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Mountain Island Charter football preview: Two QBs, zero problems for Raptors

MOUNT HOLLY – There’s a cliché in football that any team with two quarterbacks really doesn’t have a quarterback at all.

That cliché doesn’t apply to Mountain Island Charter this year – the Raptors will be running a two-quarterback system, but not because one player isn’t able to win a firm grip on the job. MICS will rotate Kyle Holcomb and Marcus Graham under center because coach Robert Washington doesn’t want to keep either player off the field.

“Kyle is great at being a pocket passer, slinging the ball, being a classic gunslinger. Marcus is exceptional being able to be a dual threat – running and passing,” Washington said. “It’s going to be tough to gameplan for us, because any game we can go to a pass, true power or read option. It definitely gives us flexibility.”

Holcomb, a senior, threw for 3,136 yards and 39 touchdowns last season with 11 interceptions, leading MICS to a 10-4 record and third-round appearance in the 1A state playoffs. Graham threw for 2,259 yards and 25 touchdowns with eight interceptions for East Lincoln. He also was the Mustangs’ leading rusher with 987 yards and 13 rushing TDs.

Graham was accepted in the Mountain Island Charter lottery in February. He moved to Charlotte and was briefly enrolled at Mallard Creek after leaving East Lincoln, then joined the MICS team for summer workouts after receiving NCHSAA authorization to play for the Raptors

Washington said the two quarterbacks aren’t looking at the upcoming season as a competition between them.

“Kyle took on a big brother role. At the end of the day, Marcus is an exceptional athlete but he’s still younger. Kyle is a true leader,” Washington said. “They found a way where they can actually achieve goals together.”

The Raptors bring back 13 starters from last season’s 10-win team. Although a number of leaders graduated in the spring, Washington believes his depth is better than it’s ever been. Sophomore Elijah Burris will return at running back. Senior Maurice Evans and junior Landon Reel will play key roles on the line. Newcomers Mason King and Jordan Steele will start at linebacker, while senior C.J. Stephens and junior Bryson Howell lock down key spots in the secondary.

Stephens may be in for a big year at wide receiver, according to his coach. Last season, he started every game at cornerback, but he was buried in the depth chart at wide out behind seniors Aapri Washington, Eric Gallman and Tikwan Johnson. This season, he should get more opportunities to catch the ball.

MICS opens with Rock Hill’s Franklin Christian at home on Aug. 18, then visits Stuart Cramer on the road in Week 2 on Aug. 25.

Conference: Southern Piedmont 1A

Head coach: Robert Washington, 3rd season (Career record: 50-12)

Assistant coaches: La’Vaar Wynn, Jerry Baker, Reese Johnson, Montis Lash, Ronnie Hunter, Antico Dalton, Jack Gardner, DeRichard McCoy, Tony Burris, Chris Hawk, Moe Evans, Aapri Washington

Last year’s record: 10-4 (2-3 Southern Piedmont, 5th)

Offensive starters returning: 7

Defensive starters returning: 6

Key players: Elijah Burris, So., RB; Maurice Evans, Sr., DL; Marcus Graham, Jr., QB/ATH; Kyle Holcomb, Sr., QB; Bryson Howell, Jr., S; Mason King, Sr., LB; Landon Reel, Jr., C; Michael Spivey, Sr., LB; Jordan Steele, Jr., LB; CJ Stephens, Sr., ATH;

Key losses: Aapri Washington, ATH; Eric Gallman, WR; Shayvon Gilliam, LB; Tikwan Johnson, WR; Terrell Hager, RB; Hunter Nichols, OL/DL; Carson Pledger, TE/K, Evan Marsh, OL/DL

2016 Results

W 35-9 vs. CATA

L 16-0 at Bessemer City*

L (forfeit) vs. Thomas Jefferson*

L (forfeit) at Pine Lake Prep*

W 63-7 vs. Community School of Davidson*

W 59-0 at Highland Tech*

W 49-0 vs. Sandhills Titans

W 63-0 vs. Carolina Gladiators

W 55-12 vs. Victory Christian

W 54-7 at Cannon

W 61-7 vs. Carolina Pride

W 64-8 vs. Andrews

W 54-40 vs. Thomas Jefferson

L 35-34 at Murphy

All-time playoff history: 2-2

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 Franklin Christian, S.C.

Aug. 25 at Stuart Cramer

Sept. 1 at Graham

Sept. 8 open

Sept. 15 Commonwealth Charter

Sept. 22 at Bessemer City*

Sept. 29 Union Academy*

Oct. 6 at Cherryville*

Oct. 13 at CommSch Davidson*

Oct. 20 Pine Lake Prep*

Oct. 27 at Thomas Jefferson*

Nov. 3 Highland Tech*