Pinecrest was well on its way to another potential double-digit-win season entering the last week of last season when the Southern Pines school self-reported itself for a violation of the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 8-quarter rule. The misstep cost the Patriots a 9-2 season, which was changed to 1-10.
It’s made for even more anticipation for this year’s Patriots to get back on the field.
“I think the kids have done a good job putting that in the past,” Pinecrest coach Chris Metzger said. “There’s a tremendous desire to continue that legacy.”
Who are some players to watch?
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North Carolina baseball recruit Nik Pry moves under center after starting at safety last year. Running backs Malyk Justice, Jeremiah Anderson and Jaren Lubrano head up a strong running game and Chris Owens returns as the leading receiver from a year ago.
And then there’s the headliner Jaylin Dickerson, a safety who has committed to South Carolina.
“One of the things that makes him so great is he wants to be coached,” Metzger said. “He’s a guy who truly transcends what we’re all about as far as loving your teammates and being an ambassador to others.”
What’s the biggest question mark?
The defense will be inexperienced early with only four returning starters, but should be ready to go before conference play begins in October.
How has Pinecrest turned it around?
Before Metzger arrived in 2007, there was talk that Pinecrest – a 4A school with more than 2,000 students – may have to shut down its football program for lack of interest.
Metzger has won 58 games (64 without forfeits) in nine years after the school had won 12 in the nine years preceding his arrival.
“The kids have been amazing. Their work ethic, their committment, their love of one another, their focus has been incredible,” Metzger said. “The community has rallied around the kids... It’s no surprise they’re doing well.”
More on the Patriots
Last year: 1-10* (1-4 Southeastern 4A)
Five-year average: 6-6 (2-3)
Preseason N&O rank: No. 8
Offense: Split-back option
Coaches: Chris Metzger (HC), Shane Fluet (OC/OL), Antwon Murchison (DC/ILBs), Aaron Powell (ST/DBs), Rob Sanders (RBs),Ryan Giggey (WRs), Josh Wilson (OL), Chris Martin (DL), Bob Curtin (OLBs)
Contributors: Nik Pry (Jr., QB/DB), Malyk Justice (Sr., RB), Jaren Lubrano (Sr., RB), Jeremiah Anderson (Sr., RB), Chris Owens (Sr., WR), Jehari Whitfield (Sr., OL), Izaya Graham (Sr., OL), Tanner Benton (Jr., OL), Marquez Baxter (Jr., LB), Jaylin Dickerson (Sr., S)
The main number: 9 – before Metzger arrived in 2007, Pinecrest had just nine wins in eight seasons. He’s won 58 in nine years, even with forfeits.
*Would have been 9-2 without forfeits
Aug. 19 vs. Overhills, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 at Riverside, 7 p.m.
Sep. 2 at Cuthbertson, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 10^ at Woodberry Forest (Va.), 2 p.m.
Sep. 16 vs. Southern Lee, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 23 vs. Word of God , 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 30 BYE
Oct. 7* vs. Lumberton, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14* vs. Scotland County, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21* at Purnell Swett, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28* at Richmond County, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4* vs. Hoke County, 7:30 p.m.
Note: *Conference game; ^Saturday game.