Joining the Cavalry
Edenton's Bailey set to join St. Andrews football program
Running back set rushing record at John A. Holmes
By Malcolm Shields
Thursday, March 8, 2018
EDENTON — In three seasons as a varsity player on the John A. Holmes football team, Keimon Bailey etched his name in the program’s record book.
Bailey will now have the opportunity to help build a fairly new football program at the college level.
The running back secured his commitment to the St. Andrews University football program during a signing ceremony at John A. Holmes High School on Wednesday afternoon.
The running back noted what excited him most about St. Andrews, which is located in Laurinburg, is the opportunity to be part of history.
St. Andrews completed its inaugural season as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) last fall with a 2-8 record.
Another plus to Bailey about joining St. Andrews was the fact that the Knights execute an offense that is similar to what the Aces run.
During his recruitment, Elizabeth City State, Chowan and St. Augustine’s were interested in the 5-foot-6 running back, but St. Andrews fit him the best.
“Just being part of history made them a better fit than everybody else,” Bailey said.
Bailey will be joined by Perquimans running back and linebacker Dwuan Williams, who signed to join the St. Andrews football program last month.
Bailey’s hard work wasn’t only limited to the field.
Bailey brought the same work ethic into the classroom.
The senior was recently listed on the John A. Holmes High School A-B Honor Roll for the second quarter of the current academic year.
Bailey noted that making the honor roll was a big step for him.
“I was a C-average student,” he said.
Bailey acknowledged that improved grades helped him earn the scholarship.
During the ceremony, coaches from Edenton head coach Paul Hoggard to Brian Chappell, who was Bailey’s coach when Bailey played youth football and middle school football, provided words of encouragement to the signee.
“He’s a special young man,” Chappell said during the ceremony.
Hoggard, who took over the program prior to the 2015 season, has seen Bailey progress from his sophomore year to signing day.
“He poured his heart and soul into our program,” Hoggard said. “The numbers speak for themselves.”
Bailey completed his prep career with 6,708 rushing yards with 86 touchdowns.
Hoggard noted that Bailey was able to achieve the amount of rushing yards in his career in fewer carries than it would normally require from a running back.
“The thing that I am most proud of is the person that he has become from the time he was a sophomore until now,” Hoggard said. “A great team leader.”
Bailey had his most productive season in Edenton blue and yellow in 2016.
In his junior campaign, the running back set a new program rushing record with 2,853 yards.
Bailey also added a Northeastern Coastal Conference Offensive Player of the Year award and led the Aces to the 2A East Regional championship and a berth in the 2A state title game.
In the state championship game against Reidsville, Bailey’s performance, which included a rushing touchdown, garnered him the offensive player of the game award for the Aces in the loss to Reidsville.
Bailey followed up his junior season with a senior campaign that saw the running back rush for 2,470 yards and 38 touchdowns, while leading the Aces to the Albemarle Athletic Conference championship and back to the regional final in Class 1A.
The running back was named the AAC’s Offensive Player of the Year.
With all of his success on the field, what stood out to Bailey the most about his prep career was the support he received from the community.