Cardinals looking to replicate last season’s success


By Kristian Russell - [email protected]



East Wilkes High School 2016 Varsity Cardinals


Kristian Russell | The Tribune

East Wilkes Roster

1 Jessie Aguilar RB/DB 5’6 135 Soph

2 Andrew Elmore TE/LB 5’9 215 SR

3 Devin Couch RB/DB 5’9 148 JR

5 Vess Bullins WR/DB 5’8 130 JR

7 Billy Mullis RB/OLB 5’9 165 JR

8 Jayveon Ross RB/LB 5’10 175 Soph

9 Ty Cleary QB/DB 5’10 160 Soph

10 Bryce Vestal QB/LB 5’11 185 JR

11 Weston Miller WR/DB 5’11 155 SR

14 Hunter Cleary RB/DB 5’9 144 SR

17 Jared Wood WR/RB/LB 6’2 181 JR

18 Damien Reid WR/DB 5’10 152 JR

20 Adam Moore RB/DB 5’9 150 SR

21 Austin Jolly RB/LB 5’11 172 JR

23 Grant Bare WR/DB 5’8 150 SR

25 Joah Logan WR/DB 6’1 165 SR

32 Alex Royal RB/LB 5’11 148 JR

33 Ty Benton RB/LB 5’10 190 JR

39 Cody Lovelace WR/OLB 6’0 170 JR

40 Carlos Aquino K/RB 5’5 135 JR

43 Jared Poplin WR/LB 5’11 158 JR

50 Brannon Smoot OL/DL 6’2 205 Soph

51 Mason Hartley OL/LB 6’0 196 JR

52 Jacob Hutson OL/DL 5’10 185 JR

53 Anthony Salvetti WR/DB 5’10 175 JR

54 Brannon Church OL/DL 5’10 220 Soph

55 Adam Holbrook OL/DL 6’3 210 SR

57 Brandon Esparza OL/DL 5’10 205 Soph

59 Jared Smith OL/DL 5’10 180 JR

62 Kole Money OL/DL 6’3 235 Soph

63 Stephen Helms OL/DL 6’1 205 SR

64 Bailey Wilmoth OL/DL 5’9 170 JR

65 Tate Weatherman OL/DL 5’10 185 JR

68 Brayden Reynolds OL/OLB 5’10 173 JR

70 Billy Miller OL/DL 6’2 175 JR

71 Jacob Crabb OL/DL 6’2 230 SR

72 Chase Wood OL/DL 5’8 170 JR

73 Ricardo Love OL/DL 6’0 205 SR

75 Malachi Combs OL/DL 5’10 270 JR

76 Alan Royal OL/DL 6’0 225 SR

77 Andrew Walker OL/DL 5’6 200 JR

79 TJ Holbrook OL/DL 5’8 260 JR

80 Tyler Hall WR/DB 5’9 169 JR

81 Dawson Shaffer WR/DB 6’0 150 JR

85 Bradley Hicks TE/DL 6’4 210 JR

RONDA — After a strong 2015 season, the East Wilkes Cardinals are looking to make a deeper drive into the state playoffs this year. The Cardinals went 13-1 in the regular season, and 7-0 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference last season. With an undefeated conference record, the Cardinals were able to make it to the third round of the NCHSAA playoffs before falling to Mitchell, 17-14. It was the second time in school history the Cardinals had made it to the third round of the playoffs.

This season, Head Coach J.K. Adkins doesn’t want this group of kids to look too far into the future, he wants them focused on their week-to-week match-ups and be present in the moment.

“Our main goal is the same as any season, for us we’re trying to focus on each week and each game as it comes,” said Adkins. “We are focused on winning and preparing for each week’s match-up by doing what we always do. We’re going to do what we can to prepare for our upcoming opponent, and not worry about any future games until the week of those games.”

This year’s team will look a little different than last year, as the Cardinals lost 18 seniors from last year’s team. The loss of the seniors won’t stop the Cardinals from carrying the momentum over from last season’s run. The Cardinals are looking strong offensively as well as defensively.

This season there will be new players to watch on offense, as the Cardinals lost two star receivers in Camon Bryan and Andrew Nance. Although they lost two players who helped carry the team, the Cardinals are returning six starters on defense and six starters on defense.

“We’re unique in the way that we have several standout players, we don’t have just one or two superstars on the team who are irreplaceable,” said Adkins. “We have a returning running back, Devin Couch, who we are also relying on this season. We also have a couple of receivers, Jared Wood, Joah Logan, Jared Poplin and Damien Reid, who are going to be outstanding for us.”

