Pender will need to find creative ways to replace the Henry twins on offense.


A new quarterback: Bryson Stewart is back after throwing for 815 yards in 2018, but Jaheim McDuffie will be the Patriots' starter under center when they kick things off against James Kenan. McDuffie didn't get much playing time last season, but he is a good athlete who should serve as one of Pender's leading rushers this season. If there's one thing that has pushed McDuffie into this position as a senior, it's his work ethic during the grind of summer football workouts. "He's put in the work and come out every day looking to get better," Pender head coach Tim Smith said. "You can tell he wanted to take hold of the quarterback position and he's been a positive leader for some of the younger guys."

Replacing the Henry twins: Lavell and Makhell Henry accounted for 1,471 yards last season and were Pender's two best weapons, but both departed to graduation this summer. Finding new playmakers is going to be a challenge for Coach Smith this season, and he'll probably look to his defense. Josh Barnhill shined at linebacker last season for Pender, but he will need to play both ways as a running back this season. Raekwon Walker is a senior who is back in the program after not playing in 2018. The 6-feet-3 wide receiver will take Makhell's place in the offense. Otherwise, Coach Smith is hopeful some young guys mature quickly to help carry some of the burden on Barnhill and McDuffie's shoulders.

Staying fresh on the defensive line: Pender's biggest strength this season should be on the defensive line, but that comes with a catch. "Right now, we're not where we want to be on the offensive line in terms of numbers. We're going to need some guys up front to play both ways unless that changes and we can get some of our offensive linemen out to practice, or up to speed," Smith said. If they can stay fresh on defense, guys like Chris Spencer, Kyle McMikle, Tracey Boone could star for the Patriots this season.

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2018 record: 1-10 overall, 1-6 Coastal 8 (did not qualify for 1A playoffs)


Head coach: Tim Smith (third season, 5-18 record)

Assistants: Matt Davis, Corey Devane, Johnny Bowman, John Heil


Stadium: Pender Stadium (2,800 capacity), 5380 N.C. 53 West, Burgaw


Returning starters: 2 offense, 8 defense

Three to watch: Sr. LB Josh Barnhill (76 tackles, 4 TFL), Sr. QB/DB Jaheim McDuffie, Sr. LB Seth Pyland (88 tackles, 6 TFL)


Aug. 23 at James Kenan

Aug. 30 vs. Topsail

Sept. 6 at Union

Sept. 13 vs. Rosewood

Sept. 27 vs. East Carteret

Oct. 4 at Trask

Oct. 11 vs. Richlands

Oct. 18 at Southwest Onslow

Oct. 25 vs. Dixon

Nov. 1 at Croatan

Nov. 8 vs. Lejeune