COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY)– The battle of Columbus County went the way of the South Columbus Stallions in 2018, They finished with a 12-1 record and yet another Three Rivers Conference title.
The Stallions will have a different look to them in 2019, the team graduated 23 seniors from last years team, including four out of their top five leading rushers. Head coach Russell Dove is still confident in his young team headed into the regular season.
“Our expectations of ourselves won’t change,”said Dove. “There is a lot of really good teams in this conference, but to us that’s a challenge.”
The Stallions are still full of talent in the backfield led by rising senior Rajon Graham. Graham rushed for 822 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. This year he knows the focus will be on him, but all he cares about is the teams success on Friday nights.
“I just try to help my team win at all costs,”says Graham. “Everyone wants to bring home a state championship, but we will take it one game at a time.”
South Columbus begins their regular season against Ashley on August 23rd.
Just up 701, the Whiteville Wolfpack are locked and loaded to make a deep playoff run. The team is coming off of a 9-3 season and return both their starting quarterback and running back. Javonte Davis and Ty Moss accounted for 32 of the teams 40 touchdowns a year ago and they are ready to take the next step.
“This year we just want to dominate,”says Whiteville senior Ty Moss. “We want to win the conference and go as deep in the playoffs as possible leaving it all on the field.”
Over the years the Wolfpack have been known to run the football, finishing with over 2,500 yards on the ground as a team last year. You can expect much of the same from them in 2019, but they plan to make their offense a little more dynamic.
“We’ve worked extremely hard this spring on our passing game,” said Wolfpack head coach J.P. Price. “You can expect us to have a lot more concepts this season that will balance us out offensively.”
Whiteville will open up their 2019 season at home against North Brunswick on August 23rd.
The West Columbus Vikings will have a new head coach this season as LaMonte Williamson takes over the program after serving as an assistant coach for the past three season. Williamson takes over a Vikings team that finished with a 2-9 record last year and will have plenty of new faces in key positions this fall. He says its a learning process with younger players, but they will be ready to go come August 23rd.
“With our younger guys we treat them just like we do the seniors,”says Williamson. “We are putting them through the fire right now and know they are going to be ready.”
The Vikings haven’t had a winning season in 14 years, but the still remains the same to make the playoffs. They know it won’t be an easy task, but its all about coming to work every single day.
“It is going to take time and a lot of hard work,”said Vikings senior Timothy Stroud. “Hopefully it eventually leads to this program having success.”
West Columbus opens up their regular season on August 23rd against Green Sea Floyds at home.
The East Columbus Gators made a monumental leap in 2018 finishing with a 4-8 record and a appearance in the state playoffs. Before last season the Gators had went 3-41 over the previous four years. The East Columbus program is headed in a direction that their head coach thinks they can build on.
“We have a good group out here and you can see the progression from when we took over the program,”said East Columbus head coach James Hobbs. “Hopefully we can be a little more successful this year than we were last season.”
South Robeson officially closed their doors this summer making East Columbus one of just two Class 1A teams in a loaded Three Rivers Conference. The upperclassman know it will take a lot to get where they want to be at the end of the season.
“It is a tough conference, but we just have to push through it,”says Gator senior Fisher Reaves. “Our goal every day is to keep driving, keep pushing.”
East Columbus will begin their 2019 season on the road against North Lenoir on August 23rd.