When Fike football coach Tom Nelson arrived in 2011, he and the Golden Demons would have been thrilled to go 7-6 with a second-round playoff exit.
But the bar has been raised, and that’s not a bad thing. After going 22-4 from 2013-14, Fike’s returning players want to avoid 7-6, and they attacked offseason workouts.
“After the success we had it was disappointing,” Nelson said. “That’s probably rejuvenated us a little bit in our winter and spring workouts because we’ve tasted both sides, and the taste of success is a little sweeter.”
Who replaces D.J. Daniels?
Daniels, a star two-sport athlete who turned down an offer to play college football and baseball to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, had a rocket arm and great mobility.
But Fike will be fine with new QB Gage West, who started at safety last year.
“He’s a veteran, he’s savvy. The kids love him and work hard for him,” Nelson said.
Who are some other players to know?
Kenny Johnson is a standout at running back. He was also a top player at linebacker but, like West, should play less defense this year. Logan Hill at h-back presents match-up problems and Dangelo Hodge is stout at linebacker.
What areas have depth? Which don’t?
If Fike can fill in some gaps on the defensive line and in the secondary, the Golden Demons should do well.
One area Nelson won’t have to worry about is kicker: senior Noel Ruiz and twin juniors Walker Gliarmis and John Gliarmis are all nationally ranked.
No other team in the state may have this kind of depth at kicker.
More on the Golden Demons
Last year: 7-6 (2-3 Big East 3A), second round 3AA playoffs
Five year average: 7-5 (3-2)
Preseason N&O rank: No. 24
Coaches: Tom Nelson (Head coach/Off. coordinator), David Pridgen (Co-Def. coordinator/LBs), Andrew Farriss (Co-Def. coordinator/OL/DL), Josh Jenkins (QBs/RBs), Jeff Price (WRs), Brian Boykin (WRs), Andy Jenkins (OL/DL), Sonny West (DBs)
Contributors: Gage West (Sr., QB/DB), Kenny Johnson (Sr., RB/LB), Logan Hill (Sr., H-Back), Chris Batchelor (Sr., OL), Jamie Williams (Sr., OL), LaMarcus Strickland (Jr., OL), Dangelo Hodge (Jr., LB), Syquan Hutcherson (Sr., DB), Devon Spells (Sr., DB)
The main number: 19-1 – Gage West was 19-1 in two years as the JV quarterback.
Aug. 19 vs. Bunn, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. East Wake, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 1# at Kinston, 7 p.m.
Sep. 9 at Beddingfield, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 16 vs. South Granville, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 23 at Corinth Holders, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 30 BYE
Oct. 7* at Southern Nash, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* vs. Nash Central, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21* at Rocky Mount, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28* vs. Northern Nash, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4* at Hunt, 7 p.m.
Note: *Conference game; #Thursday game.