DOUGLAS BYRD EAGLES
Jon Carroll has played through the bad times in the Douglas Byrd High School football program.
Now, he is hoping to enjoy some good times as he prepares for his senior season.
The Eagles suffered through two winless seasons in Carroll's first two years on the team. But the Eagles broke through for four wins last year, including the last two games.
Carroll played a key role in the victories as the starting quarterback. He also plays running back, wide receiver and returning kicks where he can use his 4.43 speed in the 40.
“Everybody was pretty hyped and motivated to get a win and we did it,” he said of last season. “It gave us like a boost, showing that we could do it.”
Douglas Byrd coach Mike Paroli, starting his fourth season, hopes last year is the start of a big turnaround for his program.
“Getting a win and winning the last two games was a huge boost for our program,” he said. “The key was we stayed healthy and our kids got better and better. We got everything mentally and physically we could from our kids.”
And he knows Carroll was a big factor.
“He works hard at practice everyday,” Paroli said. “He is very smart and this allows him to line up at any skill position. He has gotten stronger each year and we hope that continues.”
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Jon Carroll scrambles to find a receiver as Douglas Byrd football team plays South View at Douglas Byrd High School on Friday, Sep. 8, 2017. [Raul F. Rubiera/The Fayetteville Observer]
About the Eagles ...
Top returners: Jon Carroll, QB, Sr.; JaJuan Boykin, DB-P, Jr.; Arden Billington, C, Sr.; Sabeon Campbell, RB, Sr.
Potential breakout players: Zyon McEachin, G, Jr.; Zion Cameron, G, Sr., Alton Simmons, RB, So.
Coach's outlook: “Our main objective is to keep all of our young kids intact and not lose them between now and next year this time. If that happens, we're looking to turn the corner as far as not only being competitive but winning a whole lot more games.”
910Preps.com evaluation: The Eagles have talent and experience in the backfield and on the offensive line. They should be able to put up some points this season. Their challenge will come on defense where nine of the 11 starters will be either freshmen or sophomores. Douglas Byrd began a turnaround last year after two winless seasons and should continue in the right direction this year. A .500 record would be a realistic goal.
Conference: Patriot (3-A)
Coach: Mike Paroli
2018 record: 4-7, 3-5
5-year record: 8-47, 6-28
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23 — at Western Harnett
Aug. 30 — Open
Sept. 6 — Lee County
Sept. 13 — at Westover*
Sept. 20 — South View*
Sept. 27 — at Pine Forest*
Oct. 4 — E.E. Smith*
Oct. 11 — at Cape Fear*
Oct. 18 — Terry Sanford*
Oct. 25 — at Overhills*
Nov. 1 — Gray's Creek*
Nov. 8 — Open
* — Conference game
FANTASY DRAFT PICK
JaJuan Boykin is returning as a junior defensive back, lending some experience to a young Eagles defensive unit.
Boykin also is an outstanding punter who averaged 44.1 yards per kick last season. He has been named to the ncpreps.com preseason all-state team as the punter.
“Anytime you have a good punter, it makes it easier to play defense,” Byrd coach Mike Paroli said. “He is also a very good athlete, which allows him to get some punts off if the snap is bad or the protection breaks down.”
Running back Alton Simmons is a sophomore transfer from Cape Fear High School who rushed for 201 yards and scored three touchdowns in a limited role last year as a freshman.
“We're expecting a lot out of him,” Paroli said.
SUMMER IMPACT PLAYER
Senior lineman Arden Billington is the starting center and also a defensive lineman.
“He's been a great leader for us this spring and summer,” Paroli said.
“Our backfield will be our strength,” Paroli said. “We have a couple of seniors back there plus Alton Simmons. We have a solid center and two good guards. We're hoping we can build around those guys on offense. But our defense will be very young.”
Aug. 17 — L, at Fairmont, 38-28
Aug. 24 — L, South Columbus, 21-14
Sept. 7 — L, at South View, 46-19*
Sept. 25 — L, Pine Forest, 28-21*
Sept. 29 — W, at E.E. Smith, 15-13*
Oct. 5 — L, at Terry Sanford, 26-14*
Oct. 12 — L, Overhills, 22-20*
Oct. 19 — L, at Gray's Creek, 21-0*
Nov. 2 — W, Westover, 51-20*
Nov. 9 — W, Cape Fear, 33-21*
* — Conference game