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LELAND — Garry Bishop knows how to use talent. The latest proof of that was the indoor and outdoor state championships he coached the North Brunswick boys’ track and field teams in 2014.
Entering his 21st season as head coach of the Scorpion football team, Bishop once again is assigning players to positions that fit their talent and will help North win football games.
The position getting most attention is quarterback, which has three contenders: senior Hunter Hendershot (6-feet-1, 190 pounds), senior Dominique Blanks (6-0, 200) and junior Tiger Bryant (5-10, 155).
All are first-year quarterbacks.
“All three are doing really well right now,” Bishop said. “Dominique is probably the best thrower. Hunter is probably the better runner. Tiger is good at both.”
Bishop said Hendershot best fits the double tight end, wildcat offense North intends to run.
The top running back is senior DeShawn Montgomery (5-8, 170).
“He runs the ball hard for a 170-pounder,” Bishop said. Has good cuts. Good speed. Good power. Sees the holes well. He’s exactly what we were looking for in this offense.”
The other primary back is Junior D’Angelo Walker (5-6, 145).
“He hits the holes fast and finds seams,” Bishop said.
The center will be senior Garrett Brown (6-0, 230).
The right tackle will be senior Doug Hickman (6-2, 270). Contending for the other tackle position are juniors Devin Silver (5-11, 290) and Ramiro Castaneda (6-2, 210) sophomore Trenton Chasteen (6-1, 210).
At one of the guards is senior Joey Johnson (5-11, 200). He was an all-conference center last year.
“He is one of our best pullers,” Bishop said. Johnson had committed to the U.S. Naval Academy.
The other guard will be senior Derrick Wheeler (6-0, 220), the NCHSSA Class 2A state champion in the shot put and an all-conference lineman.
One of the tight ends will be senior Erick Wheeler (5-11, 200). He was a guard last year. The other starting tight end is junior Freddy Williams (5-10, 205).
Other tight ends are junior Latrell Hill (6-2, 180), junior Mitch Layton (6-6, 200) and senior Alex Pierce (6-1, 180).
The roster listed 16 wide receivers. Among those standing out are senior Luke Cason (6-1, 170) and junior Jordan Howard (6-2, 185). Sophomores Shaquan Graham (6-0, 160) and Jayhlen Washington (5-11, 155), junior Chase Westcott (5-11, 140) and senior Michael Willis (5-7, 150) are some of the other receivers who add depth to the position.
“This is an offense that can put you in trouble if you don’t line up to it right,” Bishop said. “We can get mismatches where we want them. We think we can create a weakness every time they line up. And our quarterback can run the ball, which helps.”
Returning at kicker will be senior Armando Lopez (6-0, 165). Blanks probably will be the punter, Bishop said.
The area where North lacks depth is defensive line, and that is why Bishop has decided to use a three-man front this season, led by all-conference senior Evin Bellamy (6-3, 195). Bellamy also had a 4.0 GPA, Bishop said.
“He led our team in sacks and tackles for loss last year,” Bishop said. “He had better numbers than (Clemson signee) Jabril Robinson.”
Sophomore T.J. Watson (5-9, 185) is one of the contenders for guard.
The roster lists 12 linemen, but just one week into practice, it was too early to name starters, Bishop said.
Senior Josh McCauley (5-11, 175), an all-conference nose guard last year, may switch to linebacker this season. Returning at linebacker is senior Jerry Andrews (6-0, 230). Montgomery, all-conference on defense last year, and junior Miguel Cano (5-9, 180) are inside linebackers. Other linebackers are sophomore Tristin Kellner (5-8, 195), Williams and the Wheelers.
Blanks, who led North in tackles last season and was all-conference on defense, may be either a linebacker or a safety. Hill might be either a defensive end or an outside linebacker.
“We’re pretty deep at linebacker,” Bishop said.
Returning at cornerback will be Howard. Other cornerbacks are Keandre Yeoman (5-9, 150), Washington, Graham, Willis, Graham and Cason.
Among the safeties will be senior Anthony Walker (6-0, 160), Hendershot, Bryant and Howard.
“We think our defense will be strong, give us a chance to stay in games,” Bishop said.
That defense will be tested in the season opener Friday, Aug. 22, when North is host to Whiteville, which Carolina Gridiron ranks No. 6 in Class 1A.
The schedule includes games conference games Oct. 10 at Southwest Onslow, which Carolina Gridiron ranks No. 4 in Class 2A, and Oct. 31 at Jacksonville Northside, which Carolina Gridiron ranks No. 12.
North football schedule
Subject to change
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 22, Whiteville
Aug. 29, at Trask
Sept. 5, East Columbus
Sept. 12, South Brunswick
Sept. 19, at West Brunswick
Sept. 26, at Purnell Swett
Oct. 3, no game
Oct. 10, at Southwest Onslow
Oct. 17, Croatan (homecoming)
Oct. 24, Dixon
Oct. 31, at Northside
Nov. 7, at East Duplin
Nov. 14, first round playoffs
Michael Paulis sports editor of the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.