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He guided Seventy-First to two state championship and won five altogether. He says this year's team is 'a really special bunch of kids.'

Plus: a preview of Friday's title game

When it comes to talking state football championships at Seventy-First High School, no man has more experience than the guy who won a pair of them for the Falcons, then added another at South View and two more at Asheville Reynolds before retiring.
Former Seventy-First head coach Bobby Poss earned three of his five state championships at Kenan Stadium where the Falcons will play Hickory for this year’s 3-A title Friday at 7 p.m.
Ironically, both the championships he won for Seventy-First were played at the Falcons’ Loyd E. Auman athletic field in 1984 and 1986. That last one was the final time a 4-A state championship football game in North Carolina was played on a high school field. Since then, all the finals have moved largely to college stadiums.
Poss learned a few tricks over the years to keep his players calm and not let them get overwhelmed by the championship atmosphere.
In each case, when it was in Chapel Hill, his team left the day of the game to avoid too much dead time. When there was a title game in another class ahead of his team, he’d arrive soon enough to let his players relax and watch some of that game.
That won’t be an option for the Falcons since they are a standalone game tonight. Another problem Seventy-First won’t have is another team chasing them out of their locker room or waiting for a team to pack up and leave.
Poss remembered one year when the team from the prior title game was taking too much time and his squad had to start taping outside the dressing room.
Whatever challenges Seventy-First faces, Poss thinks the Falcons are ready for them based on what he’s read on social media.
“I think they’ve got a really special bunch of kids,’’ he said. “They are all very much into being a good football team. I sense they are a pretty bonded group of guys.’’
He’s also impressed with the way Duran McLaurin has handled the team and thinks he’s up to the task of guiding them through a title experience.
“As a coach, you have got to keep that atmosphere and preparation under control,’’ he said. “There is definitely a special time and you need to let them know how special it is. You don’t want to take that away from them. It is a really big honor.’’
But, Poss added, it’s also just another football game to get ready for. Cover your bases. Practice well.
“Coach McLaurin seems to be a pretty sharp guy,’’ Poss said. “He’s not going to get distracted.’’
Poss also thinks the history of the Seventy-First community supporting its team is well known. “As I recall, the hallways, the surrounding atmosphere that week, is pretty uplifting,’’ he said.
He even extended it to the community beyond Seventy-First, noting the city of Fayetteville has often turned out to support local teams chasing state championships.
“All the rivalry and bitterness kind of departed because you were going to represent Fayetteville,’’ he said. “The community really does want you to bring back the championship to the town. I think Fayetteville is going to be special when it comes to something like that.’’
Here’s a capsule look at some of the stars for Seventy-First and Hickory:
  • Hickory - Isaiah Lackey, 279-1,797, 33 touchdowns.
  • Seventy-First - Donavan Frederick, 135-1,512, 10 touchdowns; Jayson Franklin, 147-1,404, 15 touchdowns.
  • Hickory - Brady Stober, 220-313, 3,596 yards, 47 touchdowns.
  • Seventy-First - DeAndre Nance, 105-149, 1,549 yards, 18 touchdowns.
  • Hickory - Jamien Little, 61-1,239, 20 touchdowns; Deshawn Medley, 56-833, nine touchdowns.
  • Seventy-First - Amire Drummond, 28-369, five touchdowns; Jytavius Whitted, 26-378, three touchdowns; Zayvion Hill, 22-318, six touchdowns.
  • Hickory - Turner Wood, 168; Tristian Williams, 154.
  • Seventy-First - Donavan Frederick, 168; Zayvion Hill, 141.

Mid-South Sports will broadcast the Seventy-First-Hickory state 3-A championship football game on Sunny 94.3 FM. The pregame show begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Seventy-First, Hickory, Bobby Poss, football, champions