The flexbone offense is a throwback style in pass-happy modern-day high school football, and South Granville’s players who run the system are perhaps even more retro.
The offensive line has players who don’t strike fear walking off the bus. Austin Higgs (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) and Tyler Bunts (6-foot, 182 pounds) are two returning starters who also started at linebacker.
“We’ve got a kid who’s probably going to be a tackle for us; he knows the offense, he knows what he’s supposed to do – he’s 5-foot-2,” said South Granville coach and athletic director Don Colgan. “But that’s the good thing about this offense: We don’t have to block linemen that much.”
The Vikings’ move to the flexbone has come full circle. It started two years ago just before then-coach Mike Hobgood took the job at Leesville Road.
Never miss a local story.
South Granville ran the system last year in Colgan’s first season. Hobgood was ousted after one year and finds himself back at South Granville, this time as Colgan’s offensive coordinator.
The two have found a way to work together despite roles being reversed from two years ago, when Colgan was Hobgood’s defensive coordinator.
“It was one of those things we were very concerned about,” Colgan said. “But I couldn’t ask for anything better from coach Hobgood this spring and this summer. Since he’s come back, anything that I need done that he knows I can’t do, just because of all the other jobs I do, he takes care of it.”
If we can survive four of the six games at the beginning of the season, we’ll be OK.
South Granville coach and athletic director Don Colgan
Hobgood has been a resource for Colgan at times.
“It’s nice to have that person who you can go to and say, ‘Hey what do you think about this,’” Colgan said. “There comes a time when it’s nice to not be the smartest guy in the room.”
The Vikings’ offense helps in a crowded Northern Carolina Conference. South Granville beat NCC champ Roanoke Rapids and third-place Bunn but lost to Franklinton (fourth) and Warren County (fifth).
Fullback Earl Green (1,245 yards, 13 touchdowns) is back to bear the offensive load again.
“I’d put him up against anybody in this league,” Colgan said. “We’ll ride him until the end of the year.”
South Granville could be in for a great year and it not show in the win-loss column until October. The Vikings’ six nonconference games are against county foes J.F. Webb and Granville Central (South hasn’t lost to either since 2010) and four against some of the best 3A programs in the east (Rocky Mount, Cleveland, Chapel Hill and Wilson Fike).
“If we can survive four of the six games at the beginning of the season, we’ll be OK,” Colgan said. “If we’re 3-3 I’m ecstatic ... We should at least be 2-4 and win the county games. If we’re 3-3 and knocked off one of them, that’s a pretty good deal.”
Contributors: QB Mitchell Blackley; ATH Josh Bullock; ATH Tucker Brown; RB/P Chad Hiniker; FB Earl Green; ATH Ben Jackson; OL Landon Hall; OL/LB Tyler Bunts; OL/DL Dalton Fish; DL Alex Ferrell; LB Austin Higgs; LB/FB Allajah Mitchell; LB/RB Stephen Staton; DB/RB Spencer Allen; DB/RB Jamil Jafar; K Grayson Parrish.
Expected team strength: Defensive backs.
Question mark: Offensive line.
Player they’ll miss the most: RB Sean Bowman. Bowman had more than 4,500 yards rushing with 47 touchdowns over the last three years.
The main number: 44 – the Vikings have lost 44 players to graduation in two years – a lot for a school of fewer than 1,000 students.
The quote: “We’ve never been as athletic as the teams we’ve played,” Colgan said. “We had to find another edge. We think the flexbone and the option gives us that edge.”
Game to watch: Oct. 9 at Franklinton. The way the schedule works out, the Vikings could be 2-4 entering this game.
Last five years
2014: 7-5 (3-2), 2AA first round
2013: 9-3 (4-1), 2AA first round
2012: 9-3 (3-1), 2A second round
2011: 7-6 (4-0), 2AA second round
2010: 5-7 (1-3), 2AA first round
N&O football previews
Up next: Northwood, Holly Springs