LUMBERTON — When Hurricane Matthew hit Robeson County, it misplaced many families like Lumberton senior Brandon Norris’ from their homes.
Norris, a multi-faceted player for the Pirates on the gridiron, knew that one step for him on his road to recovering from the storm’s aftermath was getting back to the football field, and making sure his teammates were safe.
“When I got to talk to him at first, he was worried about everyone else,” Lumberton coach Mike Setzer said, “but the first thing he told me was that we can’t cancel the season.”
Norris finished as one of the top threats all over the field for Lumberton and now takes his abilities to the next level at North Carolina Wesleyan next year as he signed his letter of intent on Thursday.
”It feels great because I have worked hard to get where I am and now I’m ready to go,” Norris said.
As a receiver, Norris was second on the team with 518 yards and three touchdowns, but he also played at several other positions from quarterback, running back and defensive back throughout the season.
“We asked him to play a lot of different positions and he was good at all of them,” Setzer said. “Every time we asked he never stuck his nose up to it.”
One of the smallest guys on the field, Norris made up for it with his speed and work ethic.
“I just made sure to out-work everybody,” Norris said. “I wake up every day and I tell myself that I won’t be out-worked,” Norris said.
“He already knows that people are going to look down on him, but that just makes him work harder,” Setzer said. “He will find a way to be bigger, faster and stronger and he’s determined that he’s going to get to you first.”
He returned a punt in the Nov. 4 game against Purnell Swett 75 yards for a touchdown in the Pirates’ emotional return home after Hurricane Matthew.
“It felt great to be back on that field and I was glad I could help out my team and coaches,” Norris said.
Norris joins Monteris Cromartie at NC Wesleyan. Cromartie graduated last year from Lumberton.
“He’s like a big brother to me and he’s helped me out during the recruiting process,” Norris said of Cromartie. “It will be great to have someone there that knows how to things goes and can help prepare myself.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.