Carver looking poised
(pictured above: Coach Germane Crowell. William Dean will be the starting quarterback this season.)
Germane Crowell is satisfied with the progress Carver made in his rookie year as head coach in 2013. The Yellowjackets (11-2) fared well in winning the Western Piedmont Conference and advancing to the second round of the Class 2-A state playoffs.
Crowell’s vision, however, transcends wins and losses. His chief aim is to take Carver football to greater heights by establishing a solid foundation in which his players excel in the classroom as well as the gridiron. Five seniors from last year’s team will attend college on academic scholarships this fall.
“We didn’t get a lot of publicity about that, but that’s a very good sign that things are moving in the right direction,” Crowell said. “We’re stressing quality on all fronts and it’s beginning to show. We had a team grade-point average of around 2.8 last year.”
As for the football part of the equation, Carver will again be the team to beat in the Western Piedmont. And considering last year’s 28-27 upset loss to Lincolnton in the playoffs, the Yellowjackets have all the incentive they need to make a deeper postseason run this time around.
The defense, spearheaded by lineman Nathan London, is aggressive and relentless. Cornerbacks Devin Pleasants and Rashad Butler are lock-down defenders who have big-play capability. At inside linebacker, Jason Walker and North Forsyth transfer Brandon Campbell provide tenacity and grit, which further fortifies Carver’s 3-4 defensive set.
“Our front seven is very strong,” said Crowell. “In fact, it’s the cornerstone of what we like to do defensively. We have a lot of underclassmen on that side of the ball and they’re explosive and fast.”
The Yellowjackets’ West Coast offense has all the requisite pieces to score points in a hurry. William Dean takes over at quarterback for two-year starter Jamal Williams who has graduated.
Dean, a wide receiver and backup quarterback last season, has a highly-skilled crew to work with. Brian Sessoms (committed to N.C. State) gives Carver quick-strike capability with his speed at wide receiver and as a kick returner. Kendall Dean, the quarterback’s brother, is expected to emerge as another dependable receiving target along with tight end Sean Smith. Germane Crowell III is the back-up quarterback who’s also expected to make his presence felt as a key element in Carver’s secondary.
At running back, the Yellowjackets have multiple weapons of choice with the return of Desean Binyard (1,100 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns) and Tyquan Watson, who has over 2,000 all-purpose yards over the past two seasons. Even though Butler is a prime-time figure on defense, he’ll also get his share of touches as a break-away runner who can score from anywhere on the field. London and Joshua Lane will lead the way on the offensive line.
“We’re locked and loaded on offense,” said Crowell. “On the line, we’ll have a mix of youth and experience, but we feel like they have what it takes to get the job done. All we’ll concentrate on is getting better each day and continuing to build from one week to the next. We’ll take each game as it comes and go from there.”