Robert Furth is the third head football coach Holly Springs’ senior class has seen in four years and the fifth coach in nine seasons.
The defensive coordinator a year ago, Furth wants to bring continuity to the program.
“I would have hated to see them go through another (coach), bringing in a new guy,” he said. “Most of (the players) were relieved just because it was somebody already in the program as opposed to having to learn somebody new.”
He replaces Wayne Bragg, who stepped aside after one year.
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To keep things simple for the players, Furth is maintaining the same schemes.
The offense may have a few new wrinkles, he said. But there’s little reason to change the defense, which made a complete turnaround last year from the season prior. The Golden Hawks (6-6, 3-4) held eight teams to 20 points or less.
“You don’t want to change that up a whole lot,” Furth said.
The offense, which had its bright moments in topping the 40-point mark twice in the final four weeks of the regular season, will lean heavily on senior running back Tray Staten behind a young offensive line.
Staten (1,102 yards, 9 TDs) has received Division I recruiting interest after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Furth said he expects the third-year starter will get at least 20 carries a game now that fellow 1,000-yard rusher Nehemiah Harris has graduated.
“He’s going to have to carry the load this year,” Furth said. “He’s strong in his legs. He’s a downhill runner, not a slasher.”
Despite the head coaching turnover, Holly Springs has enjoyed back-to-back playoff berths. A step farther would mean the school’s second winning season.
“Our goal is to be better than last year and the year before. We’d like to at least get to that 8-win mark,” Furth said. “Hopefully, this year, the consistency will improve getting over the hump of those close games.”
Contributors: QB Justin Armwood; RB Tray Staten; WR Broderick Taylor; OL Elijah O’Neal; OL Max Brooks; DL Daniel Ligons; DL Jason Gerber; LB Dawson Wright; LB Caleb Ferguson; CB Yavel Morris; FS Eddie Okeiga; SS Greg Picquet; K/P Josh Howard.
Expected team strength: Secondary.
Question mark: Offensive line.
Player they’ll miss the most: OL C.J. Toogood. The three-year starter now plays at Elon.
The number: 5 – Holly Springs lost five games by eight points or fewer in 2014.
The quote: “We really don’t have an identity yet, but we’re getting there. Hopefully we get one before Aug. 21 and we can surprise Hoggard,” Furth said. The Hawks open at the Wilmington power.
Game to watch: Oct. 2 at Fuquay-Varina. The Hawks lost to their rival a year ago, creating a logjam for fourth place in the SWAC.
Last five years
2014: 6-6 (3-4), 4AA first round
2013: 6-6 (5-2), 4AA first round
2012: 4-6 (3-5)
2011: 2-8 (2-6)
2010: 2-9 (1-7)
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Up next: Holly Springs, North Johnston (online), Riverside