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Wilkes Central High School Athletics

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Central’s offense to rely on depth in 2016

CENTRAL’S OFFENSE TO RELY ON DEPTH IN 2016

Running back Andrew Bynum ran for 2,731 yards in the 2015 season for the Wilkes Central football team and he scored 39 rushing touchdowns. He also recorded 102 receiving yards and had one touchdown catch. But 2015 was Bynum’s senior season in Moravian Falls and now, Head Coach Ron Turner — though he won’t be with his team in person for a while due to his recent surgery — will have to look elsewhere for offensive production in 2016. “We were very fortunate to win 10 ballgames last year and we’re having to replace one of the best players in the state in Andrew Bynum,” Turner said. “Obviously that’s not easy to do. We’re excited about the potential of the team but we’re playing a lot of young players again and it’s definitely going to depend on us staying healthy. “If we stay healthy, I feel like we have a chance to be pretty good. But there are some areas where we don’t have depth and we’ll have to be fortunate enough to avoid injuries.” The good news for them is that the Eagles do have some depth at the skill positions and are poised to sport a very balanced offense. While he won’t be expected to run for 2,700 yards this year, Justin Parsons will be the Eagles primary running back after playing in the slot most of last season. Parsons was the team’s leading receiver last year and hauled in 32 catches for 534 yards (the second most in the county last year) and five touchdowns. He did also have 15 carries in the regular season for 78 yards, which is an average of 5.2 yards per carry, and one rushing score. “Justin Parsons has moved from the slot to running back but he will also still play some slot for us,” Turner said. “We feel very good about Justin. You can’t replace an Andrew Bynum but there’s not another back in the conference I’d rather have back there.” The Eagles’ starting quarterback from last season, Dalton Combs, also graduated in the spring and he will be replaced by sophomore Camden Wyatt. Wyatt led the JV team to a 9-1 record last season, losing only to the undefeated East Wilkes Cardinals. Jojo Horton saw some action at quarterback last season, connecting on four of 14 attempts for 119 yards and a touchdown, and will likely see some more time there this season. But, Turner said, the Eagles will try to utilize Horton’s athleticism in a couple of different positions. “Our starting quarterback will be Camden Wyatt and then Jojo (Horton) has been doing a great job for us,” Turner said. “Jojo is probably going to move into the slot position for Justin and then also play defense and he’ll also play some at quarterback. We think Jojo will have a big role on the team.” The Eagles also return some other options at wide receiver including Jasiah Ferguson, who was the team’s second leading receiver a year ago. Turner also pointed out that he feels the offensive line is the best it has been since he came to Wilkes Central two seasons ago. “This is a team that we’re excited about offensive-line wise, besides our depth at the skill positions,” he said. “The first year, we were extremely weak on the offensive line and last year, we got much better. And this year, we think we’re going to be better than we were. We feel our offensive line will be a strength for us finally.” With the Eagles’ collection of athletes, a quarterback comfortable with throwing the ball and an offensive line to protect them, Turner hopes to achieve the offensive balance he’s been looking for this season. The Eagles were relatively balanced a season ago as 64 percent of county-best 393 yards per game came on the ground, but this season that percentage might come down. “Obviously, he throws the ball really well — C-dub (Camden Wyatt) does. We’re finally, I think, going to get to the point where I’ve been trying to get to since I’ve been here, which is if teams want to stop us from running the ball, we can really hurt them throwing the ball,” Turner said. “And if teams want to stop us from throwing the ball, we feel that we can really hurt them with Justin Parsons running the ball. And that’s our goal.” “I’ve been saying that I wanted to be balanced since I’ve been there,” he continued. “It’s not necessarily that we’re going to come out and throw the ball 24 times and we’re going to run the ball 24 times — it’s not about that. But we want to be able to take whatever the defense gives up.”

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