With experience, coaches establish a clear vision for how they would do things if a situation arose. Jimmy Williams had that clear vision for a high school football all-star roster long before he was named the head coach of this year’s N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game.
“I’ve seen it time and time again, the teams that are successful in these games have one common theme: versatility from its players,” Williams said. “I feel like we’ve really been able to put together a team that fits that ideal.”
Even better for local fans, that position qualification fits a half-dozen players from Johnston County and Garner this season. The football contest is one of three to be played this week and feature some of the top recently graduated high school athletes across the state in football, basketball and soccer.
Williams’ local selections are all either players who played for him or players his team has played more than once the past few seasons.
The group includes West’s Sam Campbell and Cameron Williams, Cleveland’s Aaron Farmer, Clayton’s Eric Hoy and the Garner duo of Christian Anumihe and Raekwon Britton.
Hoy and Williams, both quarterbacks in their senior seasons, will shift to new primary positions for the game, set for Wednesday, July 22, at Jamieson Stadium on the campus of Greensboro Grimsley High School. Hoy will slip into a similar role to what he’ll do for Randolph Macon this coming fall: slot receiver. Williams will play outside linebacker for the East.
Hoy will also be a contributor at cornerback and Williams will serve as a backup quarterback for Farmer.
“Aaron is the perfect quarterback to run the scheme we’re going to use,” Williams said. “And having a guy like Cameron who understands his role going in but can succeed in that role as well is a big plus for our team.”
Anumihe will be one of Farmer’s targets on offense. He’s set to play tight end primarily but will also be called on at defensive end. It’s the same role he filled very capably for the Trojans this past fall.
Campbell is a defensive end who can play offensive tackle as well.
Britton, whose ability to make stellar plays in all three phases of the game for Garner was sometimes overshadowed by the exploits of teammate Nyheim Hines, will play cornerback and also see time at slot receiver.
“I’m excited to work with all of the kids we’ve work so hard the last year to bring together,” Williams said. “Now it’s all about having a good week of practice beforehand and then executing.”
Williams isn’t the only Johnston County coach who will be on the sidelines this week, Clayton girls basketball head coach Marlon Lee will be the assistant coach for the East squad, working with Durham Hillside legend Ovester Grays.
The girls basketball game, set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday night in the Greensboro Coliseum feature six players from the Triangle area, including Southeast Raleigh graduate Amber Richardson, an N.C. State recruit. Richardson helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back 4A state championship game appearances.
The boys basketball game, which follows the girls game on the same night, will also feature an area player used to winning — Garner graduate Julius Barnes. Barnes was the MVP of Garner’s win in the 4A state championship game back in March.
The soccer pitch for Tuesday night’s boys and girls games will have a very purple and gold hue, locally speaking. Both games have graduates of Corinth Holders in them. Chason Karst will play for the boys squad, while Bella Iorio suits up for the girls.
The soccer games have been shifted to MacPhearson Stadium in the Bryan Park Soccer Complex for a one-year basis as UNC Greensboro has work done on its field.
The 2015 N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Games
Basketball: Monday, July 20 at Greensboro Coliseum, 6:30 (girls) and 8:30 (boys)
Soccer: Tuesday, July 21 at Bryan Park Soccer Complex in Greensboro, , 6:30 (girls) and 8:30 (boys)
Football: Wednesday, July 22 at Jameison Stadium (Greensboro Grimsley High), 8