and field team titles, won three individual state track titles, helped set a state record in the 4x400 relay, played on the Knights’ basketball team and is one of the state’s best high school football players.

He added the NCHSAA’s highest honor for an athlete on Thursday when he was named as the male player of the year. West Carteret’s Blake Dodge, one of the nation’s top track and field athletes, won the girls award.

“Winning the award was a surprise,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know about it until right before they announced it. My coach (track coach Chris Miller) asked me to go with him to the meeting. I didn’t know anything about the award.”

Johnson, a 5-foot-11, 166-pound East Carolina football recruit, has won nine state titles as an individual or on relay teams and is expected to add more during the NCHSAA championships on May 17. Johnson is the reigning 400 meters champion and the Knights won the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relays last year.

Johnson earned 14 varsity letters at Knightdale. He helped lead the Knights to a school-record 12-2 finish in football with 18 rushing touchdowns, 11 touchdown passes and three touchdown receptions.

He was a basketball point guard during the winter, but also competed in indoor track, adding his second 500 meters state championship.

His career has amazed him. He planned to play only basketball as a ninth-grader, but agreed to play football because his brother Marcel was playing. Both decided to run track that spring.

“I never imagined anything like this,” he said. “It shows that sometimes hard work pays off. I have been blessed. I have to give glory to God.”

Dodge holds the NCHSAA 3A record in the 800 and 1,600 meter runs and has won 14 individual state championships in cross country and track and field. She is the three-time most valuable performer in 3A outdoor track and is expected to contend for a fourth on May 16.

Coaching clinic: A new NCAA rule prevents current Division I football coaches from attending high school all-star games or any of the activities associated with the games.

That means that for the first time in decades the N.C. Coaches Association will not have an active Division I college coach and his staff at the annual summer clinic. The clinic historically has been an opportunity to high school coaches to meet and talk with college coaches.

NCCA games director Mac Morris is bringing in former Auburn coach Gene Chizik and former East Carolina coach Steve Logan to lead the clinic this year.

Running clock: The NCHSAA’s new mercy rule, which requires a running clock when a football team has a 42-point lead in the second half or a 40-point lead in basketball in the second half, certainly won’t prevent lopsided scores.

Running clocks, which generally don’t stop except for timeouts, just speeds the game along. Running clocks were used in a lot of last year’s most lopsided games.

The rule removes the onus of a coach having to ask the other coach to run the clock. Once a game begins using a running clock, the running clock will stay in effect regardless of the score. The coaches can agree to stop the game.

Bengals tie HR mark: The Fuquay-Varina softball team tied the NCHSAA record for consecutive home runs when Logan Bowling, Brianna Smith and Hayden Parker hit homers to lead off the fourth inning in a 21-1 victory over Cary.

The Bengals belted seven home runs in the game, which ties for second in the N.C. record book behind eight by North Surry in a game against Hibriten in 2004.

Bowling opened the barrage with a grand slam in the second inning. Smith followed with a homer.

Kelsey Ward hit home runs in the third and fourth innings. She also had a home run in Fuquay’s previous school-record six home run game in 2011 against Panther Creek.

Bengals had hit 12 home runs this season before the flurry.

Tennis showdown: East Chapel Hill, 19-1 and ranked No. 1 in the N.C. Tennis Association boys 4A poll, will play at No. 2-ranked Wakefield (18-0) on Tuesday in the second round of the NCHSAA dual-team tournament.

Green Hope (14-2) is No. 3 in the statewide poll and if it beats Clayton (14-0) in a second-round match would meet the winner between Wakefield and East Chapel Hill in the third round.

J. Mike Blake contributed to this story.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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