5th Quarter Season Preview: Columbus County

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We have been to Bladen, Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, and now it’s off to Columbus County for the final 5th Quarter preview before the big day.

“You’ve got the bullseye on your back now,” South Columbus Head Coach Russell Dove said. “When you win the conference, now the bullseye is on you and you get everyone’s best shot.”

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We followed along with the Stallions deep into the state playoffs and this team may be even better this year. Despite losing star running back Dennis Legget, the team returns work horses like Seth Bufkin, Tre Bellamy and Quarterback Robbie Spencer. The team is looking to build off of last year’s success.

“We don’t change anything we did, we build a foundation off of what we do as far as weightroom, practice, in the field and how we expect our kids to behave,” Dove said. “So we’re going to build off that. Now that a foundation is set, we can do the little things that’s going to make us better so we can pay attention to detail.”

The Wolfpack will be the team looking to knock off the Stallions from the top of the mountain this year. Coach Luke Little and the Whiteville team had a very successful year going 8-6 overall and only dropping two in division. When you’ve been a young team the past two seasons, you become a veteran team.

“We return 10 on offense and 9 on defense,” Little said. “Jamario Norton is back, he was a 1,500 yard rusher for us last year. Monchovia Gaffney is back, he’s got several Division I offers at linebacker. It’s made the early part of the season go by a lot easier.”

From Whiteville to West where the Vikings struggled last season. The team could not find the win column, but Coach James Pierce is looking to put that into the past as he starts the new year fresh. He says you can expect a new and improved Viking football team.

“We’ve made a lot of changes offensively and defensively and changed the culture of how we do things around here,” Pierce said. “Our slogan around here is all in. The team has really bought into that and the kids that have come into our program have really bought into that. Nothing but positive energy out here so far.”

Another team in Columbus County that is undergoing a new culture change is the East Columbus Gators. New Coach James Hobbs is inheriting a squad that only got one win last year. He recognizes the challenges he faces, but he says, like the Vikings, the changes are going to be positive for the green and orange.

“I feel like we’re going to be a lot tougher this year, a lot tougher and a lot stronger,” Hobbs said, “We’ve worked really hard in the weight room this past year. We’ve got a really good group of seniors this year so we’re looking to have a lot of success.”

Our tour around the Cape Fear has come to an end, we’ll see where Columbus County stands up against the rest of the region.