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SNOW HILL — Friday’s original practice plan for the Greene Central High varsity football team was to conduct a workout beginning in the late afternoon. Then, the Rams were to break for dinner before returning for one of the treasured moments of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association preseason practice period — the commencement of live hitting at midnight for those who have attended each practice to date.
However, a stubborn weather pattern that has dumped inches upon inches of rain upon The Wilson Times readership area intervened once again. Greene Central still planned to hold its midnight session, but the swamp-like conditions sent both varsity and junior varsity units into the weight room for a lifting session. A brisk walkthrough beginning at 8 followed before the players were treated to a hot dog dinner in-between practices.
Indeed, the 2018 preseason hasn’t been one of combating the heat. It’s simply a matter of staying dry.
“That’s why you make two schedules,” sixth-year Greene Central head coach Allen Wooten said. “You make one for perfect weather and one for when it’s not perfect. “That’s part of life. You’ve got to be prepared for when things don’t work out the way you plan.”
While Wooten can’t control the weather, he has overseen the development of a consistent program in Greene County. He’s 33-28 in five seasons, but has won eight or more games in each of the last three years and enjoyed a top-half finish in the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference. The next steps for the Rams include breaking through to an elusive league title in Wooten’s tenure and reaching the third round of the postseason, something that hasn’t happened in Snow Hill since 2003.
“We’re consistently in that eight-win area,” Wooten said. “We had that one year of 10 (2015) and one year of four (2014), but we’ve sat right there around eight. We’d love to bump up to be that nine- or 10-win consistent season. I think that comes with the weight room stuff. We’ve definitely made drastic improvements in that area, but there’s still some things we can get better at.”
Those improvements have included the introduction of awards in the Greene Central strength program, to include “Super Ram,” “Ultimate Ram” and “Elite Ram” designations.
A defensive coordinator by trade, Wooten will reclaim that role upon the return of Cisco Payton to Beddingfield as the Bruins’ defensive boss. Of around 63 players in the program, Greene Central has roughly 33 on its varsity rolls. An additional eight are in line to be eight-quarter candidates.
At quarterback, the Rams have junior B.J. Corbitt and sophomore Cole Dawson at their disposal. Corbitt has drawn comparisons to Tre Wade, the 2016 Wilson Times Athlete of the Year. Dawson is more in the mold of the recently departed Jackson Batchelor, but could contend for playing time as an underclassman based upon his strong summer.
A marquee two-way threat will be senior A.J. Dupree at running back and at safety. Wooten hailed Dupree as a legitimate ECC Player of the Year candidate on both sides of the football.
Greene Central’s scrimmage activity has it traveling to Nash Central on Wednesday for a one-on-one clash before attending the Tarboro Jamboree two nights later. The Rams kick off 2018 at home the opening Friday night of the season, hosting 4-A Winterville South Central.