For 10 Pinecrest seniors, it was a fabulous finish to their high school football days and the start of a major step in their futures. Years of hard work led to Monday when they gathered on the 50-yard line of their home field with family and coaches as they signed their national letter of intent to play college football. Friends and teammates watched from the stands, in a show of support, even as temperatures rose into the 90s.
Nico Marella signs letter of intent to play college football at Wingate University.
Head coach Chris Metzger, who earlier this month announced he would leave the program after 14 years, talked about each player with pride and encouraged the underclassmen to heed the example set by the seniors. Metzger spoke about character, effort, trust, servant leadership and the sense of family that his players have shown over the years.
Head coach Chris Metzger.
Each graduating senior thanked his parents, coaches and teammates in short speeches before announcing the college they selected to play football, donning the cap of their new team and sitting for their official photo with pride and satisfaction.
Perhaps Jaiden Washington said it best: “The past four years have been an exciting journey, from the 5 a.m. wake-up calls to the 90-degree summer practices, it has been quite the ride. With this program, I have had the best moments of my life. That is not just due to the game of football but to the coaches and my teammates who made it fun even through the toughest of times.”
The 10 seniors that will be going on to play college football in the fall are:
Jeff Yurk, Elon
Braxton Barber, Davidson
Nico Marella, Wingate
Savren Norton, Wingate
Niquan Hill, St. Augustine’s
Taylor Aichele, St. Augustine’s
Jaiden Washington, Naval Academy Student Coach
Bruce ‘Mac’ McFadden, Garner Webb
Bryson Coe, Gilford
Gibson, Macrae, UNC Chapel Hill
Feature photo: Bryson Coe signs letter of intent to play football at Gilford College.
~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.