Practices for the 2013 football season officially began Thursday with opening sessions at high schools across North Carolina. Most other fall sports started preseason workouts as well last week.
Enthusiasm was high at Carrboro, which is coming off a 15-1 season that ended in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A championship game.
“Everyone’s goal every year should be to build on the success of the previous season,” Carrboro senior James Scott said. “We were pretty close to winning it all last year; the only higher goal would be to win the state championship. That’s what everybody’s thinking about.
“Of course, it’s just the first day. We need to be thinking about working hard and getting ready to play Cedar Ridge in the first game and just taking it one game at a time after that.”
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East Chapel Hill, with Jon Sherman in his first year as head coach of the Wildcats, was the first team onto the field Thursday. Sherman welcomed about 60 players to opening day with a 7 a.m. start. Every other local team went with evening practices.
“The first day is always a nervous one for coaches; you can’t be sure who’s going to show up,” Sherman said. “But everyone I was expecting was here.
“We’ll be looking for more like 70 to 72 players as we get into workouts. Some guys are still on vacation with their parents.”
Sherman, who was a wide receiver coach and offensive coordinator under Bill Renner, admitted it was a bit different to be running the show.
“As a position coach, I was helping to coordinate things but always coaching just that one position,” he said. “Thursday, I had no specific position to coach, so I found myself walking around to every station.
“It’s still a learning process, but it’s exciting.”
East Chapel Hill is like the majority of Triangle-area schools: more than two-thirds have a head coach with two or fewer years in their present post.
That makes this an exceptional area for football. Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Northwood and Orange all beat the two-year mark.
Pat Moser is starting his fourth football season at Orange.
Jason Tudryn, the only head coach Carrboro football has had since it started a varsity team in 2007, is starting his seventh year with the Jaguars.
Issac Marsh is in his 10th year as head coach at Chapel Hill.
Bill Hall is the dean of local staffs, with 13 years as head coach of the Chargers.
Thursday at Northwood, Hall continued the process began in summer workouts of installing Bill Renner’s five-wide offense. Renner retired from teaching last spring and moved into a new home built between Carrboro and Pittsboro. Since then, he’s been helping at Northwood, located less than 15 minutes from his house.
East Chapel Hill will play at Northwood in the season’s opening contest for both teams, Aug. 23, in an NCHSAA endowment game.