Seventy-First running back Kore Prentice-Coles. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]

Reclaiming his place

Falcons RB hungry for big plays after return from injury

Kore Prentice-Coles had proven himself a quality running back through the first three games of the 2018 season for the Seventy-First Falcons. But then, as he was bolting down the field during a 20-yard run at Southern Durham on the first play in game four, he felt something pop in his knee.

"I kept running to the sideline,'' Prentice-Coles said. "After the game, some doctors at Duke said they felt like I had torn my ACL. I cried. Anybody would.''

Prentice-Coles had not only torn his ACL, but also damaged the meniscus, leading to season-ending knee surgery.

Now fully recovered after months of intense rehabilitation, Prentice-Coles is ready to reclaim his spot in the Seventy-First backfield and become one of Cumberland County's top rushers in 2019.

"You always want to come back stronger (from injury),'' Prentice-Coles said. "But when I first had the injury, I didn't know how I would come back. I didn't know if I would run the same or could do the same things. But me, seeing now how I've progressed and overcome the injury, I feel like I'm ready to do great things.''

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Seventy-First hosts Scotland on Friday, Dec, 7, 2018. [Raul F. Rubiera/The Fayetteville Observer]

About the Falcons ...


Seventy-First takes on E.E. Smith on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Seventy-First High School. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]



Top returning players: Kore Prentice-Coles, RB, Sr.; Jamarious Simmons, QB-CB; Tequaris McPhaul, OL, Sr.; Issac Jackson, OL, Jr.; Jermaine Johnson, WR-DB, Jr.; Russell Hewett, OL-DL, Sr.; Aaron Graham, DL, Sr.; Cornell Robinson, DL, Sr.; Jashawn Owens, LB, Sr.; Malik Wilson, LB, Sr.; Ezra Brown, DB, Sr.

Coach's outlook: "Of course, we want to contend for conference championships. That's the standard we have here. Coming up one game short of reaching the state championship game was a tough pill to swallow. We still have a bitter taste in our mouths. We hope to use that as fuel this season.'' evaluation: Duran McLaurin has established himself as one of the region's top coaches by averaging 10 wins over the last five seasons at Seventy-First. But there are some vital contributors to that success missing this time around, including four-year quarterback starter Kyler Davis. So it's natural to expect the Falcons to take at least a small step backward. Under McLaurin, however, that still translates into 8-9 wins, a run at the league title and a state playoff berth.

Conference: Sandhills (4-A)

Coach: Duran McLaurin

2018 record: 11-4, 5-2

5-year-record: 52-15, 25-7


All games at 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 23 — Westover

Aug. 30 — at Cape Fear

Sept. 6 — at E.E. Smith

Sept. 13 — Southern Durham

Sept. 20 — Open

Sept. 27 — at Pinecrest*

Oct. 4 — at Hoke County*

Oct. 11 — Lumberton*

Oct. 18 — at Scotland*

Oct. 25 — Purnell Swett*

Nov. 1 — Richmond*

Nov. 8 — Jack Britt*

*Conference game



If tackles factor into your fantasy league, then senior defensive back Ezra Brown would be worth a high draft pick. The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder ranked 13th among Cumberland County tacklers a year ago with 103 hits while also delivering seven tackles for loss and six sacks. "Ezra is the man,'' Seventy-First coach Duran McLaurin said. "He knows the entire defense and is our smartest return man. We played him closer to the line of scrimmage than most kids his size. But he's that tough and will stick his nose in there.''


While Kore Prentice-Coles is expected to be Seventy-First's main ballcarrier, McLaurin is expecting to get a major contribution from senior Anthony Osbourne. Osbourne (5-8, 175) logged 12 rushes for 81 yards last season, but will get more opportunities this time around in a three-back rotation with Prentice-Coles and junior Donovan Wright.


Junior-varsity grads Tylon Shroshire (6-1, 310) and Twan Anderson (6-2, 215) are defensive line and outside linebacker prospects who'll see playing time as sophomores. "I expect them to be Division prospects by the time they are seniors,'' McLaurin said of the duo. Both played on a jayvee squad that went 8-1 last season.

Another star from that squad is sophomore quarterback Dante Harper, who is expected to see action behind veteran Jamarious Simmons at the beginning of the season but could eventually work into the starting role.


The season opener against a vastly improved Westover squad will be a good test for the Falcons, and the rivalry game at E.E. Smith two weeks later is always worth the price of admission. But it's an Oct. 18 date at Scotland and the Nov. 1 game at Richmond Senior that will ultimately determine Seventy-First's standing in the Sandhills 4-A Conference.

The Falcons and Fighting Scots split two games last season with the latter eliminating Seventy-First from the playoffs in the rematch. Meanwhile, the Raiders are loaded and could be a contender for the state title.

Seventy-First hosts Scotland on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. [Raul F. Rubiera/The Fayetteville Observer]
Seventy-First takes on Richmond Senior on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in a Sandhills 4-A Athletic Conference game at Seventy-First High School. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]