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Chargers aim to improve from 6-6 2017 campaign

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Ayden-Grifton players run drills during practice on August 1, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, August 3, 2018

After ending their 2017 season in the dead center of the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference, the Ayden-Grifton Chargers look to improve in 2018 with several key returning pieces.

On offense, senior quarterback Blake McLawhorn will continue under center. On defense, senior middle linebacker Ray Darden will terrorize opponents. Other names, such as running back Corey Crossen, will provide an air of experience for the Chargers. 

McLawhorn comes off an offseason in which he was crowned champion at a University of North Carolina passing camp in Chapel Hill. Cornwell cited McLawhorn’s consistency as the key to his success. With his passing camp title, fans may see an increase in throw attempts from McLawhorn this season. 

Darden makes his impact with strength and quickness in the middle of the field. As the leader of the defense, he will be critical to the success of the Chargers.

Others have also shown they are looking to make an immediate impact through hard work and grit.

“I think (RB/DB) Michael Webb is going to have a good season, we hope on both sides of the ball and in the return game,” Cornwell said. “He’s going to be a junior and got some playing time last year as a sophomore and had a good season. He’s had a really good offseason as well, so we’re looking forward to him doing some really big things this year.”

While notable players are returning and others are stepping up, the team is dealing with a shortage of depth on its roster. 

“We've worked hard, but the numbers are still a concern,” Cornwell said. “This group here has been working hard, and I think we’re ready to get started.”

The disappointment of a 6-6 regular season, followed by a first-round exit in the playoffs at the hands of Wallace-Rose Hill, 42-3, seems to have evaporated as the sense of a fresh start arrives. 

Experienced seniors and youthful sophomores and juniors will need to mesh for the Chargers to get off on the right foot Aug. 17 when Southside visits Ayden-Grifton. The Chargers’ 2017 season also began with a match-up with Southside, a game in which A-G lost 26-0.

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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High Schools

October 22, 2018

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s release of volleyball state playoff brackets Monday afternoon saw two Pitt County teams earn No. 1 seeds. Matches begin Tuesday.

In the top of the 3-A East bracket is undefeated D.H. Conley (21-0), which opens in Greenville as 32nd-…

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October 22, 2018

A game traditionally known to be a tight, high-scoring affair ended up being highly one-sided contest Friday night, as D.H. Conley defeated rival J.H. Rose 48-21 win for a second consecutive win over the Rampants.

The win put another punctuation mark on how dangerous DHC (6-2, 4-0 Eastern Carolina)…

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October 21, 2018

Pitt County had a strong show­ing at the NCHSAA 3-A girls’ ten­nis re­gional at N.C. Wes­leyan Col­lege this week­end, high­lighted by a J.H. Rose tan­dem tak­ing top hon­ors in dou­bles ac­tion.

Maryah Stokes and Ginger Evans won the…

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October 20, 2018

South Central continued its undefeated football season with a decisive victory over New Bern on Friday night, 52-8.

In their first game in two weeks, the Falcons dominated with their multifaceted run game and took advantage of the Bears’ offensive mistakes.

After a sloppy but uneventful first…

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October 20, 2018

Four Pitt County high school volleyball programs are ready to make some noise in postseason play. J.H. Rose, D.H. Conley, South Central and Ayden-Grifton all are eyeing a state title this year after terrific regular seasons.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association plans to reveal the…

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October 19, 2018

D.H. Conley bested rival J.H. Rose on the gridiron for the second straight year Friday night, 48-21, increasing their win streak to six straight in the process.

“This is an awesome feeling,” Conley head coach Nate Conner said. “The most important thing is that it puts us in a…

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October 19, 2018

It’s time for another installment of one of the best rivalries in the state as D.H. Conley (5-2, 3-0) travels just under seven miles down the road to face J.H. Rose (5-2, 2-1) tonight in high school football action.

With two high-scoring offenses coming together it will be a shootout, and…

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October 18, 2018

The Ayden-Grifton Chargers volleyball team celebrated senior night by defeating South Lenoir Wednesday to improve to 19-1 on the season.

The Chargers (11-0 in league play) won in straight sets, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-19.

The match marked the final time seniors Jordan Cannon, Zion Hardy and Kristen…

October 18, 2018

Zion Hardy, known by her teammates as “The Beast,” is one of three seniors on a Chargers volleyball roster that has only 10 players. Hardy spoke with preps Beat Writer Jake Keator after a 3-0 win on senior night about the Chargers season and winning back-to-back conference titles.

Q:…

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October 16, 2018

J.H. Rose put on a performance reminiscent of the beginning of its season with a 55-0 rout of Southern Wayne last Wednesday night. 

The game seemed to be a walk in the park for head coach Dave Wojtecki and Rose (5-2, 2-1), who held a comfortable 42-0 lead at halftime.

The Rampants switched up…

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