STANHOPE - Rocky Mount was voted to finish third in Big East Conference football in a vote of the league's head coaches Wednesday morning.
The vote came during the league's annual coaches' meeting held at Southern Nash High School. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Leading the balloting was Southern Nash. The Firebirds, who return two 1,000-yard rushers in Tracy Coppedge and Terron Huffman, received four first-place votes and gathered 24 points. Southern, which finished third in the league last season, made it to the NCHSAA 3-AA eastern finals where it lost to South Johnston in the final minutes of the game.
Coming in second was Wilson Hunt with two first-place votes and 22 total points. The Warriors, the defending conference champions, fell to Southern Nash in the second round of last year's playoffs. They return the league's second-leading rusher in senior Caleb Driver.
Southern and Hunt combined to get every first- or second-place vote by the coaches.
The Gryphons, who will face the 2010 season without the school's all-time leading rusher (Marquavis Alston) and the program's third-leading passer (Collins Cuthrell), placed third in the voting with 15 points.
One conference coach voted Rocky Mount to come in last in the league. Two voted it second and two voted it to place third. RMHS was the runner-up to Hunt in the conference race last season (7-5, 4-1) and a second-round 3-AA playoff victim to South Johnston.
Northern Nash, which won just two games last season under first-year head coach Mickey Crouch, finished one point behind Rocky Mount in fourth with 14. The Knights received four third-place nods and one coach had them fourth.
Nash Central received nine points and placed fifth, Wilson Fike, which has only three starters back for the 2010 season, was sixth with six points.
2010 BIG EAST 3-A CONFERENCE PRESEASON FOOBALL COACHES POLL
1. Southern Nash (4) - 24 pts.
2. Wilson Hunt (2) - 22 pts.
3. Rocky Mount - 15 pts.
4. Northern Nash - 14 pts.
5. Nash Central - 9 pts.
6. Wilson Fike - 6 pts.