Junior running back on pace for third-straight 1,000-yard rushing season
Noah LaValle set big goals for himself entering his third season with Topsail football, goals that might sound unrealistic for an 11-game schedule.
But after two weeks, those goals don’t seem so far-fetched. The Pirates are 2-0 on the year with two lopsided wins behind the junior running back, who has rushed for 334 yards and five touchdowns.
“Sometimes I wish I knew what my numbers were during a game,” he said. “The biggest thing is winning, but I also want to rush for 2,000 yards this year.”
LaValle burst onto the scene as a freshman when he ran for 1,382 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season, he battled injuries and played in just eight games, but still ran for 1,097 yards.
Aside from preserving his gaudy 11.1 yards per carry start to the season, staying healthy in 2018 could be the biggest key. He’s spending more time focusing on his body on a day-to-day basis.
“There’s a whole lot of body maintenence this year,” LaValle said. “Ice baths after every practice, stretching throughout the day and drinking more water. Stuff like that all helps.”
He’s also spent a considerable amount of time focusing on working in the weight room and getting stronger. He looks like a different person compared to his freshman season, and the added strength helps fight off nagging injuries. It also makes LaValle a better running back.
“I’m still trying to get bigger. It helps me a lot with running inside. When I build up my legs it makes me faster, and my upper body has given me a better stiff arm this year,” he said.
LaValle hopes all the individual development helps Topsail find success all season. The Pirates got off to a 4-0 start last year before losing six of their last seven games.
Injuries throughout the team and a tough late-season schedule were the main factors in Topsail’s slide. The Pirates could be on their way to another 4-0 start this year after beating Trask (28-0) and Pender (54-7) in the first two weeks.
Finding a way to beat the Mideastern Conference powers is the biggest obstacle, and motivation.
“I mean no offense to any other team, but Hanover and Hoggard and Laney, those are the teams we want to beat,” he said. “We talk about those teams all the time. We’ve got a lot of confidence right now.”
GAMES TO WATCH
New Hanover (1-1) at Cape Fear (1-1)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Last game: New Hanover beat Northside-Jacksonville 24-14; Cape Fear lost 25-0 to Seventy-First
Last year: New Hanover won 26-19 in the regular season, and 41-38 in the playoffs
Notes: A huge test arrives for two teams that met in the third round of last year’s 3AA playoffs. … The Wildcats’ defense came to the rescue last week after the offense committed six turnovers. Freshman linebacker Mike Jacobs made a team-high nine tackles and recorded one sack in New Hanover’s win over Northside. … Blake Walston and the offense still hasn’t reached full speed, and the senior quarterback has yet to throw for a touchdown. Travis Lee was the star in Week 2 with 132 rushing yards and 92 receiving. … Cape Fear has struggled mightily on offense through two weeks with just 15 total points. The Colts turned the ball over three times in the first quarter of its Week 2 loss. … Zaire Boykin has been Cape Fear’s best offensive weapon so far, with 163 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries.
Havelock (2-0) at Wallace-Rose Hill (1-1)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Last game: Havelock beat New Bern 77-13; Wallace-Rose Hill lost to Southwest Onslow 29-20
Last year: Wallace-Rose Hill won 26-21
On Twitter: Follow @StarNewsVarsity for updates
Notes: The Bulldogs are coming off their first non-conference loss since 2015. Four turnovers and missed opportunities in the red zone doomed Wallace-Rose Hill against Southwest Onslow. … Junior Cameren Dalrymple is averaging 12.9 yards per rush with three touchdowns and 387 total yards for Wallace-Rose Hill. Sophomore Devin Gardner (28 carries, 162 yards) and senior quarterback Michael Badsen (17 carries, 122 yards) have also found success on the ground. … Havelock’s prolific offense led the Rams to a state title appearance in 2017, and things aren’t slowing down with a new quarterback this year. Tennessee commit Anthony Harris has thrown for 512 yards and two touchdowns, and North Carolina pledge Welton Spottsville has 146 receiving yards on seven catches. … Offensive lineman Nishad Strother (East Carolina) is another Division I commit on the Rams’ roster.
