2022 STANLY FOOTBALL: Albemarle Bulldogs

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted high school football in many ways the past two seasons for many programs, including the Albemarle Bulldogs.

After playing just three games in the spring of 2020, Albemarle missed one game last season, a non-conference matchup with Central Davidson, while players missed time. Head coach Richard Davis missed three games with COVID, with assistant coach Derek Turner filling in.

The Bulldogs return most of their players and look to improve on a 2-8 season, which was the fewest wins for an Albemarle football squad in a season of 10 or more games since 2016.

Here are five questions for Coach Davis regarding the program as he enters his sixth season with Albemarle (15-31 overall).

1) Your team was the youngest in the county in terms of veteran players, graduating four seniors. How did the experience affect your returning players for this season?

A lot of times in life you take the test before you get the lesson, and we took a lot of tough tests last year. We endured those tough tests and now we’re taking those lessons learned following a tough season, and working together as a more cohesive unit this season. Our guys learned the importance of hitting the weights and pushing one another to be the best versions of themselves. We’ve had a great off-season; we’re a year older, stronger, and ready to show people what the Bulldogs are made of.

2) The team in 2019 was trending upward with wins, going 5-6. COVID has affected many things the past two seasons, including the cancellation of several games in 2020 and last season. What do you think a full season could mean this year for the Bulldogs?

Covid was tough on everyone, but the thing Covid really affected was our off-season training. Coming off the first playoff win in several years, and being a bad call away from the having a chance to play for a share of the conference title in 2019 — we had great momentum heading into that following off-season and the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. It was almost like pressing reset on things.

This is the first normal off-season for a majority of our guys, and I can already see a difference in our team from a year ago when we were mainly focusing on trying to keep everyone safe while developing a young team. This off-season, we’ve been able to compete in several 7-on-7s, which has been extremely beneficial to our skills players, and we’ve been able to get in the weight room on a consistent basis and make some significant gains. With all that said, a full season will give us more opportunity to continue to grow as a team and surprise people on Friday nights.

3) Who are Albemarle’s top returning players and what expectations do you have for them this season?

Our top returning players are Miles Gregory and Zach Schrump who will hold things down in the trenches for us. We’re blessed with talented receivers, CJ Ellis, Jaylen Pinkney and Ja’zyion Geiger, who will have a huge impact on what we offensively do, not only catching, but being great blockers in the run game.

4) Who are the Bulldogs’ newest players who should and need to make a big impact this season?

We’re pretty much returning our entire team, but look for the following guys to step up and be a huge impact for us this season:

  • Karne McLendon, Malik Watkins and William Browne;
  • Tyquan McDonald and Kenny Miller on the defensive line;
  • Jason Wall at receiver and safety;
  • Dre Davis at QB/cornerback; and
  • Christian Harris at cornerback.

5) What is your outlook for Albemarle this season, both in the YVC and overall?

Our outlook for this season is to take everything one day and one week at a time. Work to improve every day both individually and as a team, and play our tails off on Friday. If we do that, we will give ourselves a shot to make some serious noise in the YVC this season.


Home games are listed in bold. Games with a * are conference games.

Aug. 19 – Thomasville
Aug. 26 – at West Stanly (7 p.m.)
Sept. 2 – at Owen (7 p.m.)
Sept. 9 – at Anson County (7 p.m.)
Sept. 16 – Southwestern Randolph
Sept. 23 – BYE
Sept. 30 – Jay M. Robinson *
Oct. 7 – South Stanly *
Oct. 14 – at Mount Pleasant *
Oct. 21 – at Union Academy *
Oct. 28 – North Stanly *

* YVC Games
All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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