First-year coach Stephon McQueen has lofty goals for his Word of God football team, as the Rams enter their third season of 11-man football.
“I’d like to win every game,” said the Ravenscroft graduate who plans to use what he learned as a football player at UNC under former defensive coordinator and head coach Carl Torbush. “With our schedule – and that’s not taking away anything from our opponents – and the way we can spread the field with our athletes, I think it’s something we can shoot for.”
Word of God will play as an independent in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class III. All home games will be at Enole High School for the squad that won six games in 2014 and five a year ago. The biggest win so far was a 64-44 stunner of N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A squad Athens Drive in 2015.
What is the Torbush way?
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To build on that early success, McQueen, who takes over the head coaching duties for now-assistant Eric Clemmons, wants to mirror the Torbush way.
“When I played for him, we had the best defense in the country,” McQueen said. “And we were ranked No. 2. Discipline will set the tone. I want to create a professional atmosphere. I want my guys to be student-athletes, not just ball players.”
How will Rams make up for their lack of depth?
There were 17 players suited up for practice on Tuesday afternoon. The coaches hope that number will grow to as many as 32 once the dust settles.
“We have a core group of seniors who are phenomenal athletes,” McQueen said. “Those guys are why we are so high on doing so well this year. We’ll be asking a lot from them, and we are going to be really good because of them.”
Who will be the quarterback?
With the graduation of Jheri Walton, a trio of players will be vying for the starting slot under center – seniors Tyler Urban and Atavious Taylor and sophomore Donnavan Holland-Terry.
“We’re going to be young at quarterback, not young in age, but in experience,” McQueen said. “But we’ve seen a lot of good already, and we know once they’ve got the techniques down, it’s going to be fun.”
More on the Rams
Last year: 5-6
Offense: Pro I and spread
Defense: 4-3 and 3-4
Coaches: Stephon McQueen (head coach), Eric Clemmons (assistant), Chevelle Stevens (assistant)
Contributors: Atavious Taylor (Sr., QB/WR/RB/S), Tim Montague (Sr., FB/LB/OL), Devon Mayo (Sr., OL/DL), Teryn Savage (Sr., LB/RB), Xavier Carter (Sr., OT/DE), Blake Harris (Sr., QB/WR/ATH)
The main number: 6 – The Rams lost five games on the field in 2015 (forfeit loss to Winston-Salem Prep). In all five, they scored just six points. In the five wins, they averaged 50.8 points.
The quote: “You set that tone first. You do the right technique with the right attitude and the results will speak for themselves.” – Rams coach Stephon McQueen
Game to watch: Oct. 21 at Ravenscroft. McQueen goes up against the defending state champs and his high school mentor Ned Gonet.
Aug. 19 vs. Central (Virginia)
Aug. 26 at Rocky Mount Prep
Sept. 2 Swansboro
Sept. 9 at Winston-Salem Prep
Sept. 23 at Pinecrest
Sept. 30 Trinity Christian
Oct. 7 at Kestrel Heights
Oct. 14 at Harrells Academy
Oct. 21 at Ravenscroft
Oct. 28 vs. North East Carolina Prep
Nov. 4 vs. Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada
*all games start at 7 p.m.