Ties that bind: Glenn, West Forsyth set for Central Piedmont 4-A football clash

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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By Jay Spivey 

For the Clemmons Courier

West Forsyth and Glenn are separated by about 19 miles even though they’re both in the same county, but the two schools are close in some respects with their football programs.

Other than being two schools in the Central Piedmont 4-A, the two head coaches have some ties. Coach Antwon Stevenson of Glenn was hired in January 2015 to replace Aldine Payne. Not long after he was hired, he hired Kevin Wallace to be his offensive coordinator. Wallace, now in his first season as head coach at West Forsyth after being the head coach at Northwest Guilford the previous six seasons, was the offensive coordinator at Glenn for Stevenson’s first two seasons.

Glenn (2-3, 1-1) and West Forsyth (4-1, 2-0) will meet Friday night for Homecoming at Jerry Peoples Stadium in Clemmons.

“We always threw in the summer when I was at Northwest. It was interesting going over there,” Wallace said. “It was my first high school job. So, whenever everyone asks me, I say, “High school and college is apples and oranges. It’s football, but there’s no way to compare it.

“I learned a lot from him on just how to deal with high school kids, and you know, how to deal with the high school dynamic of stuff because that was brand new for me.”

Wallace initially left after his second season at Glenn to become the offensive coordinator at West Forsyth. However, Wallace never actually served as the offensive coordinator during a game because he was named the head coach at Northwest Guilford before the season.

“We had a good staff there,” Wallace said. “It’ll be good to play them.”

Stevenson has built the Bobcats into one of the better teams in the conference.

“We came in. I think we were 5-6 the first year. Second year, we ended up going 8-4 and lost in the first round of the (NCHSAA) playoffs to A.L. Brown,” Wallace said. “He (Stevenson) kind of kept building. He kept building. I think the year after that, they went (10-2) and lost to West (Forsyth) in the last game of the year for the CPC (championship).

“(He) did a really good job. I mean, there’s always been players that have come through there.”

Wallace and Stevenson run similar offenses but with some variations.

“There are similarities,” Wallace said. “I think all pass concepts, I mean, you can tell Air Raid pass concepts, that’s what we are, also. He’s in a pistol some, and I don’t really go in the pistol.”

Glenn is coming off a 40-23 loss last Friday at Reagan.

“We only had about 25 yards rushing,” Stevenson said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball better. Just toss the ball. Of course, we want to toss the ball some, but it can’t be what it was (Friday) night. (Friday) night was probably about 65-35 (%) pass-to-run. And the week before that against Parkland, it was 65-35 the other way. So, we’ve got to be able to run the football, and when we need to take shots, we’ll take shots.”

The Bobcats are led by sophomore quarterback Jerrell Crawford, who is 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, and running backs Joel Hayes (soph., 5-11, 175), Adam Alexander (senior, 5-7, 175), Craig McGhee (soph., 5-7, 175), and Chavone Martin-McCullough (fresh., 5-7, 150).

“I don’t want to look past – you know, people say, ‘You’re going to be good in years to come,’” Stevenson said. “I’m not looking past now. I want to be good now. So, just getting those guys to understand what I’m looking for and what we need from them offensively to be a better offensive team.

Running the football wasn’t a problem last Friday for West Forsyth as it routed Parkland 56-9 at Deaton-Thompson Stadium. Senior Caman Chaplin rushed for 253 yards on nine rushes, with four touchdowns, all in the first quarter.

Included in Chaplin’s touchdowns were runs of 89 and 66 yards.

“We’ve got to rally to the ball,” Stevenson said. “Our guys up front must play exceptional. I don’t know if you can stop a back like that. You just want to contain him as much as possible. I think holding him under 125 yards is a win. I really believe that.”

Each team that the Titans will face this season knows that the offense goes through Chaplin. The Bobcats know that, and Stevenson said his defensive catalysts are Robert Jordan (Sr., 5-10, 205), who missed the Reagan game with an injury but should be back. Also, free safety Amauri Wright (Sr., 5-10, 175), as well as safety Joel Hayes (soph, 5-11, 175) and cornerback Jzir Dixon (Jr., 5-8, 140) will try to stop Chaplin, quarterback Bert Rice and a stable of good receivers.

“The thing about that is you can’t give up the big run,” Stevenson said. “The ones that deflate you aren’t the 15-20-yard runs. It’s the 40-, 50-, 60-yard runs that end up touchdowns. Those are the ones that we can’t give up. We can’t give up those types of scores.”

Rice didn’t have many pass attempts last Friday against Parkland, but he made the most of them. He was 4-of-6 passing for two touchdowns and 70 yards.
“I think we’ll get back to tempo,” Wallace said. “We used a little tempo against Parkland, but there were drives that were one or two plays long, that makes it hard to get much stuff. We’ll tempo and try to catch them off guard on some things. You know, we didn’t pull many personnel groupings or formations.

“As everyone knows, I’m going to have some sort of funky formation, stuff like that.”

One of the big storylines is the conference as a whole. Powerhouse East Forsyth lost at Davie County last week. That means that only Davie County and West Forsyth are 2-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A.

Glenn, Reagan, East Forsyth, and Reynolds, which shocked Mount Tabor last Friday, are all 1-1. Mount Tabor and Parkland are both 0-2.

“Right now, we’re right in the think of things,” Stevenson said. “…We’re right there. Our destiny is in our hands. Of course, you always want to be undefeated in the conference, but hey, we are where we are. We look forward. So, that’s the bright spot of the whole thing, even with us being so young and having so many new pieces. We’re right in the thick of things.

“There’s only two undefeated teams left in the conference. We’re playing one on Friday. And if we win that game, they have the same record in conference as we do. So, yeah, it’s going to be crazy.”

West Forsyth is one of the two undefeated teams in the conference, but with parity, the margin for error is small. There’s also the distraction of homecoming.

“They’re a relatively loose group, and they still get the job done,” Wallace said. “I think we’ve got to focus more on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (during the week).”