South View plays at Terry Sanford on Oct. 19, 2018. [Melissa Sue Gerrits/The Fayetteville Observer]

Bridging the gap

South View football's Kevin Brewington, Mahlik Gonzalez step into bigger roles

With Donovan Brewington and Emery Simmons in Chapel Hill, new leaders will have to emerge for the South View football team in 2019.

Along with standout running back Matthew Pemberton, the team's top returning offensive weapon, wide receiver Kevin Brewington and fullback Mahlik Gonzalez are expected to shoulder that leadership responsibility for the Tigers, who finished with an 11-3 record last season and advanced to the third round of the NCHSAA 4-A state playoffs.

Brewington, who had 44 catches and 359 yards and two touchdowns last season, knows he'll have to pick up his production with Simmons at North Carolina. Simmons, the 910Preps Offensive Player of the Year, had 67 receptions for 1,336 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2018.

“I’m more vocal because we lost a lot of guys," Brewington said of his increased role.

"It’s now time for me to step up and lead by example. I think I’m doing a great job in leading by example because the people that are following me, they’re starting to see how to lead. That’s what I’m proud of. We were this close (last year) — we were in the third round of the playoffs. It’s killing us."

Although some of the roles have changed for players on the roster, Brewington said the mindset of the returners has remained the same through spring and summer.

"We’re just trying to build off of last year," he said. "Everybody knows what we need to do. So there’s really not much that has to be said about it.”

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South View's junior lineman Mahlik Gonzalez on July 25, 2019. [Melissa Sue Gerrits/The Fayetteville Observer]
South View's wide receiver Kevin Brewington on July 25, 2019. [Melissa Sue Gerrits/The Fayetteville Observer]

About the Tigers ...


Matthew Pemberton kicks the ball as Gray's Creek hosts South View on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. [Raul F. Rubiera/The Fayetteville Observer]

Top returners: Matthew Pemberton, RB, Sr.; Kevin Brewington, WR, Sr.; Timel Smith, DB/WR, Sr.; Mahlik Gonzalez, FB, Jr.; Deshaun Rivera, LB, Sr.

Potential breakout players: Ceasar Davis, OL, Fr.; Doryan Sobers, TE, Sr.; Raheem Baldwin, LB, Sr.; Amir Ashley, WR/DB, Jr.

Coach's outlook: “The biggest thing we’ve been telling this group is that last year is in the record books. You’ve got to build your own. Nobody’s going to hand anything to you. You have to go out and establish it. This group of seniors, it’s their team, and they have to decide if they’re going to barbecue or mildew. That’s what we tell them.” evaluation: The Tigers have to replace a pair of big-time contributors in four-year starting quarterback Donovan Brewington and wide receiver Emery Simmons, who helped the 2018 squad average 39 points per game. The return of running back Matthew Pemberton, who rushed for 1,667 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, will ease the sting of those losses as South View transitions to more of a run-heavy attack. But the offensive line is another year older and the defense returns one of the top tacklers in the region in Deshaun Rivera. If the Tigers can find a groove at the quarterback position, and the younger guys can take small steps forward throughout the season, this team is capable of competing at the top of the Patriot.

Conference: Patriot (4-A)

Coach: Rodney Brewington

2018 record: 11-3, 6-2

5-year record: 40-34, 19-21


All games at 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 23 — Jack Britt

Aug. 30 — Triton

Sept. 6 — at Purnell Swett

Sept. 13 — Gray's Creek*

Sept. 20 — at Douglas Byrd*

Sept. 27 — Westover*

Oct. 4 — Open

Oct. 11 — at Pine Forest*

Oct. 18 — E.E. Smith*

Oct. 25 — at Cape Fear*

Nov. 1 — Terry Sanford*

Nov. 8 — at Overhills*

*Conference game

Seventy-First hosts South View in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs in 2018. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]
South View's Emery Simmons reaches out for a pass during a game against Jack Britt in 2018. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]



As a running back, Matthew Pemberton is the total package. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior was a force all over the field for the Tigers last season, racking up 1,667 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 558 yards and five scores, and added three more touchdowns as a returner. Oh, by the way, Pemberton is also South View's punter and kickoff specialist. He could even see some time at quarterback this year. 


As a junior, Raheem Baldwin appeared in six varsity games for the Tigers. The defender was part of a 7-1 junior varsity team before making an instant impact with coach Rodney Brewington's squad in the final two months of the season. Baldwin logged 36 tackles, saving his best performance for South View's final game of the year, a 42-41 overtime loss at Seventy-First in the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs. In that game, Baldwin finished with a career-best 12 tackles.


Brewington also likes the look of freshman offensive lineman Ceasar Davis, who he predicts to be the team's "newcomer of the year." Davis' progression will allow the Tigers to use other players in a variety of different roles, including Mahlik Gonzalez. But for the first time in four years, Brewington will have to break in a new quarterback as senior Jevon Carter and junior Jahliel Davis battle for the starting nod.


One doesn't have to look far to find a South View legend for the current Tigers to admire. Marcus Wall, an assistant coach with the program, starred at running back for the 1991 Tiger football team that captured the state 4-A championship. He rushed for 2,501 yards and scored 27 touchdowns as a senior, including 178 yards in the state championship game win against West Charlotte. Playing for coach Mack Brown at North Carolina, Wall compiled the fourth-best career kickoff return yardage in school history (2,120 yards) and ranks fifth in punt return yardage (27.5).

“Marcus Wall embodies every player on the field," Brewington said. "He can relate to the D-I athletes. He was undersized, so he can relate to the guys out here that are undersized. … We use Coach Wall as an example for a lot of things in our program. The kids really enjoy that.”

South View's Donovan Brewington tosses the ball away as he gets taken down by Seventy-First's Savion Rich during the first quarter on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, at Seventy-First High School. [Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer]


Aug. 17 — W, at Jack Britt, 24-14

Aug. 24 — W, Hoke County, 47-19

Aug. 31 — W, Lumberton, 53-49

Sept. 7 — W, Douglas Byrd, 46-19*

Sept. 25 — W, at Westover, 62-22*

Oct. 5 — W, at E.E. Smith, 54-10*

Oct. 12 — W, Cape Fear, 20-16*

Oct. 19 — L, at Terry Sanford, 49-41*

Oct. 25 — W, Overhills, 50-21*

Nov. 2 — W, at Gray's Creek, 43-29*

Nov. 9 — L, Pine Forest, 14-7*

Nov. 16 — W, Heritage, 26-21**

Nov. 23 — W, South Central, 33-32**

Nov. 30 — L, at Seventy-First, 42-41 (OT)**

*Conference game

**NCHSAA playoff game