Things have come full circle for Beddingfield football coach Tyrone Johnson. He has coached the parents of some of his current players. His son and former player Wesley is back as an assistant coach. He’s part of the fabric that is the Beddingfield community.
And he knows he’ll miss it soon enough. Johnson will retire from teaching and coaching after this season. It’s the only school where he’s taught.
“Beddingfield has been a joy to my soul and my heart since I’ve been here,” Johnson said. “I tell people all the time: I’ve never gone to work and been ‘Oh Lord, I gotta go to work.’ I enjoy coming to work every day. Beddingfield has been very good to me and I’m going to miss this place, but all good things come to an end.”
Johnson is in his second stint with the Bruins. He first coached the team from 1990-99, then resumed the post in 2006. He’s won more than 100 games at the school and carries a 62-59 record in conference play
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With the right breaks, his last year could be a big one.
What are the team strengths and weaknesses?
For a 2A school, Beddingfield may not only have to ask one or two players to start both ways thanks to good depth. The Bruins are a little young at linebacker and defensive line, where four sophomores will break in.
Who are some players to watch?
Barry Bullock moves from linebacker to quarterback, but the Bruins should have some home-run threats in Marcus Parker, Kenneth Sims and Dyquavious Ballard. The line is strong with Tyreek Liles and Jarvis McNeil, among others.
Aaron Jenkins shuts down his side of the field at corner. He had eight interceptions last year, forcing teams to throw at Sims, who was also stout in coverage.
What’s the biggest key to this year?
Navigating a rugged nonconference schedule is vital. Beddingfield (7-6) started last year 2-4 with close losses coming to mostly 3A teams. Though the Bruins rallied by winning five of their last seven and earned a share of the Eastern Plains Conference title, they want to avoid a potential stumbling block.
“Early success would mean so much for the whole football team. Last year we had enough senior leadership to overcome that 2-4 (start) because we could’ve folded, we could’ve quit,” Johnson said. “Now this young team, if we get started off like that it could be a bad season because we don’t have the (same) maturity to realize that we’re panicking.”
More on the Bruins
Last year: 7-6 (4-1 Eastern Plains 2A), 2AA second round
Five year average: 26-32 (3-3)
Preseason N&O rank: Unranked
Offense: Run ‘n’ Shoot
Coaches: Tyrone Johnson (head coach), James Ward (Off. coordinator/QBs), Roland Lofton (Def. coordinator, WR/DBs), Billy Woodard (OL/DL), Chris Fess (OL/DL), Wesley Johnson (QBs/WR/DBs), Noah Adens (LBs)
Contributors: Barry Bullock (Sr., QB), Derrick Chapman (Soph. QB/RB), Dyquavious Ballard (Sr., RB/S), Marcus Parker (Jr., RB), Kenneth Sims (Sr., WR/CB), Rayshown Gaines (Sr., WR), Noah Adams (Sr., WR), Tyreek Liles (Sr., C/DT), T.J. McNeil (Sr., OL/DL), Jarvis McNeil (Jr., OL/DL), Daymon Kardesoglu (Soph, OL/DL), Mikal Hamilton (Sr., LB), Altyrick Sherrod (Sr., LB), Joseph Pender (Sr., S), Aaron Jenkins (Sr., CB)
The main number: 4 – all four nonconference losses were by single-digits.
Aug. 19 at Goldsboro, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Southern Nash, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 2 at Greene Central, 7 p.m.
Sep. 9 vs. Fike, 7 p.m.
Sep. 16 at Nash Central, 7 p.m.
Sep. 23 at Hunt, 7 p.m.
Sep. 30 BYE
Oct. 7* vs. North Johnston, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14* at North Pitt, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21* vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28* at Farmville Central, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4* vs. SouthWest Edgecombe, 7:30 p.m.
Note: *denotes conference game.