2019 High School Football Preview: Young Gaston roster talented and battle-tested

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GASTON SENIORS. Pictured, sitting, from left: Mason Reeves, Alex McArthur, Garren Brown, Wes Simmons, Gage McArthur. Standing, from left: Cole Wadsworth, Malaikah Warren, Quoy Ransaw, Jayden Dupree. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Gaston head football coach Swane Morris is confident that his program’s 2019 edition contains a bit more ammunition in its arsenal than in recent years.
Noting that his last couple of teams lacked the proper amount of firepower, Morris foresees a bit more speed and quickness, especially from the skill positions.
“With a year of experience with those younger guys, we’ll be more versatile with what we can do. This group has worked hard in the offseason and summer and done some good things.”
Back for his third season under center is sophomore Josh Campbell.
“Josh is like a totally different kid this year,” said Morris. “He’s just getting better and better. Sometimes you break down the field by half for a young quarterback, which is what we did with Josh, and now I expect him to read everything and make quick reads and decisions.”
Morris views seniors Gage McArthur, Mason Reeves, Wes Simmons, Garren Brown, Alex Mc-Arthur, Jayden Dupree and Malikah Warren, junior Ethan Stone and sophomore Jeremiah Dupree as the main components of a running back/wide receiver/tight end by committee contingent.
Senior Cole Wadsworth is the lone returning starter on the offensive line, although senior Cole Ransaw saw some action in 2018.
“I think our front five is very good; it’s just that we have to find some depth,” said Morris.
Morris said that most of the aforementioned players will remain on the field when the ball changes hands.
“If you’re a player for us, you’re going to play both sides of the ball.”
Morris acknowledged that Gage McArthur, who had 96 tackles last season at linebacker, will be one of the main cogs defensively.
“Gage is our best linebacker, and Cole should have a good year. We have several other guys who hopefully will make some plays for us.”
Campbell, Reaves and Alex McArthur will start in the defensive backfield. Warren and Simmons will handle the kicking and punting duties, respectively.
The Bulldogs compete in Class 2A Region 6 along with Westbrook Christian, West End, Cleveland, Ohat-chee, Ranburne and Woodland.
“Top to bottom, it’s a tough region,” said Morris. “Ohatchee and Ranburne are definitely up at the top and looking at who is going to join them. So we’ve got to play our way into that. The biggest thing for us every year is to get ready for the next game. So right now, we’re getting ready for August 30 (against Sand Rock).

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