Story by CHRISTINA RICHARDSON and ASYAH THOMAS; Video by TAWANA RICHARDSON; Photo by TYLER KEARNEY
Long before the Goldsboro High School football team took the field for its season opener against Hobbton, new Head Coach Timothy Ray sent his team a message. Two years ago, the Cougars didn’t win a game. Last year, they gutted out a playoff berth and lost in the first round. This season, the process just might pay off.
So he showed the young men a “hype video” — a collection of words, photographs, and film clips that would inspire them to leave everything they had out on the field.
“Coach James laid a foundation, a great foundation, and as a team, we had a great team last year, and we expect to build on what we already laid out from last season,” Ray told the Pride. “Our motto is, ‘If you win everyday, you will win the whole season.’ We don’t try to look too far. We just wanna take care of what we can control at this moment and win everything.”
His team responded.
The Cougars’ opening game was over midway through the first quarter — a result of explosive plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, like this rushing touchdown that gave GHS a three-score advantage.
But the rushing game, backed by All-American Xzavior Bowden, J.B. Rhodes, and newcomer Isaiah Gray, was stacked last year. So scouts know what to expect. Or so they thought. They probably weren’t thinking that quarterback Brody Morton was going to look like a college gunslinger this season.
And then, the young man started throwing bombs down the field Friday night. Like this one to Jykeis Mclean:
And this one:
Oh … and THIS one:
But the Cougars’ weapons don’t exist simply on offense. The defense collected interceptions, forced fumbles, and executed some SportsCenter-worthy highlights, too. Did somebody say, “Pick Six”?
Morton believes this team has something special.
“I know us as a team can win the championship,” he told the Pride. “We’ve got all that we need, even down to the support from the athletes and coaches and fans and that’s all we need.”
And Friday, when the Cougars take the field against rival Eastern Wayne, they’ll be sporting new Under Armour uniforms — courtesy of former GHS teacher and coach Brandon Davis.
“They say if you look good, you’ll feel good,” Morton told the Pride. “You feel good, you play good. And if you play good, you’ll win good.”