Max Brimigion, Weddington WR
Brimigion is coming off an outstanding junior season in which he earned Associated Press all-state honors as the Warriors top target. He’s in line for an even bigger season nearly all of the Warriors skill guys back with him.
Q: You had an all-state season at receiver and come back with nearly all of the key pieces on last year’s team back. What does that do for the confidence of both yourself and for the team?
A: It gives me a lot of confidence, but it always motivates me to try harder. Now that I’m a senior I know that I can do great things. And it’s really motivating having Whitner at quarterback and James at receiver.
Q: There are not a lot of areas to be concerned about on this team, but what do you see as the team’s biggest strength?
A: We have a lot of skill guys back at receiver and we have a great quarterback in Whitner back. Also, we have James Shipley at running back and he’s really tough to bring down. So I’d have to say it’s our skill guys and our passing game.
Q: What is it like to be a part of a group of friends and teammates who seem to get along so well?
A: It doesn’t come around often, but these guys that I’ve grown up with and done so much with are going to be friends for life. We do everything together and even when we’re just hanging out and not doing anything with football. But when football comes around our connection and chemistry is great.
Whitner Litton, Weddington QB
Litton is coming off one of Union County’s all-time great seasons under center and is back with most of his many weapons. He’s ready to throw the ball around even more and continue the Warriors’ great run of success.
Q: There are so many guys on this offense with talent and so many different options for you at quarterback. What’s that like to be in charge of that offense?
A: It’s a great thing. Not a lot of schools have that, but I’m lucky that mine does. We have a bunch of guys who can get the job done.
Q: A lot of you guys play together on the lacrosse field and have won two titles there and one in football. Can you describe the bond you guys have?
A: Most of us have grown up in middle school playing lacrosse, football and basketball together. And once we got to high school, most of the football players play lacrosse and even play travel lacrosse together, so we’re always around each other. We have a good bond together and we’ve definitely had some success.
Trey Shepherd, Monroe QB
The Monroe quarterback completed about 60 percent of his passes and threw for over 1,600 yards and 17 TDs. The senior said he has a better understanding of the offense and is ready to lead a Redhawk revival after a 5-7 season.
Q: It was a rare losing season last year, something that doesn’t happen very often at Monroe. How are you guys respond?
A: This team is a lot better and has a lot more leadership around it. We went through a lot of adversity and hard times, but it’s made us stronger. This year we’re looking to get back to the playoffs this season.
Q: You had a great season offensively. What does that do for you as you get ready to start your senior season?
A: My individual goals are all of our team goals. I just want to get us into the playoffs and win enough games to get us there.
Q: Coach Sowell just got selected to coach the West in the East-West Game and is a great man, a great coach and great motivator. What has he meant to you?
A: He is everything to me and even outside of football. He’s like a mentor to me. When we’re on the field I can look up to him, too. He has meant a lot to me.
Kevin Coss, Charlotte Catholic
Coss started last season on the sidelines with an injury, but finished it with 13 sacks, 49 tackles and a forced fumble in just nine games. He’s back and looking to help the Cougars in their quest for a repeat title.
Q: People are saying this team and this defense are better than last year’s. What makes it so good?
A: We have returning starters. We have the chemistry, we have the players and we have the size. Coach Brodowicz always tells us that we have at least three DI players on the D-line alone, so we’re going to use that to our advantage.
Q: We know about the defense, but what about the offense. What have you seen from them this preseason?
A: I think you can expect the exact same thing as last year. The offensive line is still very good and experienced and they have some young guys too. And our skill position guys are really good.
Brian Jacobs, Charlotte Catholic S
Jacobs isn’t the most imposing guy on the field, but opposing teams and coaches know he’s one to gameplan for. The Davidson commit is a ball hawk from his safety spot and has led the Cougars in tackles for each of the past two seasons.
Q: You’ve led this defense for the past two seasons in tackles. What do you think gets you in on that many plays?
A: I feel like I read the play very well and am able to come down from my safety position fast. Sometimes I’m blocked, and when I am I can juke around the offensive lineman and make a play on the ball.
Q: Davidson is a great school, so you must take school seriously, too. Do you know your GPA and what you want to study in college?
A: I have a 4.02 and I want to study finance or engineering, but I’m not quite sure which one right now.
Q: Why has this team had so much success?
A: We’ve all played together since the sixth grade pretty much. That’s a big part of it. We’ve run the same offense since sixth grade and we have this great team chemistry since we’ve been together for so long.
Charlotte Catholic RB
The Cougar running back gained nearly 1,100 yards of total offense and scored 16 touchdowns last season as the second or third option in the running game. Neel is ready to take on a much bigger part of the run game.
Q: You’re going to get a fair share more carries this season. How have you prepared yourself and your body for that punishment of the season?
A: I’ve been working really hard in the offseason, but I know when I get the ball our offensive line is going to be really good again so I can just get behind them.
Q: You get to share the backfield with your brother (sophomore Paul Neel, who ran for over 2,000 yards on JV last year). What’s that going to be like?
A: It’s going to be really fun to be back there with him. We’ve always thought about it, so it’s going to be a good year with him.
Sam Howell, Sun Valley QB
Everyone is familiar with Howell, the Florida State commit with the golden right arm. He backs up all of the hoopla that surrounds him, but there’s a lot of it after he threw for 3,372 yards, 36 touchdowns and ran for 1,500 and 24 more scores.
Q: You’ve reached a different level now with your fame. What is it like for you?
A: It’s everything that I’ve dreamed of. I got to do a lot of really cool things, I got to travel the country this year and meet a lot of new people. The pressure just goes with it. I’m not going to let it change who I am as a person or affect anything that I do. But it is fun, too.
Q: What is the most exciting part of this offense?
A: There are a lot of new guys that are going to step up and get a chance to play, so I’m excited for them to get a chance to play. They’re excited, we’ve been practicing really hard and putting a lot of work in so I’m excited to get out there and see what we have.
Q: You are close to a number of state records and within reach of many more. Do you think about that?
A: No. I don’t know how many yards I’ve thrown for or anything. I just want to bring a championship to Sun Valley High School. That’s my No. 1 goal.
Will Smith, Marvin Ridge MLB
Smith has recorded over 215 tackles during the past two seasons combined, and has been the Mavs leading tackler for two straight seasons. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior seems to be around the ball on every play.
Q: Last season was a special year for you guys. What was that like to be a part of?
A: It was a phenomenal experience. I’ve never been on a team like that or around so many guys that gets along. I trusted every single guy on our defense to get the job done, and we had guys that got the job done.
Q: How much confidence does it give you and your teammates?
A: With the guys we have now and the new guys coming into the system, we think we can be real successful this year.
Q: Do you approach anything differently with this being your final year?
A: I’m definitely trying to go out with a bang with all of my teammates and end this on a good note.
Myles Wallace, Cuthbertson RB
Wallace racked up a whopping 265 carries (20.4 per game) but still managed to average nearly five yards per carry, run for 1,213 yards and score 11 touchdowns. Expect the Cavs to cut back a little on the amount of carries he gets, but Wallace will also be used more than the 16 catches he had in the passing game last year suggest.
Q: You have a lot of contributors back from last year, so what should we expect from the Cavs this year?
A: Right now what I like is that the line has gotten much bigger, our intensity and our energy are back and I think we’re going to be pretty good if our mindset is right.
Q: You rushed for over 1,200 yards in your first season as the starter. How do you expand on that this year?
A: I wouldn’t be able to do it without the people that I have and the coaches that I have. I love those guys and I love our seniors. I’m expecting a big year for us an I think we can do well.