ECC 2009 preseason football poll
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 11, 2009 1:46 PM
Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference newcomer Triton was a unanimous favorite to win the league at Monday's preseason meeting.
The Hawks received 25 points and five first-place votes. Coach Joe McCullen's team returns 23 seniors from a squad that went 8-4 a year ago.
Triton joins the ECC from the Cape Fear Valley Conference and has never won a conference title in football since the school opened in 1985.
"We're excited about joining a new conference," said McCullen. "I hope we're healthy enough by the time the conference schedule rolls around that we can be competitive."
Eastern Wayne garnered 17 points followed by Charles B. Aycock with 14 points. The ECC's other new member, South Johnston, finished third with 13 points and received the other first-place vote. Southern Wayne (12) and North Lenoir (9) rounded out the poll.
The Warriors and first-year head coach Guy Williams will look to build upon a 5-7 campaign from last season.
"We have decent talent," said Williams. "We're a little shallow at certain positions depth wise. We're improving."
Aycock is coming off a 4-7 season and returns eight starters on each side of the ball. Quarterback Craig Murdock has moved to wide receiver and tailback Marcus Cobb returns along with fullback Tyheim Pitt. Junior Tyler Farmer has taken over at quarterback and head coach Randy Pinkowski is confident in his decision to move back to the I-formation.
"My coaches are very comfortable with the I-formation and my kids are very comfortable with what we're doing," Pinkowski said. "Plus, when you have a running back like Marcus, there's a reason to have a smile on your face. Craig has a special skill set as far as catching the ball goes.
"Tyler is probably the most complete quarterback I've had since I've been at Aycock."
South Johnston joins the ECC from the CFVC e after a 4-7 season in 2008. The Trojans return five starters on offense and 10 on defense. Quarterback Pat Dunigan and receiver Dee Williams, both three-year starters, return to South Johnston's spread offense.
"We're excited about being in a new conference," said Trojans head coach Joe Salas. "Preparation will be the big thing and finding out what everyone is running and adjusting your gameplan accordingly. They play football the same way we do so we're okay."
Southern Wayne returns just two starters on each side of the ball and has only nine players with previous varsity experience. The Saints finished 1-10 last season.
"This is the youngest team I've ever had," said 14-year Southern Wayne head coach Bob Warren. "If we can stay healthy I think we're going to grow as the season goes on."
North Lenoir alum Calvin Sutton has taken over head coaching duties after spending last season as defensive coordinator at Kinston. The Hawks started the 2008 season 3-1 but lost seven straight games to end the year 3-8.
"I'm just hoping to be competitive and put together a competitive football team," said Sutton. "I'm pretty familiar with this conference having been at Kinston last year."