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BLADENBORO – With their family members, friends, teammates, coaches and administrators in attendance, a pair of West Bladen senior linemen, Deonte Lacey and Xavier Lopez, signed letters of intent to play college football next season.

Lacey, a 6-3 270-pound, defensive tackle, will play football for the North Carolina Central Eagles. The Eagles are the defending MidEastern Athletic Conference champions and last season claimed an overtime victory in the Celebration Bowl over Coach Deion Sanders’ Jackson State squad to finish with a 10-2 record.

Lopez, 6-foot 275-pound tackle, will attend Barton College in Wilson. The Barton Bulldogs posted a 4-7 record in 2022 and are currently in the South Atlantic Conference, but plan to join Conference Carolinas in 2025.

“Being here today brings joy to my heart,” said West Bladen Coach Stanley Williams. “We get a chance to celebrate the performance of these 2 young men both on the field and in the classroom. Both of them have a great work ethic, and both have a grade point average over 3.2. I have coached them for 3 years and been their head coach for the last 2 years. They are great young men.”

Lacey was a dominating force on the Knight defensive front racking up 52 solo tackles, 69 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. He also totaled 9 pass hurries and had 2 pancake blocks on offense. Central is expecting him to play on the defensive line.

Lopez anchored the West Bladen offensive line and was credited with 5 pancake blocks. He shared that Barton is planning to use him on the offensive line.

Both Lacey and Lopez plan to pursue a degree in business administration.

Pictured: Seated (Left-Right) Yanytzed Garcia Pedrogo (Xavier’s mother), Xavier Lopez, Deonte Lacey, Antoinette Lacey (Deonte’s mother).
Standing (L-R) Coach Matt Hill, Principal Dr. Peggy Hester, Head Coach Stanley Williams.