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New football coach brings upside to Rolesville

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ROLESVILLE — After previous head football coach Wilson Helms left for Ashley High School in Wilmington, Rolesville High School brought on experienced high school football veteran Martin Samek to lead the football program this year.

Samek will be Rolesville’s third head football coach in school history. He comes to the Rams with plenty of experience, mostly in the western part of North Carolina.

Samek started his football coaching experience in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. In 1998, he moved to North Carolina and became an assistant coach at North Gaston High School in Dallas. Afterwards, Samek was the defensive coordinator at St. Stephens High School in Hickory.

Samek spent time as the defensive coordinator at Mount Tabor High School until he was hired as the assistant head coach at East Forysth High School in Kernersville in 2007. A year later, he got his first head coaching job at Grimsley High School in Greensboro.

From 2009 to 2012, Samek was the head coach at Southwestern Randolph High School in Asheboro. Then he spent the past six years as the head coach of Parkland High School in Winston-Salem.

Samek was hired by Rolesville athletic director Tom Kinkelaar in December 2018 and officially started working for the school in February.

“Last year, my wife and I were talking about leaving the Winston-Salem area, where we have lived for the last 15 years,” Samek said. “Raleigh seemed like a very desirable place to live. It’s a great opportunity here at Rolesville. Coaching at a big high school like this has a lot of upside.”

Samek takes over a Rolesville football program that is coming off one of its best years in school history. Last season, the Rams went 6-6 and finished tied for second in the NAC 6 conference with Heritage and Wakefield. Samek said last year’s success has gained momentum for the upcoming season.

“There’s a lot of interest in the football program here,” Samek said. “A lot of kids want to play. Coach Helms did a great job getting the guys acclimated in the weight room before I got here. There’s a lot of talent already here. The assistant coaches have been very helpful. The administration has been very supportive. It’s a good situation early on.”

Samek enters a program with plenty of returning starters and senior players who can contribute right away. Right tackle Jonathan Adorno (6-foot-4, 293 pounds) and right guard Kadeem Willis (6-3, 300 pounds) are three-year starters. Adorno currently holds college offers from schools such as UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest and others.

Josh Pullen returns as the starting running back for his senior year. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder gained 974 yards and four touchdowns on the ground with four 100-yard games.

Rolesville’s quarterback situation will be a question mark heading into this season, as previous starting quarterback Noah Douglas (915 yards passing, 421 rushing, 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions in 2018) transferred to neighboring Wake Forest.

Jashaun Patterson will step into the role as the starter this year as a dual-threat quarterback. His main passing options include Ethan Harris (18 catches in 2018) and Donald Macklin (11 catches).

On the defensive front, veteran linebackers Darius Robinson (86 tackles, six for a loss in 2018) and Camar Kyle (eight sacks, 31 tackles, five for losses) return as key starters. Pullen also plays linebacker, where he contributed two sacks and 35 tackles during his junior campaign.

“When I took over Parkland, that was a rebuilding job. Here at Rolesville, it’s more of a reboot job,” Samek said. “The one thing the kids are missing is learning how to win. I think they need just a little more grit to help them win those close games they lost last year.”

Last season, NAC 6 conference champion Wake Forest went undefeated for the third year in a row and won the 4AA state championship. Heritage had a bit of a down season going from 12-2 in 2017 to 8-4 last year. Wakefield had the opposite effect, going from a winless 0-11 record in 2017 to 6-5 last season.

“Wake County might have the best football teams from top to bottom, with our conference being one of the best in the state,” Samek said. “You have several teams that are quality teams and are very talented in our conference, especially Wake Forest. To get the kids ready, you have to prepare them the best they can during the offseason and just adjust from there.”

Samek said he hopes to get Rolesville to continue going in the right direction and make their mark in the NAC 6 conference. The Rams are still searching for their first 4A state playoff win in school history. Samek said the future is bright for Rolesville football.

“There’s a lot to be positive about here at Rolesville,” Samek said. “Our numbers have grown. We’ve actually had to order more jerseys for the varsity team. There’s going to be a lot of excitement. We’re doing things a little bit differently here. Hopefully, we’ll have a good product out there on the field this year.”