New Offseason Workouts
THE NCHSAA CHANGED OFFSEASON SKILL DEVELOP-
ment this year, but no one was sure what the outcome would
be. We may get a better picture in the fall. The NCHSAA
worked out a compromise for coaches who have been
clamoring for a “spring practice,” or something like it.
Instead of allowing multiple 21-man workouts during the
winter and spring, coaches could not do any skill development – defined as “anything that involves a football” – until
10 days before exams started. Coaches were then allowed
10 full days of skill development with an unlimited amount of
players. Hitting and scrimmages were not permitted as part
of the 10-day period. This allowed players to focus on being
multi-sport athletes while still allowing football players to
take part in weight-lifting programs. Coaches were expected
to benefit by getting rid of the limit so they could work with
multiple groups at the same time. At some of the state’s largest high schools, they may have almost 21 returning linemen
from the varsity and junior varsity ranks.
Coaches at smaller schools were excited about the
unlimited numbers so they could roam the halls and ask
prospective players to give the sport a shot in a no-pressure
environment. There will likely be some tweaks to this rule as
coaches determine what they like and don’t like about it.
Familiar Faces In New Places
EVERY YEAR IT SEEMS ABOUT 60-80 COACHES STATE-
wide leave their jobs either by choice or by force. But rarely in
recent history has the process led to this many names that
are recognized across the state.
Richmond County’s Paul Hoggard won a state title with the
powerful Raiders, but decided it was the right time to move
closer to where he grew up in northeastern North Carolina
and take over the Edenton Holmes program.
Earl Smith, one of the best coaches in the Raleigh area
who had spent years in retirement, will be back at one of his
old stops by taking over New Hanover.
Joe Evans looked like he had things rolling at Charlotte’s
Independence High School – the Patriots were No. 1 in the
state entering the postseason before being shocked in the
second round – but he bolted for county rival Ardrey Kell.
Three 1A coaches who had their programs on the
rise – Ralph Jackson at North Stanly, Mike Springston at
Walkertown and Derrick Minor at Princeton – left as well.
Minor is now at 3A Rockingham County and Jackson is at 3A
Anson County, while Springston said he stepped down after
disagreeing with administration.
After guiding the Eastern Wayne program to new heights,
Bubba Williams left for Corinth Holders, the largest 3A school
in the state.
Northwood coach Bill Hall, the longest-tenured coach of
any public school in the Triangle, retired and was replaced by
assistant Brian Harrington.
Hoggard’s Scott Braswell, who led the Wilmington school
to a state title and was named NCHSAA coach of the year
for all sports this past year, also retired. Mark Barnes, a
multiple-state champion coach of Crest, left for a job in
Steve Johnson, who led Cummings High to multiple state
titles, left Enloe after one year to get closer to home – he still
lives in Burlington – and will coach Cedar Ridge. David Green
went the opposite direction, leaving Burlington’s Williams
High to replace Johnson at Enloe.
Heritage, in need of only its second coach in history, hired
longtime NFL starter Dewayne Washington, who brought in
another former N.C. State star to help – Torry Holt will be an
Scott Young, who built West Rowan into a 3A power in
the early 2000s, stepped down because of health reasons.
South View’s Randy Ledford passed away unexpectedly.
This year, the S.C. High
School League has voted to
scrap the so-called “
eight-quarter rule.” The rule had
its critics but was created as
a way to help small schools.
were allowed to play junior
varsity and varsity. It helped
a small school that may have
only one long snapper or
one kicker on both rosters.
The same could be said of
a school that only had two
but wanted to get the younger
one meaningful snaps.
But now that the rule,
which helped varsity depth,
is gone, coaches will have
tough decisions to make.
Some fear that it will hurt
the growth of football - or
eliminate JV teams - at small
schools at a time that many
schools nationwide are giving
up football for lack of numbers.
The larger schools will be
mostly unaffected, however.
The rule now is simple:
one game per week.
In the Race to Repeat
IN NORTH CAROLINA HIGH
School Athletic Association
football, there are eight state
champions crowned each
year. The NCHSAA takes its
four classifications, finds
64 playoff teams based
on conference finish and
overall record (much like the
NFL playoffs), then divides
each bracket into the 32
largest playoff teams in that
classification and the 32
While some argue that this many teams and state champions dilutes the postseason, it does help teams that may be
up against a school twice their size in the first round, which is
possible in 4A and 1A. And, more games equal more money
for the schools, which is never a bad thing. What it also does
is put the target on eight schools for the following season.
Those teams looking to repeat this fall are: Charlotte’s
Mallard Creek (4AA), New Bern (4A), Northern Guilford (3AA),
Boiling Springs’ Crest (3A), East Lincoln (2AA), Shelby (2A),
Wallace-Rose Hill (1AA) and Robbinsville (1A).
In the S.C. High School League, only three of the four
classes are subdivided. This year’s returning champs are:
Hillcrest (AAAA, Division I), Spartanburg (AAAA, Division II),
South Pointe (AAA), Dillon (AA, Division I), Timberland (AA,
Division II), Christ Church Episcopal (A, Division I), Hunter-Kinard-Tyler (A, Division II).
THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
classifications. It switches to five next year. But whether or
BY J. MIKE BLAKE Hot Reads
South Carolina Changing Gears
THIS IS THE LAST YEAR THE SCHSL WILL BE AT FOUR
not it’s the last year of treating its private schools like its
other members remains to be seen.
At the state board meeting last spring, the SCHSL tabled
a motion that would have moved every private school up one
classification in all sports.
Christ Church Episcopal won a football championship last
year. It plays at the A class, despite being located in one of
the state’s largest cities, Greenville.
The Rise of
In North Carolina, so much
of 4A football in the state turns
into a regional debate.
At the highest level, there
has been no debate about
who is first. The Mecklenburg County (Charlotte)
schools are the cream of the
crop, having won all but one
4AA title in the last six years.
But in four of the last five
years, a team from Wake
County (Raleigh and its
surrounding towns) has won
the 4AA East and finished
runner-up in the state final.
Wake Forest has been part
of three of those games and
Garner lost the other.
But Wake Forest is loaded
again this year and could see
Mallard Creek in the final for
a third straight year. Mallard
Creek won 59-21 in 2013 and
25-14 in 2014. Stay tuned.