Fairmont (0-1) at Ashley (1-1)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Last game: Fairmont lost to Douglas Byrd 38-28; Ashley lost to Purnell Swett 34-14
Last year: Ashley won 30-20
On Twitter: Follow @NoahILM for updates
Notes: The Screaming Eagles were outscored 20-7 in the second half last week and couldn’t keep up with Purnell Swett. … Zach Williams had another fantastic game for Ashley and now leads the Screaming Eagles with 248b rushing yards on 45 carries. Makai Stanley has been the big-play threat, averaging 10.6 yards per rush. … Cade Jones leads Ashley with 20 tackles and has posted double-digit tackles in both games to start the year. … Fairmont was off in Week 2, but the Golden Tornadoes showed they weren’t afraid to throw the ball in Week 1 with 206 passing yards between quarterbacks Jayvon Morris and Jahkeem Moore. … Fairmont was an up-and-down team in 2017. The Tornadoes lost by 11 combined points to East Bladen and South Columbus, but fell 58-16 to the other Three-Rivers co-champion in Whiteville.
Jacksonville (2-0) at Laney (0-2)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Last game: Jacksonville beat East Duplin 35-21; Laney lost to J.H. Rose 34-6
Last year: Jacksonville won 40-6
Notes: Laney’s tough schedule to start the season doesn’t get any easier as the Cardinals come to BucTown Friday night. … The Buccaneers offense has struggled through the first two weeks with just 19 total points scored. Sherod Sidbury got Laney’s only score in the Week 2 loss to J.H. Rose. … Jacksonville already has two impressive wins to start the season against 2A powers Southwest Onslow and East Duplin. … Dual-threat quarterback Justyn Benton has powered the Cardinals’ offense with 178 rushing yards and 272 passing. Helping him out in the backfield is Graham Brinker (26 carries, 265 yards) and Kijeir Fister (13 carries, 104 yards).
Topsail (2-0) at Dixon (0-2)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Last game: Topsail beat Pender 54-7, Dixon lost to Southside 27-20
Last year: Topsail won 47-0
Notes: The Pirates’ run of blowout wins shouldn’t stop in Week 3 against the Bulldogs. … Aside from running back Noah LaValle, quarterback Cody Wallis has had a nice start to the season. He’s averaging 23.4 yards per completion to keep the defenses honest. Wallis connected with Johnathan Ward on a 42-yard score against Pender for the first varsity passing touchdown of his career. … The Pirates’ defense has been stout, giving up just seven points through the first two weeks. Gavyn Hibbard and Noah Schiefelbein each have an interception. … Bryce Napier leads the Dixon offense with 269 rushing yards and two tocuhdowns. Corey Motes has thrown for 166 passing yards, but the Bulldogs’ quarterback is only completing 43.8 percent of his passes. … Last year, Topsail ran for 357 yards against Dixon.
STARNEWS TOP TEN
Notes: First-place votes in parentheses. Teams from the Mideastern, Coastal 8, East Central and Three Rivers conferences are eligible for the poll. This week’s voters were Jackson Fuller, Alex Riley, Owen Hassell, Dan Spears, Matt Hinson, Chris Miller and Noah Thomas.
TEAM, RECORD, POINTS
1. Hoggard (7), 2-0, 70
Last week: beat Orange 34-7
This week: bye
2. Whiteville, 2-0, 51
Last week: beat West Brunswick 14-7
This week: bye
T3. New Hanover, 1-1, 49
Last week: beat Northside-Jacksonville 24-14
This week: at Cape Fear
T3. Wallace-Rose Hill, 1-1, 49
Last week: lost to Southwest Onslow 29-20
This week: vs. Havelock
5. East Duplin, 1-1, 44
Last week: lost to Jacksonville 35-21
This week: vs. Ayden-Grifton
6. South Columbus, 1-0, 36
Last week: beat Douglas Byrd 21-14
This week: vs. Loris
7. Southwest Onslow, 1-1, 31
Last week: beat Wallace-Rose Hill 29-20
This week: vs. White Oak
8. Topsail, 2-0, 21
Last week: beat Pender 54-7
This week: at Dixon
9. Clinton, 1-1, 18
Last week: beat East Bladen 14-0
This week: vs. Northside-Jacksonville
10. West Brunswick, 1-1, 10
Last week: lost to Whiteville 14-7
This week: at North Myrtle Beach (S.C.)
Others receiving votes: East Bladen 3.
