High School Football

Preview: Northwestern Trojans loaded for first run at 5A

Jamario Holley is one of the top-ranked sophomore wide receiver prospects in the country. Yes, he did catch this football during the Cam Newton 7-on-7 tournament back in July.
Jamario Holley is one of the top-ranked sophomore wide receiver prospects in the country. Yes, he did catch this football during the Cam Newton 7-on-7 tournament back in July. bmccormick@heraldonline.com

Northwestern coach David Pierce was quick to point out during an interview over the summer that the Trojans have never won more than nine game the year after winning a state title. He cited the 2014 season - following a championship the year prior - when Northwestern’s coaching staff felt it over-hyped the chase for back to back titles. The plan is to do the opposite this year.

The 2016 Trojans could buck that next-year trend. Pierce can call on a number of experienced offensive contributors that return from last season’s team, including a nucleus of QB Gage Moloney, running back Jerry Howard and receivers Jordan Starkes and Jamario Holley, all college commitments or prospects. Josiah Ivey, Alex Parker and Austin Hoofnagle are back on the offensive line.

Northwestern graduated a pair of Shrine Bowlers - Trae’von Hinton and Miles Corpening - on defense, but has plenty returning there, too. Senior defensive ends Alan Alford and Logan Rudolph, a Clemson commit, should be able to pressure QBs regularly, while Caliph Brice is another senior that’s really put together well at linebacker and is a college recruit. Filling the positions around those returning players will be key, especially in the middle of the defensive line, which can prosper from the attention paid to Alford and Rudolph.

Two more seniors, safety Ali Shockley and cornerback D.J. Agurs, offer experience and play-making knack in the secondary. Junior Ladell Massey should slot into the safety spot vacated by Corpening, while the other corner spot is up for grabs.

There are effectively three seasons for every South Carolina high school team this year: non-region, region and the playoffs. The first of those three has zero implication on the other two. Pierce wants his team to win every game it plays, but to also keep that in mind with a difficult schedule looming.

Returning starters: 5 offense, 4 defense

Key returning players: Sr. OL Josiah Ivey; Sr. RB Jerry Howard; Sr. DE Logan Rudolph; Sr. QB Gage Moloney; Sr. DL Alan Alford; Soph. WR Jamario Holley; Jr. WR Jordan Starkes; Sr. DB Ali Shockley; Sr. CB D.J. Agurs; Sr. LB Caliph Brice; Sr. WR Dequez Harris; Sr. LB Jaedon Gladden; Sr. WR Rodney Brown; Sr. OL Alex Parker; Sr. LB Dantavis Bowser.


Coach David Pierce (1st year)

Career record 0-0

Assistant coaching staff Robert Hellams, offensive coordinator; James Martin, defensive coordinator; Mitch Walters, special teams, running backs; Page Wofford, wide receivers; Benji Young, defensive backs; Robert Dickon, wide receivers; Bobby Page, defensive backs; Ray McCleod, linebackers; Sam Mallard, offensive line; Mario Donato, defensive line; Andy White, video coordinator.

Last season 14-1, beat Lexington 63-13 in 4A Division II state championship game

Last 10 years combined 113-29 (79.6 percent)

School state championships 5 (1989, 1993, 2010, 2013, 2015)


August: 19 South Pointe*; 26 at Dorman*

September: 2 South Meck*; 9 at Byrnes*; 16 Spartanburg*; 23 at Gaffney*; 30 at Fort Mill*

October: 7 Open; 14 Clover; 21 at Nation Ford*; 28 Rock Hill

Northwestern’s opponents won 63 percent of their games last season; star denotes 2015 playoff team; cursive denotes Region 4-5A opponent.

Numbers to know

47.7 points per game from the Trojan offense last season. A number of key contributors return this year.

3 state championships in last 6 seasons for Northwestern.

30 years that new head coach David Pierce served as an assistant coach on the Trojans’ staff before being named the head man in April.

5 the number of teams Northwestern plays in 2016 that reached at least the semifinals in their classification’s 2015 state playoffs.

6 of the last 9 seasons have been at least 12-win campaigns for Northwestern.

Northwestern 2016 football roster
The Trojans have a good mix of grades on the 2016 roster.
1Jamario HolleySo.WR
2Antonio HeathSo.RB
3Ali ShockleySrDB
4Logan RudolphSr.DE
5Jerry HowardSr.RB
6Dequez HarrisJr.RB
8D. J. AgursSr.DB
9Jordan StarkesJr.WR
10Tykilly HallSo.WR
11Dustin NollerFr.QB
12Tanner McKinneySo.QB
13Dee BelkSr.DB
14Callen HortonJr.WR
15Gage MoloneySr.QB
16Jamar MooreSo.WR
17Bradley CampsSo.DB
18Trey McCulloughJr.LB
19Quantavis RobinsonSr.DB
20Jahiem RogersSo.DB
21Ryan KaoudSr.WR
22Rodney BrownSr.WR
23Freddie CunninghamJr.DB
24Jaiquis ShannonSo.RB
25Deylajure AddisonSo.DB
26Bryce WillisJr.WR
27Jaelan HarfieldSo.DB
28Ladell MasseyJr.DB
29Jalen HolmesSo.WR
30Zay MillsSr.DB
31Dantavis BowserSr.LB
32Fentrell CypressSo.DB
33Juan HinestrozaSr.LB
34Jerkevious HallSr.DB
35Malik GregorySr.LB
36Chris WallaceJr.DB
37Caliph BriceSr.LB
38Nazim RobinsonJr.DB
39Martin Del GadoJr.DB
40Kemorris WeldonSo.WR
41D’Arthur RatchfordSo.DB
42Wes WilsonSo.LB
43Jaylon BairdSo.DB
44Jaxon SiddenSo.LB
46Trey RobinsonJr.RB
47Caleb RossJr.LB
48Jonathan SmithSo.LB
49Alex HarrellJr.K
50Austin HoofnagleSr.OL
51Christian SteeleJr.DE
52Jaedon GladdenSr.LB
53Cody FrederickSo.OL
55Alan AlfordSr.LB
56Taevion RhinehartSr.OL
58Jonathan OdomSo.LB
59Areon WallsJr.DL
60Donnie RuhffSr.OL
61Raekwon CaldwellJr.OL
62Josh McClellanJr.OL
63Alex ParkerSr.OL
64Clayton BallogSo.OL
66Will RhodesSr.OL
67Levi JenningsSr.OL
68Nik KostarelosJr.OL
69Tyese WatsonSr.OL
70Josiah IveyJr.OL
71Stephen LeppardJr.OL
72Chayle KellySr.OL
73Kevin ThompsonSo.OL
75Gregory McMooreSo.OL
76Hunter BurbankSo.OL
77Devin PerryJr.DL
78Tyler ByrdJr.OL
80Connor WattsJr.K
81Karrington PrioleauSr.K
82A. J. RobinsonJr.Wr
83Malik PercellSo.WR
84Daniel Owosu-mensahJr.WR
85Mark MorrisSr.WR
86Will RushingSo.WR
87Cam RobinsonSo.WR
88Derron KingSo.WR
89Robert BrownSo.WR
90Tykeedrien BurrisSo.DL
91K. D. CanatyJr.DL
92Chance MillerJr.DL
93Mekhi Gaither-BurrisSo.DL
94Jalen DyeJr.LB
95Thomas GettysJr.K
97Kalen McCroreyJr.DL
98Tre SimsSo.DL
SOURCE: Northwestern High School