Nick Stevens

What we learned on first day of scrimmages

Posted August 10

Holly Springs hosted a jamboree with Broughton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Northwood and Wake Forest on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (Photo By: Nick Stevens/

The first day of scrimmages is in the books.

In the first 24 hours of scrimmage week, covered 32 schools from 18 different counties. That list will grow as we go through the week.

I started my day off early in Southern Pines at Pinecrest High School where the Patriots hosted Northwest Guilford, Purnell Swett, Sanderson, South View and Southern Lee. On Monday evening I went to Holly Springs High School as the Golden Hawks brought in Broughton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Northwood and Wake Forest.

You have to be careful to draw certain conclusions during scrimmage week. Sometimes teams aren't playing their best players, sometimes they're scripting plays to run based on what they need to see on film and what they need to work on, and sometimes they're masking what they will do in the regular season. But nevertheless, we will draw some conclusions. Hey, that's our job!

Wake Forest is the unanimous No. 1 for good reason

Without some of its starters, like Devon Lawrence, Wake Forest put together a very strong performance against Garner. The Cougars' size at all positions is something that most teams cannot match. Of course Wake Forest has a strong run game, but quarterback Chris James threw several good, accurate balls, giving the offense another dimension. This defense is going to be very good again. They are big up front, they have good height and length in the secondary, and they find the ball quickly. As defending state champions, and with the way this team looks early, Wake Forest deserves that No. 1 spot in the preseason poll.

My Sanderson pick looks good

I've been saying that I was leaning towards Sanderson as my Cap 7 champion this season and after seeing them today at Pinecrest, I'm confident that it is a good pick.

Sanderson's offense was in sync through the air and on the ground. Teams weren't able to stop NC State recruit Trent Pennix at running back. Junior running back Kolby Banks was also impressive. The defense was bruising. Alim McNeil had several pad-popping stops, and the defensive line got into the backfield a lot. The secondary, which was not at full strength, was solid as well. I feel good about that preseason pick – Sanderson is going to be a tough out this fall.

Fuquay-Varina could be a sleeper

I saw the Bengals for a good bit at the Holly Springs Jamboree. Fuquay-Varina has good speed, especially with guys like Tyrus Townsend. As a sophomore last season, Townsend rushed for over 1,000 yards, and he looks like he's ready for more this fall. Townsend had several long runs, and his speed makes him hard to catch. The entire offensive backfield is going to be solid for Fuquay-Varina though. The Bengals only have to replace their quarterback. There were promising signs on defense too. At one point last year, Fuquay-Varina started 12 sophomores, and returning that experience this fall will be beneficial for the team.

Garner is still Garner

Shocking, right? Collin Eaddy was in attendance on Wednesday night, but he wasn't suited up for the Trojans. That's the biggest question mark for Garner right now. The running back position is the key in any Garner offense, but it looks like the Trojans have a few options this year. Sophomore quarterback Nolan McLean, who is also a basketball and baseball player, looks promising as well. Despite his youth, McLean delivered several good passes and is capable of throwing the deep ball for Garner. As a whole, Garner had a good showing against Wake Forest in the scrimmage. That was a good measuring stick for the Trojans, who look like they should be good again this fall.

South View is big

Perhaps the best way to show this is through a photo. But South View's offensive line is the biggest offensive line I've seen so far this season.

Pinecrest Football Jamboree (Aug. 9, 2017)

The line was a huge help for South View at the Pinecrest Jamboree. The Tigers were able to protect the quarterback, giving him time to get off a pass, and the rushing game look good as well.

Holly Springs says it has work to do

Holly Springs football coach Robert Furth said after Wednesday's scrimmage with Broughton that the Golden Hawks still have a lot of work to do. The Hawks have to replace some key players from last year, but they do return West Virginia recruit Bryce Wheaton who did not play on Wednesday night. Wheaton is letting an injury heal so he is ready to play when the regular season arrives. Adding him to the mix will help the Holly Springs offense.

We'll be back out in the field on Thursday, Friday and Saturday providing coverage of area scrimmages in eastern North Carolina. Look for more updates throughout the week on and the free HighSchoolOT mobile app.

Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT


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