Hope: Rockets need a quarterback

By Kevin Spradlin and Hayley White

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Seventh-grader Omarion Brown, left, hustles during wind sprints on Tuesday at the first day of tryouts for the Rockingham Middle School football team.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Seventh-grader Omarion Brown, left, hustles during wind sprints on Tuesday at the first day of tryouts for the Rockingham Middle School football team.

PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Omarion Brown lives and breathes football.

The Rockingham Middle School seventh-grader hopes to make the Rockets football team this season as a defensive back. The first day of tryouts on Tuesday on the school baseball field was Brown’s first opportunity to show head coach Patrick Hope what he has to offer.

And Brown is fast.

“He lives football,” said his mother, who stood outside the fence in a spot of shade and watched with other family members.

Brown joined nearly 60 other student-athletes for the first of three days of tryouts. There’s room on the roster for 50 players. Tryouts continue at 3:30 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday. Everyday practices begin Sept. 2. Hope said up to another 10 students are expected to try out for the team over the next two days, including three who didn’t have their physicals turned in by practice time.

Defensive back is not Hope’s biggest concern. To improve upon the team’s 4-1 mark last season, the second-year coach needs to find a quarterback.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Patrick Hope, head coach of the Rockingham Rockets football squad, shows the new players how to complete some agility drills during the first day of tryouts.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Patrick Hope, head coach of the Rockingham Rockets football squad, shows the new players how to complete some agility drills during the first day of tryouts.

The search began with Tuesday’s tryouts, which opened with dynamic stretching drills — high knees, lunges, knee touches, karaokes, side shuffles and sprints.

The athletes didn’t get away with much under the watchful eyes of Hope and first-year assistant Uriah White.

“You better be trying to run like you’re trying to make the team,” Hope reminded the group with a  fair but firm command voice.

Only 18 players return from last year’s second-place team, including running back Bobby Terry, lineman Jake Ransom and all-around athlete Jahyece Stanback.

All four county middle school teams are scheduled to participate in the jamboree at Spring Hill Middle School in Scotland County on Sept. 16 <changed from Sept. 10>. The regular season schedule includes:

* Sept. 24 at West Hoke
* Oct. 1 at Rohanen
* Oct. 8 vs. Southern
* Oct. 15 at Ellerbe
* Oct. 22 vs. Anson
* Oct. 29 vs. Hamlet
* Nov. 5 championship game

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Sports

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