LHS duo named preseason all-state
By RYAN HERMAN
The high school football season doesn’t officially begin until next month, but Lincolnton High’s defense is already getting some attention.
The school placed two on NCPreps.com’s preseason all-state team for defense, and was the only school in the state to feature multiple selections.
Rising seniors Quinlyn Harris, who had an area-best 10 interceptions as a junior, and Darian Roseboro, one of the country’s top-rated defensive tackles, were two of a dozen recognized for their individual defensive production in 2013.
The teams, which were released on Friday, give fans an inside look at 28 of the top players to watch for the upcoming season, which kicks off on Aug. 1.
“We feel like we have a lot of parts and pieces coming together on the defense,” longtime Wolves coach Scott Cloninger said. “We’re still looking for some people to step up, but we feel … we have people that can step up and make plays.”
Harris was a thorn in the sides of offenses last season, as he picked off nearly a dozen passes and was the only Lincoln County player named to the Associated Press’ all-state team at season’s end.
Cloninger said he isn’t sure of the school record for interceptions, but feels when Harris leaves he’ll most likely hold the record.
“If he isn’t right now, he will be,” said Cloninger, who announced earlier this month of his plans to retire at the end of the year. “He’s one of those guys who’s a very good defensive corner man. He has a knack for the ball in the air. He gets to the ball well, and is what I like to call a ball hawk.”
Roseboro enters the season as one of the highest-rated recruits in Lincolnton football history.
The strongside defensive end was named the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference Defensive Player of the Year for 2013 after he had 124 tackles (21 for loss), 10 sacks and seven deflected passes. He is currently ranked 161st nationally in ESPN.com’s list of the top 300 recruits for the Class of 2015, is ranked 19th overall at defensive tackle, and is considered the sixth-best recruit in the state, regardless of position.
Roseboro announced his list of top six schools via Twitter last week, which included Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State and Tennessee.
Over the weekend he announced, again on Twitter, he was committing to one of those schools later this month.
“Darian is one of those people who’s on everyone’s radar,” Cloninger said. “He works his butt off in the weight room.”
The Wolves went 9-5 in 2013, finished third in the SD-7 after going 5-2 in conference play, and reached the third round of the NCHSAA state 2A playoffs before falling 13-10 at Reidsville.
Their playoff run included a 28-27 upset win at top-seeded Winston-Salem Carver in the second round, and they bounced back to win six of their final eight games after starting the season 1-2.
Lincolnton will open its season on Aug. 22 at North Lincoln –– a game the Wolves won last year, 28-27 –– and will do so with the league’s fifth-best defense from 2013 in terms of yards at 283.2 yards allowed per game. Its defense against the pass was the fourth-best in the SD-7 at 98.5 yards allowed per game.
After their 2013 playoff run and what they have returning, many pundits and fans feel the Wolves have a legitimate shot at the school’s third NCHSAA state championship.
If that holds true, the two preseason all-state picks will have a big part in making it happen.
“Darian is going to be the strength on one side of that defensive line, and Quinlyn is going to be a big part in that secondary,” Cloninger said. “So we’re expecting big things out of our defense this year.”