DUNCAN, S.C. - Outside of the Pac-6 in Durham, there are very few people who have heard of Durham (N.C.) Southern High.
But with a returning group of stellar players and an ambitious coach, that could change.
"This should be a good team," head coach Adrian Jones said. "We struggled a little last year, but we were young. Now with all these guys rising, we should be making a move."
The move that team wants to make is back in front of its rival, Durham (N.C.) Hillside.
After beating Hillside in each of the first three years of his coaching career, Jones and Southern High fell last season, 13-12. Hillside went unbeaten, winning a state title and finishing the year ranked No. 44 in the RivalsHigh 100.
While Jones said he was happy for the success Hillside had, the near-miss frustration was evident.
"It is all about the rivalry there," he said. "Hillside and Southern. These kids grow up together and then get split in junior high."
The coaching ties of the two schools are split, too.
"I played at Southern," Jones said. "And (Hillside) coach (Antonio) King played at Hillside. We have been going back-and-forth for a while.
"It is a healthy respect. I will root for them to do well at these events, but when we play them, we don't like each other."
So far, both teams are representing North Carolina well and the Southern players are getting noticed.
Dorian Belcher, the quarterback for Southern, has been the leader of the offense.
He has led the team to a near-perfect start to the tournament with the team's lone setback to Woodruff (S.C.) High.
His play gives Jones more confidence moving forward.
"He is a good leader," Jones said. "I think he can take us deep into the playoffs."
And beat Hillside, of course.
Propst would prefer early signing period
One of the most controversial discussion points in football recruiting has been the desire of college coaches to have an early signing day as opposed to just the National Signing Day event that happens in February.
Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County head football coach Rush Propst said he would be in favor of that proposal passing.
"It is hard on the kids and hard on the high school coaches," he said.
Propst estimates that he has placed more than 200 kids to all levels of college football in his 27 years of coaching.
He sees three major problems with the current process: third party involvement, early commitments and continued college involvement.
"I don't like the bad third-party people," he said. "Sometime you see them trying to get involved in the decision making for the kids. It is hard enough on them without folks trying to help themselves."
The veteran coach added that once a kid is committed the process is still not over, and it is distracting.
"A kid will commit, say he is going to a school and it doesn't matter to the other coaches," he said. "A lot of the time, these are 17-year-old kids. The last thing they need is 25 coaches telling them they are the best and they are the top guy on their radar. Once the kid picks a school, I would like to see the other schools accept that and move on."
A situation that would happen if there were an early signing period, Propst added.
The last of the three was, as Probst admitted, selfish.
"Too many times these college coaches will think the kid belongs to them and not us," he said. "I am sure those same coaches wouldn't want their players getting ready for the NFL Draft in the middle of the season. There have been kids getting put on workout regimens in the middle of my season. It is hard enough getting them to do what I say without their next coach trying to get involved."
Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile has been rotating four quarterbacks during the first day of the event. The team, like the quarterbacks, have had mixed results. The Crusaders have won multiple games, but also blew a 17-0 lead against Byrnes, losing 34-23.
Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central linebacker Jordan Wallace said that being asked about recruiting didn't bother him. The 6-foot-1 inside backer said, "I don't mind the calls, I just tell them the truth." When asked if he had any leaders among his 11 offers he said, "Nope." Honest.
Kaleb Humphrey, a 5-foot-8 cornerback at Warren Central, may be close to committing according to his head coach John Hart. "He has an offer from Western Kentucky and I think he is close to accepting that," Hart said.
It has been a busy week for Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County lineman Bryce Giddens. The 6-foot, 270-pound lineman has been flooded with offers from Air Force, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, East Carolina, South Alabama, Navy and Marshall.
Giddens isn't the only Colquitt County offensive lineman to add offers as Preston Mobley picked up an offer from Jacksonville State to go along with an offer from UAB. Head coach Rush Propst thinks that Louisiana Tech is close to offering as well.
Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes junior receiver Akia Booker rolled his ankle early in the event but came back at full speed later. Booker said that his recruiting is slow right now but thinks it could pick up.
Lexington (S.C.) High receiver Shaq Roland, the No. 1 receiver in the state of South Carolina, was unstoppable in most every game. His breakout game was against Warren Central when he would routinely beat his man and outjump the safety who was rolled over him. Both players, Kaleb Humphrey and Jordan Shine, are Division I athletes.