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Gray’s Creek’s Javon Webb is player to count on for Bears in new season

Cape Fear expected to prevail over Wilmington Laney


Gray’s Creek football coach Jon Sherman figured with the stable of experienced running backs he had returning this season, his Bears were going to be pretty solid as far as ground offense was concerned.

In last Friday’s win over county rival Pine Forest, Sherman’s thinking was confirmed with an exclamation point provided by last season’s top Bear rusher, Javon Webb.

A year ago, Webb finished the season with 945 yards on the ground, just under 100 per game.

Against the Trojans, he racked up almost a third of the total yards he compiled a year ago, rushing 31 times for 310 yards and scoring four touchdowns in the Bears’ 56-35 win. The victory pushed their record to 3-0. 

Sherman said he knew with Webb’s experience and performance last fall that he would be the player the Bears would likely count on to lead the ground attack this season, adding he’s been with the varsity since his sophomore year and is now a senior.

When Webb arrived two years ago, speed and quickness were his primary assets. Since then, Sherman said, he has gotten stronger and became more physical.

“I like his point of attack,” Sherman said.

Webb feels he’s been gradually improving each year he’s been in the Gray’s Creek program, but even he was a bit surprised by his explosion against Pine Forest.

“The first run sets the tone,” he said. “As soon as I get that feeling off that run, it was a good run. From there I knew it was going to be a good game.”

While Webb said he feels he has his own style of running the football, he likes to borrow things from other runners he sees.

“I have this tendency to imitate what I see somebody else do,” he said. “I just would watch highlights, random plays. There’s never been anybody I searched out in particular.”

Webb said the key to Gray’s Creek’s success so far this year is maintaining composure and not allowing opponents to get into their heads.

“We need just to not get complacent, stay hungry, keep going at it in practice,” he said.

While Webb and the offense have been the best feature of the Bears this season, Sherman said he’s aware they’ve got to address some issues on the defensive side of the ball.

They’ve given up 75 points in just three games, including the season-high 35 to Pine Forest last week. But Sherman is still happy where his team is at 3-0 in their bye week heading into next Friday’s game at Purnell Swett.

The Bears beat the Rams last year to climb to 4-0, but Sherman isn’t counting next Friday’s meeting as a victory yet.

“Swett is 3-0,” Sherman said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get to the next week and see where that takes us. We look too far ahead and we’ll get hit in the mouth like we did last year.”

After a 4-0 start a year ago, the Bears finished 2-4 and missed the state playoffs, losing their last three games by lopsided scores.

Webb said his goals for the rest of the season are to keep looking toward getting better and moving forward.

“Stay dynamic,” he said. “Be able to change how I run the ball. Definitely be more patient.”

This week’s picks

I’m stuck on five wins per week, but the good news for me is I had my best week in losses. Last Friday, I went 5-1, running my season total to 15-6, 71.4%.

Here is tonight’s abbreviated forecast. Douglas Byrd, E.E. Smith, Gray’s Creek, Pine Forest, South View, Terry Sanford and Westover all have open dates.

  • Cape Fear at Wilmington Laney: My friend and former Gray’s Creek wrestling coach Earl Horan is now on the staff at Laney. He may be able to provide the Buccaneers with some intel on Cape Fear, but I don’t think it will be enough to thwart a road win for the Colts. Cape Fear 21, Laney 12.
  • Jack Britt at Scotland: Tough times continue for the Buccaneers at the hands of their former coach, Richard Bailey. Scotland 30, Jack Britt 8.
  • Hoke County at Seventy-First: This is the annual Battle of Raeford Road, but I don’t expect it to be much of a battle. Seventy-First 31, Hoke County 6.

Follow Earl Vaughan Jr.  on Twitter at @EarlVaughanJr

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Cumberland County, Fayetteville, football, high schools, Pine Forest, Gray's Creek