The Top 22: Outstanding athletes from the tenth week of high school football season.

Every week, HighSchoolOT will publish the Starting 22, which showcases the top performances from every position in North Carolina.

Each week, coaches can submit performance nominations to [email protected] for them to be considered.


Quarterback Jackson Byrd, a junior from Cleveland.

  • Byrd was highly productive, completing 20 out of 25 passes for 318 yards and scoring a total of six touchdowns, leading Cleveland to a dominant 48-7 victory over Garner.

Sophomore Brilison McCullers of Sanderson High School was announced with the initials RB.

  • In Sanderson’s impressive 48-24 victory against Enloe, their talented sophomore player ran for a total of 186 yards and scored five touchdowns on 24 carries. The Spartans, as a team, rushed for more than 500 yards.

High School

Second-year student Shannon Wingate at North Lincoln High School

  • In North Lincoln’s 38-7 victory against a strong West Iredell team, Wingate had an impressive performance, rushing for 268 yards and scoring three touchdowns on only 12 carries.

WR — Sergio Castellon, senior, Panther Creek

  • In Panther Creek’s 34-0 victory over Enloe, Castellon made 11 receptions for 208 yards and scored four touchdowns, setting several school records. One of his notable plays was a 99-yard touchdown.

Hampton Roderick, a junior at Laney High School, is WR.

  • The young player from North Brunswick was unstoppable, receiving seven passes for 138 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the team’s 40-0 win.

High School

DeVon Thomas, a junior running back from Rolesville High School, is a member of the FLEX team.

  • Thomas has been a standout player this season, running for a total of 235 yards and scoring six touchdowns in Rolesville’s impressive 75-point game against Wake Forest.

High School

JaKobe Campbell, a senior at Rolesville High School, has received the honor of being named OL.

  • The 6’4″, 290-pound player who committed to James Madison played a significant role in the offensive success of Rolesville in their 75-27 victory against Wake Forest.

High School

Jonathan Ngandu is a junior at Sanderson High School.

  • The junior, who stands at 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 315 pounds, played a crucial role in Sanderson’s most impressive offensive display of the year.

OL — Brandon Pittman, junior, Sanderson

  • The Spartans’ junior interior lineman played a key role in their 48-24 victory against Enloe, contributing to a total of 519 rushing yards.

Thomas Wilson, a senior at Myers Park High School, is an OL.

  • The Myers Park team was aided by the Shrine Bowl selection as they were able to pass for 300 yards and run for 150 yards, resulting in a dominating 59-6 victory over Berry Academy.

OL — Sam Nelson, sophomore, East Wilkes

  • The sophomore, who stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 260 pounds, aided the Cardinals in gaining 248 yards and scoring five touchdowns against Alleghany.

Review Previous Installments of the Initial 22


High School

Charlie Deeb, a senior at Green Hope High School, is part of EDGE.

  • During the game between Green Hope and Green Level, the senior player recorded six tackles, three sacks, two tackles for a loss, and four quarterback pressures. Notably, three of his tackles occurred on crucial third down plays.

DL — D’Nas White, senior, Jay M. Robinson

  • As the game progressed into the night, I was able to make an impact in the backfield and help secure a significant victory against Northwest Cabarrus. In the fourth quarter, I played a crucial role in three turnovers that ultimately led to our win. This included pressuring the quarterback, resulting in two interceptions, and recovering a fumble when our team was close to scoring. -Evan Moesta

High School

Christopher Bispham is a sophomore attending Havelock High School.

  • The sophomore continued his strong season with four tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a sack against Northside-Jacksonville. The 240-pound Bispham does a lot of damage from the interior and has generated 10 sacks this season.

Sophomore Zavion Griffin-Hayes from Rolesville was featured in EDGE.

  • Griffin-Haynes had a standout performance in Rolesville’s dominant 75-27 victory against Wake Forest, marking his best game of the season thus far. He tallied eight tackles, two of which were for a loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup, and five hurries on the quarterback.

High School

Jake Davids, a senior at Ardrey Kell High School, is LB.

  • The Knights’ impressive two-way performer was recognized for making 16 tackles, three of which were for a loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception. The Knights emerged victorious with a 34-14 score against Olympic.

LB — Quinton Cypher, freshman, Millbrook

  • Cypher, the first freshman to earn a spot in the Starting 22, has made a strong debut in his first season. In a game against Knightdale, he recorded 12 tackles and one sack. So far this season, he has accumulated a total of 110 tackles and seven tackles for a loss.

High School

Sawyer Lowe, a junior at Cleveland High School, is represented by the initials LB.

  • Lowe played a crucial role in Cleveland’s strong defense against Garner, tallying 11 individual tackles, three tackles resulting in a loss of yards, and causing a fumble.

High School

Braylen Ollison, a senior at Pamlico County High School, is known as DB.

  • Ollison has seven interceptions on the season after picking off another pass in Pamlico’s 55-0 win over Jones, the Hurricanes’ best performance of the season.

DB — Kater Cornwell, junior, Southern Alamance

  • Cornwell had numerous successful pass deflections and made a spectacular diving interception to seal the Patriots’ crucial 14-7 victory against Eastern Alamance.

Zach Hulbert is a senior at Cleveland High School.

  • The defender, standing at 5 feet and 9 inches, made a total of 11 tackles, with five of them resulting in a loss of yards.

FLEX — Sa’Mad Bell, senior, Dudley

  • Dudley’s pass rusher ranks in the top five in the state for number of sacks. This was demonstrated by their five tackles, three of which resulted in a loss, and one sack in the Panthers’ 64-6 victory against Southern Guilford.