The defending 3A state champion Dillon Wildcats will begin the football season at Dillon Memorial Stadium against Lumberton on Friday, August 17, under the direction of Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Jackie Hayes.
Coach has 34 years of coaching experience with 27 years as head coach who boasts a tremendous winning record of 306 wins and 52 losses.
Coach, his staff, and players have won 7 state championships and 2 lower state championships since 2008.
The Dillon Wildcats who finished last year with a perfect 15-0 record are looking forward to having another great year on the football field.
Having graduated 16 players from last year’s squad, the Wildcats are filling those voids with new, talented players and expect no less of them than of previous teams… that is to play in the last game of the season.
Nemo Squires joined the varsity team this year as a freshman running back. Of course, those who have watched him play knows he really can move fast on the football field.
Ja’Teil Lester returns as the Wildcats’ quarterback. He threw for over 2,000 yards last year as a freshman. Hayes always manages to have a great quarterback to anchor his championship teams.
Incidentally, Hayes tossed 10 completed passes in 10 attempts in a game played on October 12, 1979 against Hartsville. Therefore, he should know talent at the quarterback position where he starred in that role.
Khalil Bethea is tops on the offensive line, and Shamar McCollum is tops on the defensive line. Dray Thompson, Jadarius McDaniel, and Shakai Jeanty will also be on defense for the ‘Cats.
The ‘Cats picked up Tyquan King as another running back. He is 6’ 2″ and weighs 210 pounds.
For those of you who watched the Wildcats win the championship last year will easily recall the play of Ahmari Huggins-Bruce. He will be returning as a receiver in his sophomore year.
Corrain Wright who also shined in the state championship will also return as a receiver on offense and as a defensive back.
The team has been working extremely hard in the off-season, and they know what it takes to win a championship.
The Wildcats also lost a coach last year but picked up a new one, William Clark, for this season.
The Dillon team needs to have some step up and fill the rolls as a kicker, defensive backs, and offensive linemen.
Dillon is probably the weakest at defensive backs. As the season progresses, they will only get better as will the entire team.
The Wildcats are strongest with linebackers, defensive ends, and at the quarterback position.
With on-field leadership the Wildcats are ready to “roar” again this year.
Coach Hayes has a great coaching staff assisting him with the mighty Wildcats including Marty McIntyre, Chris Ray, Splinter Spivey, Lee Page, Zach Hayes, Alan McLaurin, Jason Gunter, Kelvin Roller, Norman Quick, Kelvin Roberts, Gary Barfield, Jamie Norris, Rodney Quick, Twin Lester, and volunteer coaches include Ronald German, Randy McCollum, and Maurice Bethea.
8/17 Lumberton, N.C.
9/7 Lake View
9/21 at Marlboro Co.
10/5 at Loris
10/19 Lake City
10/26 at Cheraw
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
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