Last season Wood caught 14 passes for 321 yards, and was selected as All Conference for the MVAC. Logan had an outstanding playoff run for the Cardinals as he had two touchdowns and ran for 73 yards. At 6’1, Logan has the height and the power to be one of the star receivers the Cardinals need to replace Bryan and Nance.

Junior Bryce Vestal will be returning as this year’s quarterback for the Cardinals. Last season Vestal was put in at quarterback after starter Chris Ward took on an injury early in the season. Vestal took his new starting position in stride as he had 723 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions for the 2015 season.

On the defensive side, the Cardinals are looking strong with a pair of seniors who have stepped up to become leaders of the defensive line. Last season Andrew Elmore played linebacker and lead the team in tackles with 75 tackles, while Adam Holbrook played defensive line and had 78 tackles. On special teams, Carlos Aquino will be returning as the kicker. Last season Aquino made several crucial field goals to keep the Cardinals’ undefeated season alive.

“We have a lot of role type players,” said Adkins. “We are counting on those players to produce for us this year and get us to where we were last season.”

While East Wilkes did lose a big chunk of its team from last year, Adkins is confident it can replicate last season’s success. If it’s up to this year’s team, they hope to bypass last year’s success and bring home a State Championship for Ronda.

Kristian Russell may be reached at 336-258-4052.

East Wilkes High School 2016 Varsity Cardinals
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_DSC_0047.jpgEast Wilkes High School 2016 Varsity Cardinals Kristian Russell | The Tribune

By Kristian Russell

[email protected]

East Wilkes Roster

1 Jessie Aguilar RB/DB 5’6 135 Soph

2 Andrew Elmore TE/LB 5’9 215 SR

3 Devin Couch RB/DB 5’9 148 JR

5 Vess Bullins WR/DB 5’8 130 JR

7 Billy Mullis RB/OLB 5’9 165 JR

8 Jayveon Ross RB/LB 5’10 175 Soph

9 Ty Cleary QB/DB 5’10 160 Soph

10 Bryce Vestal QB/LB 5’11 185 JR

11 Weston Miller WR/DB 5’11 155 SR

14 Hunter Cleary RB/DB 5’9 144 SR

17 Jared Wood WR/RB/LB 6’2 181 JR

18 Damien Reid WR/DB 5’10 152 JR

20 Adam Moore RB/DB 5’9 150 SR

21 Austin Jolly RB/LB 5’11 172 JR

23 Grant Bare WR/DB 5’8 150 SR

25 Joah Logan WR/DB 6’1 165 SR

32 Alex Royal RB/LB 5’11 148 JR

33 Ty Benton RB/LB 5’10 190 JR

39 Cody Lovelace WR/OLB 6’0 170 JR

40 Carlos Aquino K/RB 5’5 135 JR

43 Jared Poplin WR/LB 5’11 158 JR

50 Brannon Smoot OL/DL 6’2 205 Soph

51 Mason Hartley OL/LB 6’0 196 JR

52 Jacob Hutson OL/DL 5’10 185 JR

53 Anthony Salvetti WR/DB 5’10 175 JR

54 Brannon Church OL/DL 5’10 220 Soph

55 Adam Holbrook OL/DL 6’3 210 SR

57 Brandon Esparza OL/DL 5’10 205 Soph

59 Jared Smith OL/DL 5’10 180 JR

62 Kole Money OL/DL 6’3 235 Soph

63 Stephen Helms OL/DL 6’1 205 SR

64 Bailey Wilmoth OL/DL 5’9 170 JR

65 Tate Weatherman OL/DL 5’10 185 JR

68 Brayden Reynolds OL/OLB 5’10 173 JR

70 Billy Miller OL/DL 6’2 175 JR

71 Jacob Crabb OL/DL 6’2 230 SR

72 Chase Wood OL/DL 5’8 170 JR

73 Ricardo Love OL/DL 6’0 205 SR

75 Malachi Combs OL/DL 5’10 270 JR

76 Alan Royal OL/DL 6’0 225 SR

77 Andrew Walker OL/DL 5’6 200 JR

79 TJ Holbrook OL/DL 5’8 260 JR

80 Tyler Hall WR/DB 5’9 169 JR

81 Dawson Shaffer WR/DB 6’0 150 JR

85 Bradley Hicks TE/DL 6’4 210 JR

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