New Franklinton football coach JeVar Bransome knew the numbers didn’t add up. His new job is at the largest 2A school in the state, yet the Red Rams had one of the smallest rosters in 2015.
Franklinton, the state’s largest 2A school with more than 1,100 students, had just 26 players – 22 by year’s end. Bransome wasted little time rectifying the problem.
“I came to change the culture and we had 52 kids (coming out) every day this summer,” Bransome said. “My goal is to get 70 in the program, 40 on varsity and 30 on JV, and grow from there.”
Bransome, an assistant on the 2010 Hillside team that went undefeated to win the 2010 state title, has implemented quite a few changes in a short period of time. All of it is geared toward making the team embrace a winning culture.
What other changes has Bransome brought?
When players came to workouts with almost every color except Franklinton’s red/black color scheme, Bransome made sure they got the message.
“Theyt hink I’m being petty, but that’s what you need, that’s what kind of culture you have to create,” Bransome said. “It’s what we did when I was at Hillside and Rolesville. (It’s) just the pride in the team that transfers to the community and the school.”
The next changes were a new offense and defense and offseason regiment. One thing Bransome said he didn’t have to change was the staff already in place at Franklinton. Among the assistants is David Jennings, who led Southern Vance to the 2006 2AA title game.
Will the team have enough depth?
Only a few players will be expected to play both ways, a relief for a team that was thin last season. However, experience is a concern. Just four seniors are expected to start and only one – Christian Harris – is a lineman.
What’s a reasonable goal for this year?
Bunn and Roanoke Rapids have been perched atop the league for a few years, but Franklinton can – even with the changes – easily compete for a top-half finish.
New quarterback Kyeon Spencer is a dual-threat and running back Tyreese Williams should pick up the slack offensively. Josiah Trotter is a name to remember at linebacker and tight end.
More on the Red Rams
Last year: 5-7 (2-3 Northern Carolina 2A), first round 2AA playoffs
Five year average: 8-4 (4-2)
Preseason N&O rank: Unranked
Offense: Run-based spread
Defense: 3-3-5 stack, multiple
Coaches: JeVar Bransome (Head coach/Off. coordinator), Terrance Horne (Def. coordinator/DL), Dave Jennings (Special teams/DBs), Bryan Perry (junior varsity/QBs), Andrew Trotter (LBs), Jarad Brown (OL), Matthew Hockaday (WRs), James Wagner (specialists)
Contributors: Kyeon Spencer (Jr., QB/LB/S), Tyreese Williams (Sr., RB/LB/S), Jah’quez Davis (Jr., RB/DB), C.J. Perry (Jr., WR), Josh McNair (Sr., TE), Christian Harris (Sr., OL), Alex Galaviz (Jr., OL), Jadakiss Gallatin (Jr., DL/OL), Josiah Trotter (Jr., LB/TE), Brandon Reese (Sr., DB), Jordan Vitale (Jr., K/P)
The main number: 8 – the Red Rams have eight straight playoff appearances.
Aug. 19 at South Johnston, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Louisburg, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 2 vs. Princeton, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 9 vs. Tarboro, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 16 at J.F. Webb, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 23 at Granville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 30 BYE
Oct. 7* at South Granville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14* vs. Warren County, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21* vs. Roanoke Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28* at Bunn, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4* at Southern Vance, 7:30 p.m.
Note: *Conference game.