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A preview for the Fall Sports Preview

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Every year I put in a countless number of hours interviewing coaches, coming out to practices and taking photos to put together the epic Fall Sports Preview tab for The Wake Weekly. This year, I got it done for the fourth year in a row and do I have some stories to tell!

It’s a ton of work each year, but thankfully I had plenty of help from writers Don Fuller and Jack Kessler, who helped me split up the coverage so I wouldn’t have to do everything by myself.

I greatly appreciate all the coaches and athletic directors who got back to me on time and helped make my job a little bit easier. I literally couldn’t do it without their cooperation.

This year, the fall sports season has a load of storylines. There are brand new coaches giving it their first go with a team, new players bursting out on the scene to get excited about and people wondering if the teams can do better this year than they did last year.

I think our two biggest stories heading into this season are the only defending state champions for fall sports: the Wake Forest High School football team and the Franklin Academy girls cross country team. Both the Cougars and Lady Patriots have won their respective state championship three times in a row. Can they do it for the fourth time this year?

Wake Forest’s football team is stacked and loaded almost every single year. This season, they have a new generation of players, most of which have never been a part of all three state championships.

Wake Forest hasn’t lost a game since 2015 and hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2013. They are always fun to watch on Friday nights.

Head coach Reggie Lucas will have to get his players focused on the season ahead to see if they can continue their legendary winning streak.

As for Franklin Academy, they will have to continue their success with a new head coach. Rob King enters this year as a first-time high school cross country coach. He’s been a part of Franklin Academy for the past few years as a middle school coach. He’s hoping his connection with the underclassmen at Franklin Academy will pay off.

Wakefield’s golf team enters this season as reigning five-time conference champs. Will someone end their streak this year? Heritage’s volleyball team went undefeated in the NAC 6 last year to win their first conference championship in school history. Will they repeat or will someone take down the Lady Huskies?

Heritage’s girls soccer team won their first 4A state championship last spring. How will the boys team respond this fall? Rolesville, Wake Forest and Wakefield tied for first place in the NAC 6 for girls tennis last year. Will there be a lone conference champion this year?

Wake Forest’s cross country team has won the NAC 6 conference championship two years in a row for both the boys and girls team. Will a team break through and stop them this year or will the Cougars become three-peat champions?

Franklinton has won their conference two years in a row without a single loss. Will they continue their streak with new head coach Tom Harris? Franklin Academy’s boys soccer team is trying to get back to the 1A state championship. Will they be able to accomplish their goal under new head coach Justin Bailey?

There are so many exciting things going on this year and I can’t wait to see if all of these questions will be answered. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons. I like how the temperature drops and gets a little cooler. I enjoy football and I’ve learned to appreciate the other sports as well.

Please support your local high schools by picking up a copy of our annual Fall Sports Preview tab next Friday, Aug. 16. Read up on all the articles we put a lot of hard work, time and effort in to. Follow the fall sports teams by attending their games this year. They would love the support.

Marty Simpkins is the sports editor of The Wake Weekly. He can be reached at 919-424-1779 or marty@wakeweekly.com.

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