West Forsyth athletes to be features in All-Star Game action
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2023
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
The annual East-West All-Star Games are next week in the Greensboro area, and that usually means that a number of West Forsyth senior athletes are well represented.
The games, which are held next Monday-Wednesday for recently graduated seniors, are for girls and girls basketball on Monday in the Greensboro Coliseum, girls and boys soccer next Tuesday at Macpherson Stadium in Bryan Park, and football is next Wednesday at Jamieson Stadium at Grimsley High School.
The Titans have two girls soccer players – midfielder Raegan Williams and defensive back Kate Schaffer – and two football players – defensive end JD LeGrant and kicker Alejandro Morillon-Garcia. Girls soccer is scheduled for 6:30 next Tuesday, and football is scheduled for 8 p.m. next Wednesday.
Scott Bilton, who resigned last month as the girls soccer coach at West Forsyth, had a chance to break the good news to Williams and Schaffer at the first practice after spring break.
“They were pleasantly surprised,” Bilton said. “They’ve both been so good. I’m sure they thought they might’ve had a chance at it, but it still was that realization of once you actually get selected. It makes it a little bit more real.”
Both players have elected not to play college soccer. Williams will be going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Schaffer will be going to N.C. State.
“It’s has been a goal of mine to make it to this game kind of all throughout high school,” Williams said. “It was super-exciting to hear – one, that Kate and I would get to play in another game together, and just to have another game before my high school career is over.”
The Titans finished this past May with an overall record of 19-4-1 and 13-1 in the Central Piedmont 4-A.
“When you’re out of season to stay in shape and want to be at your best, but with this game, it’s kind of given me that motivation,” Schaffer said. “I’m just getting more excited. You know, we’re getting our final emails before we report, and it’s just exciting.
“I think of the friendships I might make or the people to see. I’m just getting really excited.”
It’s special for Williams and Schaffer because they’ve been friends for more than 10 years.
“We’ve actually known each other since we were four or five years old,” Schaffer said. “So, we have a relationship on the field, but even off of the field, you know, (Williams) has been such a great friend, and her family is a friend to mine. So, playing with her at West and being co-captains this year, it was honestly, it sounds silly, but it was a dream.
“To get to do that beside her just because we are so similar, but then we have qualities that are different that make each other better and make our team better. So, it’s just super-special to play alongside her all this time.”
Although they play different positions on the soccer field, they still knew how to communicate.
“I would say Kate and I’s friendship kind of started through soccer, but it quickly became more of like family, kind of,” Williams said. “And our families have grown closer over the years, and I would say our relationship has changed to just seeming more like family than anything else.”
Rarely do players, who have just graduated, as well as the head coach, who just resigned, get one last celebration. However, even though Bilton isn’t coaching the All-Star Game next week, he will be there.
“I told them, too, and I’m almost choking up now telling you, that if this thought crossed my mind last year, there is no way in the world I could’ve done it (resign) because I needed, for me personally, I wanted to see those two girls out,” Bilton said. “That’s not a slight to my other seniors in any shape or form because I love them, but Kate and Raegan were with me all four years, and they were just really special.”
Even though it’s July and likely to be sweltering, the football all-star game is the culmination of the N.C. Coaches Association Coaches Clinic.
For two former West Forsyth players, it’s one last time to put on the pads, and even though they won’t be wearing green and gold, the colors of the Titans, they get to step on the field at Jamieson Stadium representing West Forsyth.
One of those players is LeGrant, who is six feet tall and was nominated by Adrian Snow, who resigned as the head coach of the Titans late last fall.
“I thought it was wonderful. I had another chance to get back on that field,” LeGrant. “That’s what I was worried about.”
LeGrant has signed to play football this fall at Bridgewater.
“Just getting back in shape, pumping that iron again, getting right, getting ready,” LeGrant said in terms of preparing for the game. “It’s a total honor. And I’m just taking it in step-by-step. It’s an all-star game, so I’m really honored. I’m humble about it. And I’m just ready to play again.”
Snow, his assistant coaches, and family members are expected to attend the game. Many West Forsyth players thought last year’s NCHSAA Class 4-A playoff at East Forsyth would be their last high school game after finishing 4-7.
“I’m going to take it all in because I thought East was going to be my last high school game,” LeGrant said. “So, I actually have another chance to put it all out on the field, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Morillon-Garcia isn’t your prototypical kicker at 5-10, 245 pounds, but he’s definitely proven people wrong with his booming leg.
“I improved a little bit working on the form and all that because when I first started, I’d never played football, kicked a football in my life,” Morillon-Garcia said. “I had the power and all that, but my technique was a little off. So, I just tried to keep on working on it and hopefully got better. And I guess it worked.”
Chuck Lott, who worked with Morillon-Garcia as a volunteer kicking coach at West Forsyth, saw the improvement. Morillon-Garcia improved so much that he has signed to kick this fall at Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte.
“I’ve been working with that young man for two years,” Lott said. “He showed up by accident in PE class at West Forsyth. (Coach) Snow asked me if I could make a kicker out of him, and I said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’ He’s a talent. He’s a heck of a talent.”
The relationship as a coach and athlete springboarded from there.
“He’s been a son to me. Absolutely,” Lott said. “We have spent a lot of time together.”
And Morillon-Garcia, not only gets one more chance to play with LeGrant, he gets to represent West Forsyth one more time.
“Some people will recognize me, saying, ‘Oh, you’re the West Forsyth kicker,’ and all that. Some people told me that I was really good. And some people say that I could’ve gone to DI colleges and that I could go pro. That just made me feel good.”