Warriors have dominant defense
The football team at Weddington High has gotten better every year since Tim Carson took over the program in 2011.
The Warriors went 7-5 with a playoff win in Carson's first season, even though he wasn't hired until July of that year, then followed with a school-record for wins by posting a 9-3 mark with another postseason victory in 2012.
Weddington also won a share of the Southern Carolina Conference title last year, marking the first time the program has claimed a league championship since 2003.
Last season's campaign was highlighted by a 7-0 home win over eventual 4A state runner-up Porter Ridge. The victory ended Porter Ridge's 25-game regular season win streak that spanned parts of three seasons.
The Warriors had one of the best defenses in Union County last year, holding six of their opponents to 12 points or less.
Evan Lloyd, a senior linebacker, foresees more success in 2013.
"Our expectations are to win another conference championship, and we don't want to share it this year," said Lloyd. "We want to make a good run in the playoffs."
Warriors senior quarterback Jeff Welch, a returning starter, has been impressed with the impact Carson has had on the program.
"He's a great coach and we all love him," said Welch. "He knows both sides of the ball so well. Anytime somebody has a question, he has an answer."
Weddington, which opens at home against Ardrey Kell on Friday, had just one scrimmage against Olympic this preseason.
The Warriors tried to scrimmage two other times, but one was canceled and the other was rained out.
"The scrimmage was very pleasing," said Welch. "Going into it with so many new guys and a whole new offensive line I was pretty skeptical, but we played really well."
Welch returns as one of the most experienced quarterbacks in Union County.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder threw for 1,134 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions a year ago, helping the Warriors average 28.3 points per game.
"For a lot of us it's our senior year and it could be the last time we step on the field," said Welch. "We're trying to make the most of that. Knowing that I've started 13 varsity games I really can't say I'm new to this. I know what it's like to be behind the center."
A brand new backfield will attempt to make up for the graduation of all-conference tailback Gavin Black, who rushed for 1,727 yards and 11 TDs last season.
The Warriors will rely on the committee of senior Shawn Dashti, senior Omar Boyd and junior Mitchel Carson (not related to Tim Carson) to carry the load in 2013.
"Losing Gavin was a big deal, but we have three guys that can run the ball pretty well," Welch said.
Boyd (6-2, 200) will also line up at receiver and is expected to be an impact player, according to Welch.
"He'll be a key part, especially since he's playing both positions," said Welch of Boyd. "He's got all the tools. He's got long arms, he's a big guy and he's pretty powerful and fast."
Welch's top target is back in senior Ryan Black, whose a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.
Black is one of the county's top returning receivers after catching 36 passes for 679 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had two special teams scores and was voted first-team all-Union County as a returner.
"This is the seventh or eighth year I've been throwing to Ryan, so we have really good chemistry," said Welch. "He's got great hands and really good speed. If I throw it in his area I know he's going to catch it."
Welch also has back junior receiver Zach Goins, who cemented his place in school history by hauling in the game-winning touchdown against the Pirates last year.
The offensive line is mostly new. It includes 6-foot, 290-pound center Peter Morrison, who was a part-time starter last year, and left guard Wes Schumate, who got some experience in the playoffs last season.
Senior right tackle RJ Rivers and senior left tackle Colton Jarvie are relatively untested, and so is sophomore right guard Andy Horne.
The Warriors return six starters to a defense that gave up just 17.8 ppg last year.
Two starters are back on the D-line, including junior end Jack Jenkins and Morrison at tackle.
Morrison was an all-Southern Carolina Conference nose guard as a junior.
Jarvie is expected to see time at the other tackle position and sophomore Lance Moore will play the other end.
"Last year's defense was the strong point of our team and a lot of those guys from that 'D' are coming back," said Lloyd. "We don't have a lot of depth, but with the people we have up front, if we stay injury-free we'll be pretty good."
Lloyd will start at linebacker alongside senior Jack Ryan and sophomore Myles Moore — Lance's twin.
Ryan, who reports an offer from Division II UNC Pembroke, led Weddington with 104 tackles in 2012 and was named second-team all-county.
Myles Moore started three games at linebacker as a freshman last season.
"We're pretty athletic at linebacker," said Lloyd. "We've really been working as a core unit and trying to attack the ball as one."
The secondary is experienced on the corners, with senior Evan Altizer and junior Chris Trevisan returning as starters.
Altizer had four interceptions last season and made third-team all-UC.
"Evan's going to be really good for us," said Lloyd. "He's got great hands and he's really good at reading the quarterback."
Carson, Boyd, senior Stephen Morrison and senior Robbie Stoerzer are all competing for time at the safety positions.
Welch, who faces the first-team defense in practice, has been impressed with what he's seen.
"They're looking great," said Welch of the defense. "They looked really good in the scrimmage. They have a lot of guys back and some new guys that are doing a good job of filling the holes."
Weddington Warriors Projected Starters
Weddington's 2013 schedule
Aug. 23^vs. Ardrey Kell
Aug. 30^at Forest Hills
Sept. 6^at A.L. Brown
Sept. 13^vs. Monroe
Sept. 20^at Parkwood
Oct. 4^vs. Charlotte Country Day
Oct. 11^at Anson
Oct 18^vs. Cuthbertson
Oct. 25^vs. Sun Valley
Nov. 1^at Piedmont
Nov. 8^at Marvin Ridge
Weddington's 2012 results
Weddington 38, Cuthbertson 21
Weddington 47, Forest Hills 19
Weddington 19, Kings Mountain 12
Ardrey Kell 28, Weddington 23
Weddington 24, Olympic 16
Weddington 35, Parkwood 7
Weddington 31, Anson 6
Weddington 7, Porter Ridge 0
Sun Valley 49, Weddington 42 (4OT)
Weddington 17, Marvin Ridge 9
3AA state playoffs
Weddington 42, Cox Mill 6
Charlotte Catholic 41, Weddington 14