FOOTBALL TAB -- Aycock preview
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 19, 2010 2:23 PM
Tyler Farmer was a relatively unknown first-year starting quarterback hoping to establish confidence and respect on the varsity level in 2009.
Twelve months later, Farmer's not only been handed the keys to Charles B. Aycock's more pass-oriented offense, but to the entire team.
Farmer exceeded expectations during his junior season by passing for more than 1,200 yards with 10 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He threw for more than 100 yards on six occasions, including four of the last six games.
The Golden Falcons finished the season 10-3 and reached the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs.
"Last year, I came in not having that much confidence but as the season went on we kept going good," said Farmer. "It just worked for us. This year, I've got a whole lot more confidence and I'm hoping to come out strong."
Tailback and 1,900-yard rusher Marcus Cobb, along with linebacker and vocal leader Tyheim Pitt were both lost to graduation. Those departures not only left the door wide open for Farmer to step up on the field, but off it as well.
"Tyler's maturation has just been amazing to watch," said 12th-year Golden Falcons head coach Randy Pinkowski. "Last year, Tyler managed the game. I think his role is going to change this year. This is going to be his team.
"Last year, it was Marcus' and Tyheim's team, this is Tyler's team."
With the loss of Cobb, Pinkowski plans to use a running back-by-committee backfield with seniors Marquis Bryant and Antonio Applewhite sharing carries with fullback Shepard Whitfield.
Aycock also hopes to get the ball in the hands of speedy wide receiver Craig Murdock 15 times a game in several different ways. Sophomore tight end A.J. Mundle and senior receiver Devonte Davis are expected to provide Farmer with more weapons in the passing game.
"Having a back like Marcus casts you into certain formations," said Pinkowski. "This year, I've got a quarterback and receiver who are due their touches. I think that put us into thinking about passing the ball a little more earlier in the contest and earlier in the downs than we did previously."
Pinkowski expects his 3-5-3 defense to be faster than the unit that surrendered fewer than 13 points a game a year ago, and limited nine of its opponents to less than 10 points. Whitfield leads a linebacking group that must replace the loss of Pitt. Applewhite, Murdock and Chris Dawson return to a deep secondary.
"I think this team is a step ahead defensively from last year's team," said Pinkowski. "This is our third year running this 3-5-3 defense and you naturally get good at anything you do with experience. I didn't feel we were complete last year. This year I feel we've got the complete package."
Aycock's two regular-season losses in 2009 came against Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference foes Triton and South Johnston by a combined eight points. A 23-13, second-round playoff loss at Gray's Creek, combined with a 10-win season not only provided the Golden Falcons with valuable lessons, but the confidence to compete with anyone.
"I think my kids have been learning we can play with anybody," said Pinkowski. "I don't think for a long time people thought this place could do that. Now that we're doing it, we're doing it with some success. As long we continue to improve our game we can continue to play with anybody out there."
Aycock opens it season Friday at Bunn.
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