Sun. May 26th, 2024

COLUMN: My thoughts from Aycock’s jamboree

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PIKEVILLE — We’re so close to the Friday night lights. C.B. Aycock held its annual jamboree on Monday night which featured Cleveland, Fike, Ayden-Grifton, North Lenoir, Laney and Hobbton.


There’s no real winner at these scrimmages, but if there was it would have been Cleveland. The Rams are coming off a 12-3 season where they came up a game short of the state championship game, but some wondered how good the Rams could be with starting quarterback Darius Ocean and expected starting runningback Jalen Chadwick no longer in the program.

The Rams came out and scored in the first three plays against Fike, led by Skyler Locklear. The offense would have a couple of drives stall against Fike, but unleashed big time on Laney. The Rams were able to score every drive against the 4-A program.

“We scored quickly against Fike then had some malfunctions like missed assignments and things like that — that’s typical in the first scrimmage,” head coach Scott Riley said. “We got on them about not being the reason we stop ourselves and (if we get stopped) let the other team make plays. I thought they did a much better job of that against Laney.”

“He had some miscues there early, then settled down and operated the offense to score every possession in the second scrimmage,” Riley said about his young QB.

Cleveland’s defense looked game ready. The Rams defenders were flying all over the field making plays and playing with the swagger of a championship team. Which according to a non-Cleveland coach at the jamboree, they believe the Rams will win the first state title in program history. 

“Excellent defensive effort, they didn’t give up any scores on the day,” Riley said. “They played with a lot of intensity. It’s been a longtime since we got to suit up and play someone else.”

The Rams have one more scrimmage on Friday against Lee County and Southern Lee. Riley said he wants to see more improvement.


The Golden Falcons had a pretty good showing. QB Clay Matthews looked good in his first action after breaking his arm and missing the last eight games of last season. Taevian Jackson ran the ball really well despite putting on some weight.

“He’s not carrying weight, that’s the thing,” head coach Steve Brooks said. “The number might be different, but he’s running more powerful than he ever has. I’m having to pick my spots with him because I know how important he is to us on defense. We’ve built some depth at the running back spot, but I thought tonight every time he touched the ball he was the Tae we’ve seen for two years.”

The defense looked really good as well. They gave up some scores, but did a good job rallying to the ball and not allowing big gains — except for a touchdown pass against Ayden-Grifton. The Falcons are coming off a 5-7 season where they made the playoffs, the best mark under Brooks. Despite the good showing against Hobbton, Brooks urged his players to pick up the intensity in their second session against Ayden-Griffon.

“After the break, we came out with the intensity that I’ve been trying to establish all camp,” Brooks said. “They needed that little powwow we had. I hoped they learned what we been tryna tell them that they can’t flip the light switch on. I hope that was a lesson learned.”

The Golden Falcons will be back on the field at the Marine Federal Credit Union Football Jamboree in Onslow County this weekend. 

Other Teams

Ayden-Grifton is primed and ready for a big season this year. The Chargers looked good as starting QB rising-junior Josh Wright showed good command of the offense and made some impressive throws from the pocket. Wright looked good in the scrimmage last year, but head coach Paul Cornwell went with the more experienced Blake McLawhorn. Wright will now get his shot after being groomed the last two years. It wasn’t a big night for rising-senior Mike Webb but he had moments where he showed the burst and explosion that I think will help him claim the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference Player of the Year. 

The only bad thing I saw from the Chargers, who I predicted to win the 2-A ECC on the JLB Podcast, was their numbers. The Chargers came to the scrimmage with less than 30 players. It’s well-documented that the Chargers are one of the smallest 2-A schools in the state, but less than 30 is smaller than what they normally carry. It was just a scrimmage so possibly some players didn’t have enough days of contact or a number of things. One thing for sure though is the Chargers need to stay injury free.

Hobbton, a member of the 1-A Carolina Conference, looked fast. They didn’t score against Aycock, but they play uptempo and in space. Joe Salas has a lot coming back from a five-win football team and could challenge for the conference title against Rosewood and Princeton. Hobbton will need to sure up the defense though, as the Golden Falcons moved the ball well against them.

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August 2019