2022 STANLY FOOTBALL: North Stanly Comets

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc with high school football with cancelled practices, missed games and other setbacks.

North Stanly’s program suffered its own pandemic-related setback last season after qualifying for the state playoffs but then having to forfeit due to COVID restrictions.

The Comets were also denied the opportunity to challenge West Stanly for the Stanly Cup emblematic of the county football championship. Both North and the Colts finished co-county champions with 2-0 records.

This season, North looks to again challenge for the county crown and beyond, but with the graduation of 16 seniors will be looking to a number of new players getting more significant roles for the team.

Here are five questions the Stanly News & Press asked Comets head coach Scott Crisco, who enters his eighth season with a 54-25 overall record, the second-highest win percentage and far and away the most overall coaching wins in school history. Crisco has coached 79 games at North; only one previous coach, Lonnie Chandler (80 games), coached the Comets more times than the current coach.

1) North Stanly finished second in the YVC and did not make the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season. Coming so close to it, as well as sharing the county title with West with identical 2-0 records, have those been motivating factors for yourself, the coaching staff and players coming back this season?

Most definitely it has been a top motivating factor in our off season. Our coaching staff and players have a chip on our shoulders and we have used that to unite us and focus us this year.

2) You graduated 16 seniors from this year’s team, including the starting quarterback, running back and several other key positions on offense and defense. Who are the returning players who will have to step up and fill the important roles on the team?

Any time you graduate that many players it’s hard to fill positions, but we have been very blessed the past tw0 years to have a lot of young guys that got a lot of varsity minutes last year and I’m hoping we won’t miss a beat.

We have two young quarterbacks that played some on varsity last year, Chance Blake (Jr.) and Colson Palmer (Soph.) should be able to step right in and lead our team this year.

We have a running back by committee right now and by the time the first game rolls around we should know who those guys are. Cam Smith is one of our returning starters at RB from last year and he will have an active roll at running back and wide receiver for us this year.

Junior Hill, Jordan Stewart, B.A. Harris, Isaiah Blalock and Gavyn Covington are all receivers that played last year and we will depend a lot on them this year as well. Caden Bradford, Jaylon McCoy, and Colson Palmer played last year on JV but should help us tremendously this year at receiver.

Our offensive and defensive lines are where we have the most experience from last year. Returning on the OL this year are Gavin Clark (Jr.), Brandon Cole (Jr.) and Tad Johnson (Jr.). Returning on the DL is Shaquun Kendall (Sr.) and D.J. Watkins (Sr.).

3) Who are the promising newcomers this season and how much will their efforts be needed in order for North to have a successful season?

We have three guys that will be new to our varsity this year, Jay Jackson, a transfer junior, will help us at HB/RB/LB. SeShawn Swindle (Soph.) from JV last year will help out at OL and Drake Mauldin (Sr.) will also help out the offensive line.

We are also looking for good things from last year’s JV from Gavin Helms (So.), Dylan Poplin (Jr.) and Jaxon Johnson (So.).

4) North has had above-.500 winning percentage seasons every year since 2012. How important is this to the team and what kinds of efforts does it take to have that kind of consistency over a decade?

It takes 100 percent buying into not just a team but buying into a program. The players, coaches and community all have bought into this motto “Family and team First.” It does take a lot of time, energy and hard work year round.

We’ve been lucky here at North to have coaches that love our players like their own and we’ve been lucky to have players who love us and want to play for us. Comet football embodies pride and love for each other and we are definitely family here at North.

5) What is the outlook this season for North Stanly in terms of the overall schedule and conference match-ups?

Our outlook and goal is always to win the conference and make the playoffs. If we make the playoffs then we take it one game at a time. This year is no exception, our goal is to win the conference and make the playoffs.

Schedule

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

Aug. 19 – Ledford
Aug. 26 – at East Rowan
Sept. 2 – at North Rowan
Sept. 9 – West Stanly
Sept. 16 – at Randleman
Sept. 23 – BYE
Sept. 30 – Union Academy *
Oct. 7 – at JM Robinson *
Oct. 14 – South Stanly *
Oct. 21 – Mount Pleasant *
Oct. 28 – at Albemarle

*YVC Games
All Game Times are at 7:30 p.m.

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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