NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We are now three days away from the first Fifth Quarter of the season. Today, we checked in with the teams right here in New Hanover County for this Fifth Quarter Season Preview.
In New Hanover County, many consider the Wildcats and the Vikings to be the toast of the town. But up in Buc-Town, Coach Ashaad Yeoman and his team are looking to change that.
“It just comes down to x’s and o’s and execution,” Yeoman said. “The team that wants it more and the team that executes will be the team that is successful on the football field.”
Laney was pretty successful overall last season, only losing to New hanover and Hoggard in the Mideastern Conference. This year they lose all-star playmakers like Imeek Watkins, who Coach Yeoman says you can’t replace. But he hopes other players on his roster can bring talent to the field.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces, offensively and defensively,” Yeoman said. “So I’m looking forward to the challenges they step up to.”
Speaking of challenges, Ashley Head Coach Jeff Turner has the challenge of stepping out of the shadow of Laney, New Hanover and, his former team, Hoggard. A 1-5 season in conference and 3-7 record overall shows they can go up if the team has the right mindset.
“What we’re trying to do is be consistent in what we do, demand excellence, have offseason training, understand what it takes to work hard in practice and become a football player,” Turner said. “That’s the basic ingredients to have some kind of success and that’s going to take some time.”
Let’s now go to the team on Shipyard Boulevard. The Vikings were tied with New Hanover at the top of the Mideastern Conference with 5 wins last season. This year, the team is bringing back 10 starters including starting quarterback Josh Jones. Safe to say the excitement for this program is very high.
“We’re excited about this year,” Hoggard Head Coach Craig Underwood said. “We return some talented guys and have some young guys that seem to be proving themselves. We tell our guys all the time we just have to stay humble, stay competitive, keep a competitive edge in practice and work to be better every single day.”
Their cross town rivals, the New Hanover Wildcats, were undefeated in New Hanover County play last season. They have five starters returning who are coming into their third year on varsity including quarterback Blake Walston and offensive weapon Wiz Vaughn. Each returning player is an invaluable piece for Coach Earl Smith’s team.
“They teach the younger guys and they help coach basically,” Smith said. “Having a good leadership group like we have, they set a good example.”
The biggest rivalry in Wilmington went to the Wildcats last year. Both teams want bragging rights and both teams have the same mindset to gain them.
“I think it’s a steady preparation,” Underwood said. “We take it one game at a time each week.”
“Last conference game like it use to be and we’re kind of excited about that, but we’ve got to take it one at a time,” Smith said. “We have a really stiff nonconference four games and we’ll roll into the conference after an open date. So we’ll take it one at a time and hope we reach our goals.”
We will see all four teams on display friday in the BB&T Jamboree.
Tomorrow the 5th Quarter Preview tour continues in Bladen Count on WWAY at 6 p.m.