By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer, Rocky Mount Telegram
Friday, October 12, 2018
For N.C. Wesleyan wide receiver Trey Lancaster, the magic number is 1,500 yards by the end of the season.
And why not?
The 5-foot-11 senior has put up eye-popping numbers for the Bishops this fall: Through 7 games, he's hauled in 53 catches for 846 yards and four touchdowns, numbers he'll look to beef up Saturday at home on Senior Day against USA-South opponent Huntingdon College (AL), a 1 p.m. kickoff at the Rocky Mount Sports Athletic Stadium.
His body of work so far includes a 210-yard game in the season opener against Thomas More College (KY) and a 13-catch game for 201 yards against Shenandoah (Va.) a week later. Among all wide receivers in NCAA Division III, those 600 yards rank No. 18. He has since recorded two more 100 yard games as he has recorded triple-digit yardage in 4 games so far.
"He's as good as you're going to find at this level," Wesleyan head coach Jeff Filkovski said.
And Filkovski isn't just saying that. His game-planning backs it up. The emphasis this season has simply been on getting Lancaster the ball.
"We're trying to get him solo'd up as best he can," he said a few weeks ago.
That was evident in Week 1 during a tie game against Thomas More.
Wesleyan had the ball late, and Lancaster had an idea.
"There was a minute left in the game. I asked (Coach Filkovski) if we could we run a specific play where I knew the ball would come to me so I could win the game. I felt real confident. He felt confident in me," Lancaster said. "He asked me if I was sure. I said yes. He said, 'Well let's go get it then.' He called the play. I knew when the ball was in the air I had to go get it."
He got it, and the Bishops got a season-opening win.
Rocky Mount Telegram: So what was the play you asked your coach to run on that game-winning play?
Trey Lancaster: It's called Georgia. If the corners go down I can run right past them in a go-route, if the corners play back I can run in front of them, run a curl route. It gives me different options. We have a lot of plays where I have a lot of options.
RMT: Coach Filkovski said he just wants to get you open, get you the ball. It seems like that's been a successful venture.
TL: Everything has been going well in that aspect. Even when teams are trying to double team me, we've been good at putting in plays to get me open.
RMT: If you look at your stats, you went from 31 receiving yards as a freshman, to 527, to 766 as a junior, to 600 through four games this year. That's definitely qualifies as steady progress.
TL: I take pride in it. I've been working harder and harder. I have realized that hard work does pay off. I wasn't where I needed to be my sophomore year. I worked a little harder last year, my senior year summer — I didn't have a job — I just worked hard, worked out all summer long.
RMT: What was an average day like this summer?
TL: Two-a-days, everyday. Workout at 8 a.m., rest, work out at 4:30 in the afternoon.
RMT: Had you heard of N.C. Wesleyan when you were in high school?
TL: I have family down here in Nash County. But no sir. I had never heard of them. They contacted me and I came down for a visit three different times. The third time I was down here I committed. I really liked the school.
RMT: Being from Maryland, which is sort of the South, but not really the South, what do you like about being down here?
TL: It's really quiet. It's calm. There's not much trouble. You can be relaxed, get your schoolwork done. You don't have to worry about too much.
RMT: How would you describe your game?
TL: I'm smart with defenses. I know how to read them, how my corner is going to play me. I like watching film. I know what they tend to do.
RMT: Who do you think has helped you get to that point?
TL: My position coach, Craig Smith. He just works real hard, sets the example, the standard. I've kind of followed behind him, that's helped with the people behind me. He always sits me down, tells me what I'm doing wrong. He's always correcting me to make me the best player I can be.
RMT: So your goal is 1,500 yards — where'd you get that number from?
TL: I feel like that's a high goal that I can achieve. I feel like I can have more than that — I just want to set my bar high. That goal's been going very well so far.