The 2013 News & Observer All-Metro team was picked with versatility in mind.
Not all of the 13 players selected played offense and defense, but all were capable of playing both ways.
The unit may be personified by Middle Creek junior tackle Terry Patterson, who was an all-Southwest Wake 4A pick on offense and defense.
Runners Johnny Frasier of Princeton, Patrick Pettiford of Orange and Nyheim Hines of Garner also were all-star caliber defensive backs. Wakefield quarterback Evan Brabrand started at linebacker as a junior.
Many of the players lined up at various positions. Hines, for example, played tailback, fullback, wide receiver, slot back, quarterback, linebacker, cornerback and safety at various times.
Versatility was one of many factors writes of The News & Observer and community papers considered in selecting the squad. Team success was another criteria. Eight of the nine teams represented by the players won at least 10 games. Princeton won nine.
Southern Durham, which won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3AA title, has three players on the unit. Wake Forest, a 4AA finalist, has two as does 4AA semifinalists Middle Creek.
Injuries kept off some players, such as the only returning 2012 All-Metro players Braxton Berrios of Leesville Road and Trai Sharp of Carrboro.
Six of the 13 players are underclassmen – Hines, Frasier, Patterson, Wake Forest runner Bryce Love and Southern Durham quarterback Kendall Hinton are juniors. Wake Forest tackle Dexter Lawrence is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore and is the biggest player on the team.
Sam Blue, Millbrook, 6-3, 245, Sr.: Posted 19 sacks and had 52 tackles for losses to lead a defense that held 10 opponents to 20 or fewer points. Blue, who had 119 tackles, had three strip fumble returns for touchdowns and one interception. He also carries a 4.5 overall grade-point average. The Wildcats (10-4) were eliminated in the state quarterfinals 27-24 in four overtimes by eventual state 4AA finalist Wake Forest.
“Sam is a great kid who makes people around him better,” Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore said. “He has an awesome attitude and work ethic. He is a leader by example and is a true team leader.”
Evan Brabrand, Wakefield, 6-3, 185, Sr.: Brabrand passed for 2,899 yards and 25 touchdowns in helping lead the Wolverines to an 11-2 season. Brabrand is a great athlete who started at linebacker as a junior and is an outstanding baseball player.
“Evan is a remarkable young man,” Wakefield coach Rod Sink said. “He was able to move from middle linebacker to quarterback in only six months and helped to lead our team to a conference championship. He is a playmaker and one of our strongest leaders. He’s the type of young man every coach dreams of coaching.”
Noah Chase, Southern Durham, 6-6, 278, Sr.: Chase was a key blocker in a Southern Durham offense that averaged 46.1 points per game.
“Noah was the beef of the offensive line,” Southern coach Adrian Jones said. “He is a very mobile kid with great strength.”
Johnny Frasier, Princeton, 5-11, 210, Jr.: Frasier ran for 2,995 yards and attracted national recruiting attention while leading Princeton to a 9-4 season. He averaged 11.8 yards per carry and rushed for 40 touchdowns. He already has received several offers from Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
“Johnny had an outstanding season,” Princeton coach Derrick Minor said. “His commitment to the weight room and his leadership on this team has shown on the field. It's been amazing watching him run the ball this year. We are blessed to have him.”
Nyheim Hines, Garner, 5-9, 181, Jr.: Hines rushed for 3,149 yards and 50 touchdowns. He added another eight receiving touchdowns and 500 yards in receptions. He scored three touchdowns on kick returns and had six scoring returns nullified by penalties. Hines averaged 234 yards rushing per game and more than 10 yards per carry on a 10-4 team. National caliber sprinter with 4.34 time in the 40. Also is an outstanding defensive back.
“Nyheim plays extremely hard and has a tremendous work ethic,” Garner coach Thurman Leach said. “He has the speed to make big plays and the power to get tough yardage inside. He also is very versatile. He is a great receiver and kick returner.”
Kendall Hinton, Southern Durham, 6-0, 180, Jr.: Hinton led state 3AA champion Southern Durham in passing (4,159 and 40 touchdowns) and rushing (1,242). He repeatedly engineered come-from-behind victories. The Spartans scored 22 points in the fourth quarter of a 38-31 win over Shelby Crest in the finals. Hinton passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
“Kendall is a great kid,” Southern Durham coach Adrian Jones said. “He is smart and is a leader on the field. He is a true gun-slinger.”
Tom Hartshorn, Middle Creek, 6-0, 185, Sr.: Hartshorn was a difference maker for the Middle Creek defense that allowed 17.3 points per game. The Southwest Wake 4A Conference’s defensive player of the year also was known for being around the ball and recovered eight fumbles.
“He was the defensive leader,” Middle Creek coach Mike Castellano said. “He called the defenses and got us in the right sets and then made adjustments. He was a game changer.”
Marquavious Johnson, Knightdale, 5-10, 170, Sr.: East Carolina recruit is known for making big plays. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and passed for almost a 1,000. He is a national caliber track runner who has helped the Knight relay teams win national titles.
“Marquavious is a driven competitor who is explosive with football in his hands. That is why we put him at quarterback,” Knightdale coach Robert Senseney said.
Dexter Lawrence, Wake Forest, 6-5, 300, So.: Lawrence was a key player to a Wake Forest defense that led the team to the state 4AA championship game. Wake Forest limited teams to 113.8 rushing yards per game. Lawrence had 19 tackles for loss.
“Dexter is a dominate defensive tackle,” Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas said. “He is only a sophomore but has played outstanding on the defensive line since he entered high school. He is very athletic and can move pretty good for his size. Dexter enjoys competing and is more motivated the better the competition. I am very happy to have him for two more years.”
Bryce Love, Wake Forest, 5-9, 180, Jr. : Love led Wake Forest to the NCHSAA 4AA championship game by averaging 10 yards per carry and gaining 1,973 yards. He scored 30 touchdowns. He is ranked among the nation's top sprinters and has a 4.8 overall grade point average.
“Bryce is a very fast and is an explosive runner,” said Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas. “He ran for nearly 2,000 yards during the regular season and was limited in the playoffs do to injuries. Bryce is one of the best all-around running backs that I've had the opportunity to coach.”
Terry Patterson, Middle Creek, 6-3, 268, Jr. : Patterson was a Southwest Wake all-conference pick as a defensive lineman and offensive lineman. He keyed a Mustangs defense that held 14 opponents to three touchdowns or less as Middle Creek marched to the state 4AA semifinals and a 12-3 record.
“Terry is the first player in school history to be all-conference on both sides of the ball,” said Middle Creek coach Mike Castellano. “He almost never came off of the field. He is a definite Division I talent.”
Patrick Pettiford, Orange, 6-1, 190, Sr.: Led the Panthers to a 12-2 record with both losses coming against state champion Southern Durham. Defensive leader for a club that posted five shutouts and held four other teams to one touchdown or less.
Orange coach Pat Moser said Pettiford helped to make other players perform better. “He’s a leader and hard worker,” Moser said.
Maurice Trowell, Southern Durham, 5-11, 172, Sr.: N.C. State recruit helped Spartans to the state 3AA championship with 1,746 yards in receptions and 20 touchdowns.
“Maurice is Mr. Electric,” said Southern Durham coach Adrian Jones. “He is great route runner and a great football player.”