by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
ROLESVILLE — Rolesville High School has almost everything a high school football program needs to succeed: fan support, high-level coaching and committed athletes. The only thing the Rams don’t have is history.
Friday night football games are tradition at high schools, but Thursday, Aug. 29, 52 young men will take to the field in red and black to represent Rolesville High School in the town’s first football game in more than five decades.
At Wake County’s newest and soon-to-be largest high school, the Rams are receiving the kind of attention a varsity team normally would.
With only freshmen and sophomores at the school this initial year, Rolesville will field a junior varsity team only.
Next year, they will add a varsity team even though the school still won’t have seniors.
“Everything is falling into place,” said football coach Jermaine Evans. “The kids are eager to learn and want to get better and they have bought in to what we are teaching.”
“We are trying to prepare the players mentally and physically to be ready for the challenges that come with a new program,” Evans added. “We want to establish a tradition of what Rolesville football stands for and stay true to who we are and what we expect as coaches.”
Next year will be the toughest year for the Rams, playing at the varsity level with no varsity experience and no seniors.
But for now, the Rams are working to lay a solid foundation for the program with a successful junior varsity season.
“They are learning to be a team,” Evans said. “Their chemistry is starting to come together.”
Evans is pleased with what he has seen from his team so far but there is always room for improvement.
At the Pigskin Scrimmage, the Rams ran 20-25 plays and scored several times.
“Our defense caused a couple of turnovers and we had a fumble recovery,” he said. “I’m not sure if they knew what they were doing but I liked their effort.”
Evans said he won’t be completely satisfied until his team begins winning games, performing well in the classroom and gets a conference championship.
He also emphasized that fans will see players going both ways on offense and defense this season but will try to keep his best 11 players on the field at all times.
Offensively, Rolesville plans to run a multi-spread offense, mixing the run and the pass.
“We’ll run some options as well,” he said. “We’ll probably have more of a ball-controlled spread and create some large running lanes.”
The quarterback position will most likely belong to Carnaji Andrews or Andrew Bardsley, both freshman.
“Both of them should get plenty of reps,” Evans said.
Among the top receivers will be sophomore Colby Cooper and E.J. Hicks, a freshman.
“Right now, they are the ones standing out,” Evans said.
Sophomore Kha’Aliq Lewis is expected to lead the rushing attack for the Rams.
“He has experienced playing at the high school level,” Evans said. “He knows what to expect and he’s a tough hard-nosed runner who is very quick.”
“We have some natural speed on the team and we will get faster,” he added.
Evans also mentioned offensive lineman Dan Noblin, a freshman, who will anchor the line. “This is his first year playing football but he is catching on and looking good,” Evans said.
Tevin Horton, a freshman, is a probable starter on the defensive line along with sophomores Kavon Galberth and Micah Sharpe. Freshman Mark Provencher will line up at the center spot.
Sophomores Greg Bargeman and Justice Jones will see action in the defensive back position.
Weaknesses will be the youth and inexperience of those who have never played football.
“We have a mixture of kids,” Evans said. “Some have played Pee Wee football and Pop Warner. Others have played middle school or junior varsity.”
“It’s also a big difference when you’re trying to build team cohesiveness, when the players are all new to each other,” he added.
The win-loss record isn’t so important this first season, according to Evans, who stresses that he wants his players to give 100-percent effort when they take the field.
“Most importantly is that we start a tradition of Rolesville football and be proud when we step on our field for the first game,” he said.