LUMBERTON — For the first time in the event’s 65-year history, Robeson County will send three graduating seniors to Greensboro in July to play in the East-West All-Star football game hosted by the North Carolina Coaches Association.
Area defensive player of the year Demetri Sheridan, St. Pauls offensive lineman Shayron Jones and Blake Greene, No. 3 in the state record books for all-time touchdown responsibility, have each been invited on the East side.
Region coaches Richard Bailey from Scotland and West Bladen’s Kim Cain helped assist East football coach Brian Foster during the selection process in the southeastern portion of the state as invited members of his staff.
In addition to the football event that week, Fairmont’s Michael Baker will coach the East boys basketball team and is expected to bring with him a player or two from the area. Lumberton all-state defender Bradley Burnette will appear in the soccer all-star game.
“Right now we’ve got five, possibly six, athletes and coaches who will represent Robeson County (in Greensboro) which is truly outstanding,” said county athletic director Jason Suggs. “It’s a testament to not only the level of athletics currently in our area, but each one of these student-athletes has shown a commitment in the classroom. have put in a commitment to classroom. We’ve got some hard-working kids.”
Sheridan, a defensive captain at linebacker for Lumberton who accumulated nearly 200 tackles last season, is coming off his best campaign on the hardwood with a team-best 13.1 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He is the Pirates’ 27th selection to the NCCA game, six more than the county’s five current five high schools combined.
“I have a chance to play against (some of) the greatest competition in North Carolina,” Sheridan said. “It’s a precious opportunity.”
Jones, a four-year starter up front for Trey Sasser at St. Pauls, plans to enroll in a junior college for academic purposes while Sheridan and Greene are mulling over final options at Division II and DIII institutions. Jones has the size and ability to play major college football according to his coach.
“He’s got some untapped potential and I think he can make himself into what he wants to be,” Sasser said. “He has the size and strength to go anywhere, it just depends on how hard he wants to work. Shayron can do anything Shayron wants to do. He’s been an outstanding player for us.”
Greene took the ACT a final time last month and scored high enough to achieve full-qualifier status. Belhaven University, a private liberal arts school in Jackson, Miss., recently hired Air Raid guru Hal Mumme as its head coach and his business relationship with Red Springs coach George Coltharp formed a near instantaneous attraction to Greene.
Greene started nearly every game of his prep career in the uptempo, short-passing attack and says he would feel comfortable moving into a system with the same offensive principles. Catawba and Methodist are still on the table as well, though it’s not certain he would play quarterback at either program.
“I want to become a coach eventually and need to go somewhere that looks out for my best interests,” Greene said. “It doesn’t have to be close, but I do want to play quarterback. I think I’ve proved I can play the position.”
Robeson County’s All-Time East-West Football Invites
LUMBERTON (26): Jermaine Kesler (2010); Jalaquon McNeill (2010); Brad Herring (2002); Keyshorn Smith (1996); Eddie Lesane (1988); Michael Rising (1987); Jeff Fairley (1985); James Thompson (1984); Darryl Thomas (1979); Ruffin McNeill (1976); Reginald Townsend (1976); David Guy (1973); Chip Barnes (1970); Paul Willoughby (1969); Greg Simpson (1968); Sandy Faulk (1966); Doug McEwen (1966); Billy Bryan (1965); HL Robinson (1963); Tommy Thompson (1963); Leonard Baxley (1960); Coach Dwight Holshouser (1952); Willie Rogers (1952); RL Stocks (1952); Carl Everleigh (1951); Raymond Welker (1950)
FAIRMONT (7): Coach Kim Brown (2008); Justin Lamb (2008); Bobby Floyd (2003); Bradley East (2001); John Floyd (1979); Steve Peck (1969); Mike Boaz (1966)
RED SPRINGS (5): Victor McBryde (1989); Vance Locklear (1988); James Lucas (1988); Coach Clyde Parrish (1988); Steven Dunn (1975)
ST. PAULS (4): Coach Tasker Fleming (2003); Channing Pone (2003); Anthony McMillan (1982); Breck Regan (1958)
SOUTH ROBESON (2): Coach Barry Leonard (2007); Vonta Leach (2000)
PURNELL SWETT (1): Coach Frank Jernigan (2001)
Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.