2023 STANLY COUNTY FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Albemarle brings experience

For the first time in several seasons, the Bulldogs are one of the older teams in terms of upperclassmen.

Albemarle has 17 seniors and 12 juniors on its varsity roster for Richard Davis (15-30), heading into his seventh season as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

The Bulldogs start the season ranked 23rd in the 1A preseasons rankings by MaxPreps (-28.0) and first out of the three 1A teams in the now five-team 1A/2A Yadkin Valley Conference.

Albemarle has not finished a season with a .500 or better win percentage since 2013 when Seth Smith coached the team to an 11-4 mark to reach the fourth round of the state playoffs.

1) The Bulldogs have in the last couple of years been the youngest team in the county and conference, but this year that is not the case. How is the team’s experience a factor in improving this season?

Having an experienced team has really been nice this heading into the season.

For the first time since the pandemic, we’re not forcing freshmen and sophomores to play meaningful varsity reps before they’re ready — which is always a positive.
We truly have a varsity aged team which will help us compete with the teams on our schedule.

2) Who are the returning starters on whom the team will rely the most?

Talking about experience, we’re going to lean heavily on our seniors and juniors to carry us this season.

We need big seasons from seniors Miles Gregory, Jaylen Pinkney, Jason Wall, Tyquan McDonald and Malik Watkins.
In the junior class, we’ll be relying on Kaine McLendon, Vince Gregory, Zyion Geiger, Kenny Miller and Dre Davis.

3) Who are the promising newcomers on the team who will make an immediate impact?

Be on the lookout for freshman Yashodean Pergee. He’s really talented and I can see him doing many good things for us this year when his number is called.

4) How do you believe the Bulldogs will fare in competing for the Stanly Cup, conference title and in the state playoffs?

The goal is to win every game on the schedule, but we know it’s not going to be easy because every team has the same goal.
So our focus every day is to do everything necessary to put the team first and be great teammates for one another.

5) What are the goals you have for your players beyond wins and losses?

My main goal is to always help them become great students who go on to be even better men.

We currently have football players ranked number 1 or 2 in the senior, junior and sophomore classes. Sometimes we lose sight of the “student” in our student athletes, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work our players are doing in the classroom.

Lastly, football doesn’t last forever so I want to be able to say I helped them become great husbands, fathers and contributors to society.

Albemarle Roster

# Name Gr. Ht. Wt. Pos.

2 Malik Watkins SR 5’7 165 RB/LB
4 Kaine McLendon JR 5’7 170 RB/LB
6 Jason Wall SR 6’1 176 WR/DB
8 Zyion Geiger JR 6’0 171 WR/DB
10 Ander Artis SR 5’9 155 QB
11 Tyquan McDonald SR 5’10 195 TE/DE
12 Nyzir Garner JR 6’0 168 TE/LB
14 Kiyren Brown FR 5’8 142 WR/DB
15 Kareem McLendon SR 5’10 202 OL/DL
16/34 Willie Browne JR 5’10 172 RB/LB
17 Dre Davis JR 5’9 155 QB/P
19 Jaizere Pemberton SO 6’2 159 QB/WR
20 Yashodean Pergee FR 5’8 157 ATH
21 Vincent Gregory JR 5’10 168 TE/LB
22/55 Kenny Miller JR 5’8 202 FB/DL
23 Garrie Rivers SR 5’9 180 RB/LB
24 Christian Harris SR 5’7 130 WR/DB
25 Jaylen Pinkney SR 6’0 177 ATH
33 Jayden Simpson SO 5’7 163 LB
35 Colin Riedell JR 5’9 152 WR/DB
48 Jean Pierre Browne SO 5’7 158 LB
54 Kendon Phillips SO 5’7 147 OL/LB
56 Jason Bowlin SO 5’9 177 OL/DL
62 Jose Rodriguez SR 5’9 335 OL/DL
64 Tahj McLendon SO 6’2 257 OL/DL
65 Malachi Harrison SO 5’6 158 OL/DL
66 Tyler Lennon SR 5’10 300 OL/DL
68 Travon Blount JR 5’11 180 OL/DL
70 Manny Sanchez SR 5’9 178 OL/DL
71 Jonathan Washington JR 5’8 225 OL/DL
72 Miles Gregory SR 6’1 282 OL/DL
75 Jahir Cortes JR 5’9 268 OL/DL
77 Elijah O’Neil JR 6’3 332 OL/DL