2018 Pigskin Preview: South Lenoir
Jeremy Joyner (5-17, third season at South Lenoir)
Aug. 24 at Jones Senior
Aug. 30 vs. North Duplin
Sept. 7 at Richlands
Sept. 14 vs. Rosewood
Sept. 21 at Kinston
Sept. 28 vs. Ayden-Grifton
Oct. 5 at West Craven
Oct. 12 at Washington
Oct. 19 vs. Greene Central
Oct. 26 vs. North Lenoir
Nov. 2 at Spring Creek
Last 5 years
Game to watch: vs. North Lenoir Oct. 26
The last time the Hawks came to Deep Run in 2016, the Blue Devils nearly pulled off the upset in a thrilling 9-6 contest. South Lenoir will look to end an 8-game losing streak to North Lenoir and will definitely have a spirited crowd in attendance.
Players to watch
RB/LB Jayden Carr
As a junior last season, Carr led the team in rushing with 819 yards on 5.3 yards per carry. He also had three 100-yard games on the ground with six touchdowns while adding 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks on defense. Look for a breakout season.
RB/LB Xavier Mitchell
Mitchell didn’t get as much time in his freshman year, but did have a 100-yard rushing game and averaged 4.7 yards per carry with two touchdowns. With Mitchell spelling Carr at times, this could be a dynamic backfield.
FB/LB Eli Jenkins
The senior will take the responsibility of blocking for Carr and Mitchell, bolstering the Blue Devils’ running game in 2018. Jenkins will also play a pivotal role defensively and should showcase his abilities in the role.
The Blue Devils were selected last in the Eastern Carolina Conference, but this team has the capabilities to be stronger than many think. Yes, the gauntlet in the ECC is no joke but South Lenoir should be more competitive with confidence after the nonconference slate. Even years have been good to the Blue Devils lately with the team starting 2-2 in 2014 and then entering the ECC 3-3 in Joyner’s first year coaching.
I’m looking for a strong start from the Blue Devils before conference play. I can see South Lenoir at 4-7 on the season, but if any team takes them lightly it will be a problem.
Joyner is building a program in Deep Run and it's evident in everything he's doing -- from assembling a top-notch staff (which now includes former SL legends K'Hadree Hooker and Paul Novicki) to establishing traditions.
However, this team is still at least a year away from a potential breakthrough. Like Junious, I think the Blue Devils will have a solid non-conference run (possibly 3-2) but will go winless in EC2A play.