Shaky start for Carver JV squad

Shaky start for Carver JV squad
September 19
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Rakeem Jenkins is Carver’s big-play threat.)

After four games, Carver has a 1-3 record in junior varsity football. Even so, Coach Alonzo Winfield sees no reason to go into panic mode.

“We’re going through a process of figuring things out as a team,” said Winfield. “There are some positive signs. But what’s hurting us more than anything is not being able to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves.”

Missed opportunities haunted Carver in its 18-6 loss to North Forsyth last week. The Yellowjackets dropped at least two interceptions and they failed to recover three fumbles, which could have led to scores.

The one bright spot in defeat was the play of sophomore running back Rakeem Jenkins, a genuine game-breaker who’s capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Against the Vikings, Jenkins delivered Carver’s only touchdown of the game with an electrifying 100-yard kickoff return.

Offensively, the Yellowjackets aren’t fully in sync. They’re trying to regroup and for good reason. Starting quarterback Tyrese Murphy suffered a broken wrist against Mount Tabor two weeks ago and is out for the season. As a result, Winfield isn’t likely to go very deep into Carver’s playbook right away. In the meantime, Elijah McCray, a multi-talented running back and receiver, has shown steady progress in replacing Murphy at quarterback.

Fortunately for McCray, he won’t have to shoulder the whole load offensively. Carver still has the potential to put points on the board in a hurry. Aside from Jenkins, McCray can turn to wide receivers Daquan Miller and Phillip Legette. “We’ll find ways for Rakeem to get his hands on the ball often,” said Winfield. “We have no problems moving the ball up and down the field. The problem for us is getting the ball in the end zone.”

Defensively, the Yellowjackets are led by lineman Jordan Griffin, cornerback Amari Crowell, middle linebacker Quentin Horne, and McCray, who also plays strong safety. Crowell has already proven himself as a ball-hawking defender. So far, he has two interceptions, one of which was run back for a touchdown.

During the season’s early going, Carver, which plays in Class 2-A, has suffered its share of bumps and bruises in games played against higher levels of competition. Aside from losing to Class 3-A North Forsyth, the Yellowjackets suffered shut-out losses to two of the state’s upper-echelon 4-A teams in Greensboro Dudley (38-0) Mount Tabor 23-0).

The opening weeks of this season, however, have had some shining moments. Carver earned its first win of 2014 by beating Class 4-A Reynolds 28-21 in overtime three weeks ago. On the first play of OT, Jenkins scored the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard run.

“By design, we’ve put together a tough non-conference schedule,” said Winfield. “We don’t want it to be easy. But it’s going to prepare us well when it’s time for conference play to begin (Western Piedmont Conference). We just have to keep competing. With a play here or a play there, the final outcomes in our first four games might be different.”

Carver is idle this week, but will be back in action when it visits Glenn on Sept. 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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