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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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