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2019 Football Preview: West Stanly, highly-recruited Poole, ready to roll

With all the losses the four football teams of Stanly have had to graduation this season, the Colts have the top returning player in the county in terms of recruiting attention.

Jordan Poole has received college offers from the SEC (South Carolina) and ACC (Virginia Tech and N.C. State) along with East Carolina.

Last season as a sophomore, Poole rushed for 869 yards and nine touchdowns.

West Stanly head coach Brett Morton said Poole really stepped up in the weight room in the offseason along with doing well last spring on the track team qualifying for the 2A state meet in the 100-yard dash.

“He’s got a lot of talent and ability. We are looking for him to step up and play a bigger role on offense and defense,” Morton said.

In his second season as the coach, Morton led the Colts to the team’s second season in three years over the .500 mark.

West finished 7-5 and came up one win short of the Rocky River Conference title, losing in the final week to Mount Pleasant.

The Colts earned a 21-13 win in the first round of the 2A playoffs over Thomasville, the first playoff win for West since 2006.

Gone from the Colts are the team’s leading passer in quarterback Nick Parker and the team’s leading rusher, Lucas Scott (1,132 yds., 10 TD).

West lost three starters on the offensive line, which Morton said is “hard to replace” along with the loss of Scott who “was the driving engine on offense and defense.”

Morton said the team has had player stepping up early in the preseason, including Jordan Manshack, who moves to the starting quarterback position after starting JV in 2018.

“We put in a new offense last season and we really let him cut his teeth with it on JV,” Morton said.

Having run the offense for a full season on varsity and JV, Morton said he felt comfortable with the team’s progression this season offensively.

“There is a comfort level with (the offense) having done it before,” Morton said.

Defensvively, the Colts have to replace a cornerback, safety, linebacker and half of the defensive line.

“We have guys there that got experience in last year. I’m anticipating them doing what they are supposed to do,” Morton said.

Ian Morgan is one player West will rely on at the defensive end position, according to Morton.

“He’s a senior and brings a lot of quickness to the table, gets off the ball quickly.”

Senior defensive tackle transfer Alvin Hutchinson bring 280 pounds to the interior of the front four for the Colts as well.

Gavin Hudson and Hagen Lawhon have worked hard in the weight room to “put themselves in position to have a good year” on defense, Morton said.

This season, Morton said the team expects to build off last year, stay in the top of the conference and make the playoffs without an at-large bid. The coach said he wants to be in the running for the Stanly Cup.

Sports Editor Charles Curcio can be reached at charles.curcio@stanlynewspress.com or call 704-983-1361.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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