Carvers Bay football eager to put bittersweet 2012 in rearview

For The Sun NewsAugust 9, 2013 

  • The scoop

    Coach | Nate Thompson (119-43 in 13 seasons at Carvers Bay and 135-54 in 14 seasons overall)

    Last year | 9-2, 5-0 in Region VII-A, first place; lost in first round of Class A playoffs

    Returning starters | 4 offense/5 defense

    Strengths | The Bears have plenty of bodies to run the football and an offensive line capable of blocking. The team will forgo some of the passing it did last year behind Da’Shaun Aiken. It should allow Carvers Bay to control the clock, one of the biggest reasons it had so much success during its glory years.

    Weaknesses | Even more than last year, depth could be an issue at the Class A school. Two or three injuries could derail the team’s goals for the season. The Bears won’t be able to ease into the season, as the 2013 opener comes against defending Class A, Division I Lower State champion Johnsonville.

    Three players to watch

    Devin Cuttino, Sr., RB | After rushing for 711 yards and seven scores as a junior, Cuttino’s figures should continue to improve with even more carries this season.

    Naquez Pringle, Sr., DT | The centerpiece of the Bears’ defense will be a focal point for opposing offenses throughout the season.

    Hikeem Hampton, Sr., RB | Hampton’s 2012 campaign ended after just seven carries, the last of which was partially responsible for a torn ACL. Now surgically repaired, he moves toward the top of the priority list.

  • 2013 schedule

    Date Opponent Time ’12 result
    Aug. 30at Johnsonville7:30 p.m.L, 23-018
    Sept. 6at St. John’s7:30 p.m.W, 49-6
    Sept. 13vs. Andrews7 p.m.W, 21-3
    Sept. 20at Georgetown7:30 p.m.W, 20-14
    Sept. 27vs. St. James7:30 p.m.W, 21-13
    Oct. 4vs. C.E. Murray7:30 p.m.W, 47-0
    Oct. 11vs. Scott’s Branch7:30 p.m.W, 42-8
    Oct. 18vs. Hemingway7:30 p.m.W, 32-7
    Oct. 25at East Clarendon7:30 p.m.W, 46-8
    Nov. 1at Timmonsville7:30 p.m.W, 26-20

  • 2013 roster

    No. Name Pos Grade
    64Marvin ArmstrongOL/DL11
    42Jeremy BellamyOL/DL11
    N/AJoshua BoldenRB/DB9
    N/ABronte’ BrittonWR10
    85Davon BromellWR12
    5Quintarius BromellRB/DB11
    3Joshua CanteenQB/CB8
    23Christopher CarterRB/DB12
    24Aaron CochranRB/DB11
    44Louis CollinsLB/DE10
    8Devin CuttinoRB/DE12
    3Israel DavisQB/FS11
    50Izeal DavisLB/LG10
    22Raheem DeaseRB/LB12
    6Trevor DekineOL/DL12
    20Xavier DraytonWR/LB10
    60Darious FranklinOL/DL10
    95Vonte GambleOL/DL12
    19Norman GeathersWR/LB11
    76Kelique GordanOL/DL11
    62Darry GossOL/DL10
    N/ANorman GossN/A9
    12Marquiese GossWB/S10
    25Kelsey GrahamRB/LB9
    25Jarrett GrierOL/LB11
    1Hikeem HamptonRB/DB12
    N/AKenneth JilesOL/DL11
    54O’Neil JohnsonTE/LB12
    33Edjuan JudgeQB/LB10
    55Trevor LewisOL/DL11
    28Calvin MillerRB/S10
    42Eaddy MooreOL/DL11
    2Spencer OwensLB/FB12
    66DeAndre PhillipsOL/DL12
    36Kevin PriceTE/LB9
    77Naquez PringleOL/DL12
    29Molik ReedOL/DL10
    38Tywone ReedWR/LB10
    65Terrance RichardOL/DL12
    82Tyrell RichardWR11
    N/AJaquan SnyderN/A9
    42Samari SumpterTE/LB9
    N/ASam TannerN/A9
    11Kelvin WaitesN/A11
    N/ADeJour WilliamsOL/DL9
    14Brandon YoungOL/DL11

Carvers Bay has tried its best to forget the abrupt end to last year.

Having won nine straight regular-season games, the Bears entered the Class A playoffs as the top seed from the Lower State and were a team many had earmarked for the state championship. Instead, a first-round loss to rival Hemingway destroyed those dreams.

The team lost 10 seniors from last year’s team, including twin brothers Shaquan and Shayton Durand and quarterback Da’Shaun Aiken. The players who remain, however, remember every bit of a disappointing end of 2012 – and more importantly, what caused it.

“That’s a nightmare for us every day we wake up,” senior defensive tackle Naquez Pringle said. “Every day we think about losing to Hemingway. We’ve already talked about staying humble. The game that made us be a little too cocky was beating Timmonsville [in the regular-season finale]. We decided that we were the best, and we didn’t settle down. We weren’t ourselves.

“That game hurt all of us – the coaches, the fans, all of us. We tried not to think about it. But we think about it every day. We can’t take it off our minds.”

It served as motivation for a squad that will, in many ways return to the old-school ways that brought Carvers Bay two state titles during its first 13 seasons. Behind Aiken, the team threw the ball a bit more than in previous years.

This year, with yet another new quarterback, the Bears will return to the run-first, run-second squad it was before.

Junior Israel Davis, who moved up to the varsity after the beginning of last season, will convert from running back to call the plays. He won’t be throwing much, and that’s exactly what coach Nate Thompson wants.

“You don’t have to spread out as much,” Thompson said. “The kids pick it up quite well. We can find receivers and quarterbacks who can match up every now and then. But everybody wants to run the ball. We’ve got some kids who can really run the ball. We want to take advantage of that.”

The primary two ball carriers will be seniors Devin Cuttino and Hikeem Hampton. Both have bounced back from injuries during their junior school years (Cuttino’s came during the track season). But Thompson insists both will also have plenty of others behind them ready to get their shot.

Defensively, no one will draw more attention than Pringle. The defensive lineman has a number of scholarship offers from major BCS schools, and more will follow by the time the season is completed.

He’ll be used sparingly on the offensive side of the ball to maximize his production on defense. But with the bad taste of 2012 still prevalent, Pringle said he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure the end of his senior season is better than that of his junior year.

“I really want to get my ring and help my team get that ring,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll sacrifice it.”

Should everything go to plan, the Bears will be back in the playoffs – and possibly with a better result than the last time around.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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