Jr. Cameren Dalrymple, RB, Wallace-Rose Hill: 30 rushes, 387 yards, 3 TDs
Jr. Noah LaValle, RB, Topsail: 30 rushes, 334 yards, 5 TDs
Jr. Austin Simmons, RB, West Brunswick: 55 rushes, 315 yards, 3 TDs
Sr. Zach Williams, RB, Ashley: 45 carries, 248 yards, 2 TDs
Jr. Makai Stanley, RB, Ashley: 22 rushes, 234 yards, 3 TDs
Jr. Jvonte Davis, RB, Whiteville: 34 rushes, 216 yards, 1 TD
Jr. Kwesi Clarke, RB, North Brunswick: 16 rushes, 182 yards, 3 TDs
Jr. Jordan Rickey, RB, Hoggard: 23 rushes, 168 yards, 3 TDs
Sr. Travis Lee, RB, New Hanover: 30 rushes, 163 yards, 1 TD
Soph. Devin Gardner, RB, Wallace-Rose Hill: 28 rushes, 162 yards, 3 TDs
Jr. De’Andre Clarida, RB, West Brunswick: 30 rushes, 156 yards, 1 TD
Sr. Kenneth Marshall, RB, Hoggard: 27 rushes, 142 yards, 2 TDs
Jr. Ty Moss, QB, Whiteville: 29 rushes, 141 yards, 1 TD
Jr. Alex Brown, RB, South Brunswick: 11 rushes, 140 yards, 3 TDs
Sr. Dayshon Lee, RB, South Brunswick: 16 rushes, 135 yards, 1 TD
Sr. Jake Johnson, QB, Trask: 37 rushes, 134 yards
Sr. Bryce Deberry, RB, North Brunswick: 18 rushes, 129 yards
Sr. Makhel Henry, RB, Pender: 7 rushes 117 yards, 1 TD
Jr. Khamari Gorham, RB, Trask: 24 carries, 102 yards
Sr. Blake Walston, QB, New Hanover: 24-52, 270 yards
Sr. Mason Phillips, QB, South Brunswick: 15-24, 202 yards, 1 TD
Soph. Gabe Johnson, QB, Hoggard: 16-38, 169 yards, 1 TD
Jr. Bryson Stewart, QB, Pender: 16-33, 150 yards, 1 TD
Jr. Cody Wallis, QB, Topsail: 5-9, 117 yards, 1 TD
Sr. Ty Moss, QB, Whiteville: 6-15, 97 yards, 3 TDs
Jr. Robmell Lowery, QB, North Brunswick: 6-13, 89 yards, TD
Sr. Anthony Schiavone, WR, Hoggard: 5 catches, 104 yards
Sr. Travis Lee, RB, New Hanover: 4 catches, 96 yards
Sr. Makhel Henry, RB, Pender: 10 catches, 91 yards, 1 TD
Soph. Landon Farriss, WR, New Hanover: 8 catches, 82 yards
Sr. Jalen Gore, WR, New Hanover: 9 catches, 73 yards
Jr. Jieem Bullock, WR, North Brunswick: 2 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD
Sr. Tim Harrington, WR, South Brunswick: 4 catches, 64 yards
Sr. CJ Pipkin, WR, Hoggard: 5 catches, 57 yards
Sr. Lavell Henry Jr., RB, Pender: 4 catches, 51 yards
Sr. Lincoln Ransom, TE, Whiteville: 2 catches, 47 yards, 2 TDs
Soph. Miguel Miller, WR, South Brunswick: 4 catches, 45 yards
Sr. Hayden Walsh, RB, Topsail: 2 catches, 44 yards
Sr. Johnathan Ward, WR, Topsail: 1 catch, 42 yards, TD
Soph. Ervin Moore, WR, Whiteville: 2 catches, 31 yards
Sr. Garrett Topping, LB, Ashley: 20 tackles
Sr. Cade Jones, DB, Ashley: 20 tackles, 1 interception
Jr. John Porter, LB, South Brunswcik: 17 tackles
Jr. David MacCallum, DB, New Hanover: 16 tackles, 4 tackles for loss
Sr. Foster Williamson, LB, Trask: 16 tackles
Jr. Logan Teter, DB, Ashley: 15 tackles
Sr. Campbell Woody, DL, South Brunswick: 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Sr. Brandon Vaught, DL, South Brunswick: 15 tackles
Sr. Jaheim Lane, LB, Trask: 15 tackles
Sr. Zion Cruse, DE, Trask: 15 tackles
Jr. Jaycob Jones, LB, New Hanover: 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception
Jr. Joshua Barnhill, LB, Pender: 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss
Fr. Chuck Bishop, LB, New Hanover: 13 tackles
Sr. Jacob Roghelia, LB, South Brunswick: 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss
Sr. Mason Phillips, DB, South Brunswick: 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Jr. Garrett Manning, LB, Hoggard: 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery
Sr. Scott Looney, LB, Hoggard: 11 tackles, 4 tackles for loss
Fr. Jaden Lee, LB, Pender: 10 tackles
Sr. Cade Edwards, DB, Hoggard: 7 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries
Stats were compiled from MaxPreps and emails. To ensure your team’s stats are included, update MaxPreps or email Jackson.Fuller@StarNewsOnline.com