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For the 32nd season, the Catawba County Hornets prepare to compete on the gridiron.
The former club team of Lenoir-Rhyne will trying to improve upon its 9-6 record and fifth-place finish in the Central Carolinas Football League from a season ago.
Doug Fry, owner and coach for the Hornets, has been a part of the team for every season of its existence.
â€śWe are a club football team,â€ť Fry said. â€śWe arenâ€™t semi-pro because they donâ€™t get paid to play. So it doesnâ€™t hurt their eligibility. They're still eligible to go to college.â€ť
Players from the group have went back to college, played arena football and Canadian football.
Members of this yearâ€™s team range in age from 18-26. Even with such a young team, Fry likes his teamâ€™s chances.
â€śWe are hoping to improve on last year,â€ť Fry said. â€śNaturally, when you start a season off, your goal is to go undefeated. With this team, I think we can accomplish that. There is a lot of young talent.â€ť
Greg â€śFleaâ€ť Covington, a member of the Hornetsâ€™ defense, says he has seen the team grow over the years.
â€śIâ€™ve played on this team a long time,â€ť Covington said. â€śIâ€™ve seen us go from 4-7 to 8-5 quick by adding a couple of players. The more people we get out here playing, the better we get.â€ť
Fry says one characteristic on the team sticks out above the rest.
â€śOur team is going to be built on speed,â€ť Fry said. â€śWe are a fast team. I think our team wonâ€™t have one standout player. It will be a team accomplishment. These boys are playing as a team. This is the most togetherness Iâ€™ve had in five years.â€ť
Quarterback Jamell Jeffries, a former standout at St. Stephens, is one of a few local athletes that are members of the Hornets.
â€śWe all gel together for some reason,â€ť Jeffries said. â€śI think itâ€™s meant for us to get a championship ring on our finger.â€ť
Covington says he and his teammates are thinking about one thing before the Hornets kick off their season Saturday in Morganton.
â€śOur thoughts are 1-0 and working on improving during the rest of the week,â€ť Covington said. â€śWe are trying to win a championship from here on out.â€ťView more articles in: