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J.H. Rose prepares for first game on Turf with practice at ECU, Rampants seeking first state football title since 2006

J.H. Rose vs Dudley 7 PM Friday at UNC’s Kenan Stadium
J.H. Rose prepares for first game on Turf with practice at ECU
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 4:56 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - J.H. Rose is back in the state football championship for the first time since 2015. The Rampants getting ready to play Dudley on Friday night at UNC’s Kenan Stadium.

“No, this is the first time we played on turf this year,” says J.H. Rose head coach Will Bland.

ECU hosting the Rampants for practice Tuesday night to get used to artificial turf.

“It should help us. Anytime you play on artificial grass it is pretty fast,” says Bland, “We want the kids to get used to it. It’s a different feel. Making different cuts.”

“Used to slipping and sliding around,” says J.H. Rose senior Ty’queron Hines, “Turf should get us some extra grip. I feel like it won’t change nothing.”

Some players like it, some don’t.

“I don’t personally think it makes a difference,” says J.H. Rose senior Jayden Grimes, “I honestly would rather play on grass... Yeah? Yeah Turf burn is something else.”

Rampants Will Bland was an assistant on the 2015 team which made the state game. Now in his 2nd season as J.H. Rose head coach he has them practicing on championship week.

“Talked to a bunch of coaches. They say you just got a normal week of practice,” says Bland, “It’s state championship game but you gotta make everything seem normal. So that’s what we are trying to do.”

Hard to keep it completely normal for seniors who know this is the end of their high school career.

“Still having fun because it’s the seniors last week but we are taking it serious,” says Hines, “working hard and we trying to get this dub.”

“We just feel real confident,” says Grimes, “We have been winning for a long time and we just got one more. So we think we can do that again.”

This years Rampants would have been 2-years-old or younger when Rose last won the state football title. It completed a 4-peat in 2006. While they don’t remember seeing it, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been dreaming they’d be the next ones.

“To be like that in the same atmosphere in a college stadium and all. I’ve just always wanted to experience that and it’s cool to do that,” says Hines.

“It’d be a dream. That was one of my goals I wrote down at the beginning of the year was 1000 yards, state championship... undefeated,” says Grimes, “Those were the goals. So if we get two out of three that would be perfect.”

WITN area teams Tarboro and Wallace-Rose Hill both play their state title games on Saturday. We will have more on them this week.

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