Tuscola preview: Talented junior class returns for Mountaineers

Tuscola preview: Talented junior class returns for Mountaineers


Tuscola preview: Talented junior class returns for Mountaineers


Guard Jordan Davis (63) kneels in front of Caleb Ferguson, left, Zach Webster and Roman Jenkins.

Guard Jordan Davis (63) kneels in front of Caleb Ferguson, left, Zach Webster and Roman Jenkins.

WAYNESVILLE – This time last year Tommy Pursley was still learning names for those connected with the football program at Tuscola.

The veteran coach, who had led North Guilford to 20 consecutive playoff appearances before retiring in 2012, was named the Mountaineers’ coach two weeks before practice began in 2014 when Brandon Allen abruptly left to coach at Freedom.

The Mountaineers finished 4-3 in conference play and 5-7 overall in Pursley’s first year. He feels better about things heading into the 2015 season.

“There’s no doubt we’re going to be much better,” he said. “This almost feels like my first season. I had a chance to do some things in the offseason that I wanted to get done.

“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in strength speed and quickness and got a lot of things done in the spring and summer. I feel good about the progress we’ve made. How that will translate into wins and losses I don’t know but we’ll be much better.”

Pursley has 13 returning starters, six on offense and seven on the defensive side including defensive tackle Jordan Davis and safety Zach Webster, both of whom made the all-WNCAC all-conference team.Webster is also expected to start at quarterback.

Pursley has high hopes for the next two seasons because in addition to returning six players who started as sophomores last season, he has a junior class that won a conference titles as junior varsity players in 2014.

“We had six (starting) sophomores last year and just 10 seniors, we were a relatively young team,” Pursley said. “We think we’ll be better this year and even better next year because we’ll be starting a lot of juniors.”

Tuscola’s defensive should be strong up with three returning starters. Defensive end Elijah Trantham and noseguard started as sophomores and senior Tregg Rice started at tackle as a junior. Rounding out the line is 280-pound junior Mitchell Leveritt, who played on the varsity as a freshman but spent last season in Florida. He’ll also start on the offensive line.

“We’re going to be big up front, maybe one of the bigest I’ve ever coached,” Pursley said. “Austin Goforth will be our left tackle and he’s probably the baby of the group at 245 pounds.”

Also returning on offensive is Austin Davis, a 290-pound guard who was all-conference last year.

Running behind that line will be Caleb Ferguson, an all-conference selection who rushed for 859 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore. He’ll be joined in the backfield by Joe Napert, who started as a sophomore and Roman Jenkins, who started in the backfield on the JV team in 2014.

Jenkins will also be in the secondary for the Mountaineers.

“We coach all our kids together, doing the same stuff, same offense, same defense,” Pursley said. “We were happy to not only win the conference (JV) championship but start six sophomores on the varsity. That’s why we feel pretty good about the fact we’ll be a little better this year.”


Conference: WNC Athletic 3-A/2-A
Coach: Tommy Pursley
Offense: Flex Bone
Defense: 4-4
2014: 4-3, 5-7
Returning starters: (13) Six on offense, seven on defense
Predicted order of finish: 3rd


No. | Name | Pos. | Yr.

1 Caleb Ferguson FB/LB 11

2 James Silvers WR/OLB 12

4 Roman Jenkins RB/CB 11

5 Jeremy Jacobs FB/LB 11

6 Joe Napert WR/FS 11

7 Anthony Agate RB/CB 12

8 Brent Turner WR/FS 11

9 Logan King K 12

10 John Medford TE/LB 11

11 Grayson Perkins QB/LB 10

12 Dakota Winchester QB/CB 10

12 Zach Webster QB/FS 12

16 Nick Owens SB/LB 12

17 Josh Allison RB/CB 11

18 Keith Johnson WR/CB 12

22 J.D. Morgan WR/LB 11

28 Ben Brooks SB/CB 11

33 Dylan Reece FB/LB 10

50 Jacob Penland C/LB 12

51 Dylan Worley T/DE 11

52 Elijah Trantham WR/DE 11

53 Auston Bradshaw G/DT 12

54 Eric Parsons T/DE 11

56 Jay Bradley C/NG 11

57 Taylor Austin G/DT 11

58 Jose Castillo C/NG 11

60 Will Trantham T/DE 11

63 Dylan Shuler T/DE 10

63 Jordan Davis G/DT 12

70 Mitchell Leveritt T/DT 11

77 Tregg Rice DT/NG 11


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