By David McGregor
For the Forsyth County News
High school athletes had plenty of obstacles to overcome throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For five North Forsyth seniors, these obstacles made them stronger and more focused than before.
"These five seniors are resilient,” North Forsyth athletic director Scott Tilden said. “With all of the uncertainty, speculations and cancellations, these guys worked so hard, as hard as any group of seniors that have come through Raider Valley. They are truly a great representation of the Coal Mountain community."
The five seniors Tilden referenced were: Carson Brown (Montevallo, Lacrosse), Peyton Wagner (Cleveland Community College, Baseball), Brady Meitz (Stetson, Football), Max Bryant (Carson Newman, Football) and Noah Macias (Olivet Nazarene, Football), who all signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning at the school’s Performing Arts Center.
All five Raiders played football for head coach Robert Craft, who added, "No one has ever had to deal with what our athletes had to deal with this year in terms of recruiting. I am just so proud of everyone here today."
Carson Brown, who will play goalie for Montevallo, was introduced by lacrosse head coach, John Garrish.
“Carson has been focused all the way since first stepping foot onto campus,” Garrish said. “He knew what he wanted to do and found a way to achieve that goal while being a leader and keeping a full schedule yearround of lacrosse, football, working the special needs program at North and being very active at his church.”
Brown said he is excited of the opportunity he has been given and plans to make the most of it.
Assistant baseball coach Kyle Counts showered Wagner with a bevy of compliments and memories that were too many to count.
“Peyton’s character and hard-working attitude is first class, and we expect huge things from him this season,” Counts said.
“Talk about dreams coming true,” Wagner said. “I always knew I could play at the collegiate level and am excited and ready to be a Yeti.”
Meitz, North’s starting quarterback for the past two seasons, committed to Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.
Meitz led North to back-to-back winning seasons, which hadn’t been done in more than a decade (2004-05).
“I’m ecstatic to go to the next level,” Meitz said. “We have great coaches and facilities, the school is great and I am ready to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Three-year starters in the trenches Noah Macias and Max Bryant have been leaders for the football program since starting as sophomores.
Macias will play defensive line for Olivet Nazarene after starting for the past two seasons on the offensive line.
Macias originally played defensive line his sophomore year, so moving back to the other side of the ball was a selling point to commit.
“I cannot wait for the next chapter in my life,” Macias said, “and I am beyond excited for this chance.”
Bryant, who set the school record this year for quarterback hurries in a season, said he is excited for the next four to five years at Carson Newman.
“It really feels like home there,” Bryant said. “Everything is state of the art and I feel like I fit right in.”
As always, Tilden emceed the event and ended his remarks with a term coined by Nathan Turner years ago: “You always have a home here in Raider Valley. Just remember, once a Raider, always a Raider.”