Summer workouts have begun and FB season is just around the corner. The MEC welcomes a new team this year, the N. Brunswick Scorpions move up to 3A and join the conference. Here is an early break down of the conference.
Hoggard- The Vikes finally put things together in the 2nd half of the season and made it to the 3rd round of the playoffs losing to SC. The Viking have a lot of pieces returning but have some big holes to fill. They return their QB (Jones), who may be one of the top 20 QB in the state. He has been offered by Elon and more will come. He is a duel threat QB and should have a tremendous senior season. Hoggard should be much stronger on defense, as they return 2 good DE's and MLB. They also are strong in the secondary lead by rising Jr CB (Kemp) who has D1 offers. Hoggard return 2 WR with experience but they will need some size and Chris Toutle will provide that. Her is big, athletic and can run. Hoggard will be strong at TE and FB as well. Big holes are on the offensive line, LB and at RB. Hoggard should be favorite to win the conference along with NH.
NH- NH lost in the 2nd round last season and return some nice pieces. They have 2 good QB in Meehan and Walston. Walston is probably a D1 baseball player and I have heard he may not play. If he does I feel he will beat out Meehan. Walston could end up being a D1 QB as well. He has tremendous arm strength and he will be a year stronger. NH has 2 good WR with Wiz and Taylor and they return a lot of offensive lineman. NH always has plenty of RB but they lacked an explosive back last season and that will be a question for them this season. NH will have to fill a lot of holes on defense. NH drops to 3A so it will be interesting to see how they develop and how far they go.
Laney- Laney was a big surprise last season in the playoffs taking WF to the end and losing a very close game. Laney strength was their defense and they loose 9 of their top 11 defensive players. Laney offense was one dimensional. They also loose one of the best RB in school history as Watkins graduates. Laney has 2 good athletes at RB and at QB. Laney had some good talent on JV last season and they will have to step in and play well for Laney to compete. I think Laney has a long season in front of them.
Ashley- AHS showed much improvement last season as the team played much more disciplined football and as they change the culture. Turner has done a great job however he lacks athletes. The Eagles do return some nice pieces on defense and that is Turners strong suit. AHS played with a lot of teams for 3 qrts and then ran out of gas. Lack of depth and lack of time poss on offense killed this team last season and they will have to overcome that this season as well.
South Brunswick- Coach Lewis is heading into his second year and brings a lot of players back. A new system and new culture is being implemented and things look good for the Cougars. SB added coach Brock who just recently stepped down at N. Brunswick and will bring great value to the staff. SB return their QB, RB, and WR's and most of the O line. They also bring back much of their productivity on the defensive side of the ball. They will close the gap this year but we will have to see just how much. This team needs confidence more than anything else.
West Brunswick- WB returns their QB which is good, however he only threw for 800 yards last season. Thats because WB had the best RB in the conference (McCray) who has graduated along with the teams 2 other RB and their 3 best WR's. The Trojans seem to reload each year and they will need to do so this season if they want to compete for a conf championship.
Topsail- The Pirates could be good this season. They always seem to have good size up front and they return the best freshman RB (Lavalle) I have seen in this area in a while. This kid was born to run. They also return another very good RB (Montano) who was injured in the 1st game of the season. It will be interesting to see what The Pirates do to utilize these 2 great players. They also return their QB. They return about half of their defense, which wasn't very good last season.
North Brunswick- I saw NB play in a 7 on 7 last season and they were the best looking team, physically. They ended up 7-5 after playing a strong schedule. The Scorpions loose most of their skilled players as well as their coach. There will be plenty of holes to fill and questions to answer. NB always is one of the most athletic teams in the area but things are really up in the air as of now.