Raider football practice begins

By: By Danny McDowell - Sports Writer

By Danny McDowell

Sports Writer

Raider senior Juane Summers hauls in a pass from quarterback Austin Raynor in practice at Midway. senior Juane Summers hauls in a pass from quarterback Austin Raynor in practice at Midway.

Midway Raiders head football coach Jason Fussell heads into his second season, following a successful debut last year. The Raiders finished 7-5 overall and 4-3 in Four County Conference play. They lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Southwest Onslow.

Former Raider standout Luke Clark joins the coaching staff working with the offensive line. Longtime assistant Jason Rouse has moved away.

The Raiders will continue to run the Wing T on offense and 50 on defense.

Fussell welcomed 27 young men to varsity and practice and 21 are with the junior varsity.

Midway’s key returnees include Larry Blanks, Michael Kramer, Dustin Holland, Labi Olanipekun, J.D. Lockamy, Early Baker, Derrick Loftus, Miguel Delgado, and Dylan Lee

Key newcomers include quarterback Austin Raynor, Paris Smith, David Hardee, and Shakeim Warren. Also, Sergio Rosales and James Hardee figure to play key roles this year as 2nd year varsity players.

“Our strengths are our running backs,” asserted Fussell. “We have a good core group of them back, along with our D-line.”

As for weaknesses, “Right now we’re still trying to find a couple more offensive linemen to shape it up and our defensive backfield lost a lot from last year,” Fussell added.

The Raider coach doesn’t point to a particular team as being the toughest game on the schedule. “They’re all tough in our conference,” he declared. “With all the teams that were in the playoffs last year, every game we play is going to be a tough game.”

Coach Fussell’s goal for the season is, “To go out and compete and put ourselves in a successful position.”

“We’ve got 6 starters back on defense,” Defensive coordinator Billy McLamb added. “We’ve got a couple that fill those empty postions for us. We’ll be a little shorthanded. If we can be injury free, we’ll be okay. Conditioning will be the key.”

The Raiders will host St. Pauls for a scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. They will participate in the County Jamboree at Clinton on the Aug. 14. They will open the regular season on Aug. 21 at Hobbton.