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Durham laying down roots at Northeast

Dymere Durham had a decision to make.

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Durham is a rising junior and one of the top defensive backs and wide receivers in the area for his class.

Because of that, he could play pretty much anywhere he wanted.

He attended Northeast High School last year and played very well, but this summer he had an opportunity to play for Imhotep Charter if he transferred. 

The Panthers are loaded with talent and reload just about every year. Imhotep has grown into one of the top programs in the state, and Durham would have been a fine addition to help the team in its quest to win a state championship.

Playing for one of the top teams in the area might have been great. But he knew what he and his teammates were doing at Northeast, so he decided to remain a Viking.

“I love playing for Northeast, we’re building something here,” said Durham, who lives near Erie and Torresdale. “I’m really excited for what we’re doing. We’re kind of rebuilding, but we were good last year and I think we can be really good next year.”

Durham and his teammates are learning a new system, and while there’s been some bumps in the road, the players are learning a lot.

Last year’s coach Eric Clark resigned after last football season, and he’s been replaced by Father Judge grad Ryan Nase. Nase has coached at his alma mater and Penn Charter before becoming the head coach at Cheltenham, where he guided those Panthers to a berth in the state championship before just falling short to Archbishop Wood.

The transition is going pretty well, and Durham is doing everything he can to make sure Nase has everything he needs to build his program.

“I think I became close to him when he got here,” Durham said. “When I was thinking about going to Imhotep, I met Coach Nase. He talked to me, he wanted me to be here. I decided to stay and we got close. When I told him I was staying he was pretty happy. I made the right decision, it’s going great. I already started something here. I don’t want to restart something somewhere else.”

The Vikings aren’t starting from scratch, but they are missing a lot of pieces from last year.

On top of losing the seniors, gone is Kahmir Prescott. The receiver and defensive back bound for Wisconsin will go there after playing his senior season at Neumann-Goretti.

But Northeast has won seven straight Public League 6A championships, and while it might not be the favorites to win the title next year, Durham isn’t ready to hand over the reins just yet.

“I want to win a championship and hopefully make it to states and win a state championship,” Durham said. “We just have to work hard, stay focused, stay in the weight room, stay conditioned. We’re putting in work now, and we have to put in more. A lot more. We aren’t there yet, but we’re getting there.

“The team is excited, I feel like everyone is very excited for the first game versus Roman. I’m really excited about that. It’s a scrimmage. I think how hard we work will determine how well we’ll do this year. If we work hard and do the right things, we can do well. If we don’t, it won’t be a good season. I think it’s going to be a good season.” 

The Vikings need to work hard to succeed this year, and they have one of the best leaders doing his part, according to their coach.

“Dymere symbolizes a lot of what we hope the future holds for Northeast football,” Nase said. “He worked extremely hard in the weight room, perfecting his craft as a football player, and most importantly made huge improvements in the classroom. 

“He finished the school year receiving honors and was ecstatic about it and so were we. We love that he committed himself to be better in all facets of life and hope we can motivate every player in our program to do the same. We’re really excited to see that hard work come to fruition for Dymere this season.”

He’s ready to help his teammates succeed, both in the classroom and on the field.

He’s also ready to make a difference at home.

Because of his glowing personality, Durham has a lot of friends, and he’s trying to use his voice to make Philadelphia a better place.

“I’m an influencer and a brand ambassador on TikTok, and I’m trying to make people stop the gun violence and create a greater image,” Durham said. “It’s crazy, it’s little kids doing it and it’s really sad. I try to make a better image. I do dancing and skits on TikTok In Philly, dancing is the wave. People like it. That’s why we keep doing it. If people are having fun, they’re not getting mixed up in things. Just have fun and don’t worry about other stuff. It’s pointless.”

The maturity comes from within, but it also comes from his mom.

While Durham has been doing great things to prepare for the season, he knows has the best support system.

“My mother comes to every game, since I was 5 she’s missed four games,” said Durham, who grew up playing for Oxford Circle. “She’s a football fan since I started playing. She didn’t want me to play at first, she thought I was too young. She was scared I was going to get hurt. But she became a football fan. I mean she liked the Eagles. But now she loves football.”

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