Jayquan Maynard

Junios Smith | October 16th, 2017
Jayquan Maynard (Photo by Mykel Media Company)

Jayquan Maynard (Photo by Mykel Media Company)

Dudley High School football coach Stephen Davis believes in the “next man up” philosophy, and with injuries affecting the Panthers Jayquan Maynard has stepped into the role.

Maynard, listed at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds, has been playing on the offensive line for the defending NCHSAA 4A state champions as a freshman, going between offensive guard and center. Due to several starters going down, Maynard was moved up to varsity and getting more playing time, culminating with his first start against Ben L. Smith on Oct. 6.

Maynard got his first bit of varsity playing time in the season opener against Carver, a contest the Panthers easily won 49-0, and said he was nervous throughout.
“With it being my first varsity high school game, I wasn’t expecting to go out there, especially to play two quarters,” Maynard said.

Although Maynard was nervous of what was to come in 2017, his mother, Zabrina Stimpson, wasn’t. Stimpson said she knew her son had potential, as well as the Dudley coaches.

“Jayquan loves the sport of football and has been playing ever since he was seven,” Stimpson said. “Even playing at Harrison Junior High, coaches were looking at him then. He started out playing at JV, but got moved up to varsity, which is good as a freshman knowing some guys stay on JV until their 10th grade year. He’s got experience because he’s been playing the game for so long as well.”

During the Panthers’ 38-6 victory over the Eagles, the Dudley offense racked up 363 yards, including 195 rushing on 8.1 yards per carry. Maynard, who said he’s still learning after transitioning from junior varsity, has been working on adjusting.

“In JV, I was one of the biggest players, so it was easier to move guys around,” Maynard said. “In varsity, the players are stronger and have spent more time weightlifting, which is something I need to do more of. When I found out I was going into the starting lineup, I knew I had to do my job and I was ready for the challenge.”

Maynard said the upperclassmen have been especially open to him throughout the season. “The seniors have been helpful and have worked with me,” Maynard said. “If I’m doing something wrong, they’ll take the time to let me know what I need to do. As a lineman, I know I have to play a big role with protecting the quarterback and creating gaps for running backs. This is where it starts at and if you don’t have a good O-line, you’re not going to be able to do much on offense.”
Getting the start against Ben L. Smith held more weight to Maynard, as his brother, Antonio Stimpson, played there several years ago. Maynard said he was excited to follow in his brother’s footsteps and wants to build onto the Dudley legacy.
“I wanted to be like my brother and it felt good because he did the same thing (in high school),” Maynard said. “Three years from now, I want to get a ring my senior year and get a scholarship — if not in football, then academics. The coaches at Dudley look at grades seriously.”

Zabrina Stimpson said she feels the same way about her son academically. “I told him the most important thing should be academics,” Stimpson said. “I stress good grades and while I want him to be good at football, his schoolwork has to be the first priority. In order to play sports in high school and college, you have to have good grades and if he continues on, hopefully he’ll have a scholarship offer by his senior year.”

Maynard is undecided about what school he would like to attend, but is interested in a business major. For now, he’s focusing on Dudley and trying to be a great player for the Panthers. “I’m a real quick learner,” Maynard said. “I’ll never give up and will give my best every play.”

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