Hillside coach Antonio King wasn’t giving any names when asked about newcomers to his team.
“I’m going to let the people see,” he said. “By the first game, you’ll know who they are.”
Make that by the first scrimmage.
The Hornets introduced newcomer and Michigan State recruit Abdul Adams to the home crowd last Thursday in a two-hour scrimmage against Chapel Hill.
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Adams rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and thrilled the crowd with his twisting moves and speed.
But he’ll have plenty of help in the backfield with running back Jamaal Curry-Elliott, and wide receivers Marcus Krah and N.C. State recruit Daeshawn Stevens.
“The main thing was to come out of this game healthy King said. “We have some stiff competition to prepare for.”
The tough schedule begins Friday night when the team travels to New Bern. Hillside lost to New Bern twice last season.
Hillside won both halves of Thursday’s scrimmage, scoring two touchdowns in the first and three touchdowns in the second, including a last-second TD to end the “game.”
King said starting quarterback Chauncey Caldwell made a good first impression.
“He did OK for the first time as ‘The Man.’ I liked his decision making, and he’s going to get a lot better,” King said.
While the Tigers moved the ball well early on, coach Isaac Marsh said he didn’t like what he saw in the latter half.
“Their body language, that was the key,” he said. “But that falls on me to get the players adjusted to the system. We have a young squad and we’re still missing some pieces, but they did a good job of moving the ball well during the controlled scrimmage; they just couldn’t get the ball across the goal line.
The Tigers open their season at Riverside. Despite the 4A PAC-6 being the bigger brother, the 3A Big-8 Conference had a winning record in head-to-head matchups last season.
With Southern Durham winning the 3AA championship in 2013, and Hillsborough Orange and newcomer Cardinal Gibbons also having successful seasons, the Big 8 has taken hold of the bragging rights department.
“It is a tough, tough conference,” Marsh said. “We have a young team that we have to bring together to weather the storm. That’s where our veteran guys come into play, to take the younger guys under their wings and show them the ropes.”
It’s been almost nine months since the Tigers upset Southern in the third round of the state playoffs. But folks haven’t forgotten. Chapel Hill is ranked over Southern in the preseason standings, which didn’t sit too well with Southern coach Darius Robinson.
“I told the guys to use that as motivation,” he said. “We lose one game in almost two years and they rank us lower. That’s our bulletin-board material.”
▪ Southern ended its preseason Saturday with a 20-18 loss to Panther Creek in the HighSchoolOT.com Jamboree.
Starting QB Jalen Green went 22 of 32 for 155 yards and two TDs. Defensive back Archie Guilford also returned an interception 25 yards for another score.
▪ Northern jumped out to a 14-0 lead over Raleigh Enloe and held on for a 20-6 win the Jamboree. Junior wide receiver Jaylan Burton rushed for 98 yards and caught a pass for a 41-yard TD.