The East Gaston Warriors are working to turn the tide in 2018, after posting a 2-9 record last fall and a 3-8 campaign prior to that.
Coach Sean Joyce’s eighth East Gaston team will need to improve offensively after averaging 13.1 points per game a season ago, but Joyce likes what he’s seen from a young corps of skill position players, led by junior athletes Kobe Creamer and K.J. Dagout. Both are multidimensional, started as freshmen and have been key players for awhile now.
“I really like our skill guys on the varsity,” Joyce said. “They’re a young, veteran group. I think the experience they had last year will pay off.”
Junior receiver Jake Thomas, who like Creamer and Dagout is “very fast” in Joyce’s eyes, is also in that group of experienced players still with multiple seasons to play. Another is sophomore D.J. Maultsby, who started at safety as a freshman and served as the backup quarterback. Maultsby is 6-foot-1 and will play at quarterback this year.
“He looks really good at what we’re trying to do,” Joyce said.
Junior center Nate Mecidi is bigger and stronger in the middle, and he’s joined up front by another standout lineman, senior Charles Harper.
Many of the Warriors will play both offense and defense, and the coaching staff continues to emphasize conditioning in practice so that players will be ready to play when the team has the ball and when it doesn’t.
“Our conditioning has been rigorous,” Joyce said. “They understand what they have to do.”
If the Warriors are to have their first winning season since going 7-5 in 2015, they’ll have to improve within the Southwestern 2A Conference. The Southwestern figures to be tough once again, with the likes of powers Shelby and South Point roaming the league.
But the Warriors are hopeful 2018 will spark more success in a future that is already showing promise.
“The JV group of players is probably the best JV group we’ve had in 10 years,” Joyce said.