GREENSBORO — Demetri Sheridan resume last senior at Lumberton includes several high-profile honors. The senior was named All-Conference, All-County and All-Region honors, along with the county Defensive Player of the Year award.
That’s why it was hardly shocking to some when Sheridan went off at the 69th annual NCCA East-West All-Star Football Game.
Sheridan powered the East’s defense, taking his captain’s role seriously and racking up a game-high 10 tackles. When he wasn’t making a tackle, his blue number four could almost always be found in the vicinity of the action.
As the teams gathered around the middle of the field to hear the announcement of who had won the MVP awards, there were few shocked faces when Sheridan’s name came over the loudspeaker at Jamieson Stadium.
“It means a lot, because I’m a defensive-oriented player,” Sheridan said. “I just went out there and had fun.”
The game ended in a 10-10 tie when the West hit a game-tying field goal as time expired but that didn’t take away from what the weekend meant to Sheridan, who was one of three players from the county participating from the game.
“Being around a lot of good players helped me learn a lot, and had a good time around all the teammates and we worked hard,” he said.
Hard work is nothing new to Sheridan though.
Lumberton football coach Mike Setzer is one of many people who will back up that claim.
“I have personally watched Demetri come out to the high school to work out both by himself and with other people following him,” Setzer said. “That’s why we were so intent on trying to get somebody to give him an opportunity (in college), because whoever gives this young man an opportunity, he’s going to give them more than they are going to give him.”
By halftime, Setzer was confident in Sheridan’s bid to take home the MVP. Setzer said the community of Lumberton will be missing not just a quality football player when Sheridan moves on to college, but a quality individual.
“How do you replace a Demetri Sheridan?” Setzer said. “When you say student-athlete, that’s what he means to Lumberton, because he is exactly what you want out of a student-athlete. He means so much more than just a football player. In this day and age when so many are choosing to do wrong, he’s choosing to do right.”
Shayron Jones of St. Pauls and Blake Greene of Red Springs also garnered high praise from their supporters in the stands.
“I’m just pleased for him,” St. Pauls football coach Trey Sasser said about Jones. “His four years of hard work have paid off with this reward. Being able to compete with some of the best in the state in his last high school football game.”
For Jones, there was still the hopes of pulling out the victory, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment he had of the experience.
“To be honest, I really don’t even want to go home,” Jones said. “I will never forget these boys, I had a good time with them. I’m going to miss them.”
That same sentiment was shared by Greene after the final whistle blew.
“It helped me to grow as a person man,” he said. “These players from different areas, you see different backgrounds and different people. I’m not ready to go home. I could play a whole season with these boys.”
Greene won’t be playing a season with the East team, but he will be moving on to another chapter as he will be playing for Division II Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., next season.
The biggest part of the game for Greene was getting to play one more high school game in front of his father, who has been a major drive in his playing career.
“That’s my father man, that’s my heart,” he said. “He supported me, I have to support him in the long run.”
For Greene’s father, Brentley Clark, the feeling was a mutual, and there was a feeling of pride in his son accomplishing one of his goals.
“As he was growing up, he had to set a goal for himself,” Brentley said. “He asked me would I stand by him through it, and I said yeah, and he pulled through with it and now his next step is college.”
That next step is one Blake is excited for as well.
“Meeting different people and getting better as a person,” he said. “Football isn’t always going to be here so I have to pursue after football.”
With four years of high school coming to a close for the three seniors, they all said there couldn’t have been a better way to finish their careers.
“The biggest memories I’m taking away from this weekend is all the laughs we had, how we practiced hard and just got out there for this game right here,” Sheridian said.