Coach Mike Kirst isn’t having to talk as much in his second season as head coach of the Cary football team. His Imps don’t need him to repeat as many instructions thanks to added commitment and discipline.
Kirst’s Imps snapped a long losing streak early last season and spent the rest of the year scaring some of the best teams in the Southwest Wake 4A. That’s given the team extra confidence going into this year.
“The kids have bought into what we call ‘championship habits,’ doing things at a championship level,” Kirst said. “There’s this old saying that in order to be a champion, you have to act like a champion before you’re a champion. You don’t just stumble upon it. There’s no lottery winner in sports.”
How is the team depth?
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Cary hasn’t always had the best depth among Southwest Wake Athletic Conference teams, but it’s improved. The team still plans to teach every player and offensive and defensive position.
What should be a team strength? Concern?
The defense played well down the stretch – holding Middle Creek to 21 and Fuquay-Varina to 28 – but Cary has to replace almost everyone including its entire defensive line. L.J. Johnson – known for his bruising running style – will play on the line.
The offense could take a step forward with eight returning contributors including quarterback Keeyon Hicks, receiver Brian Dulaney and linemen Shawn Burton, George Booth and David Bunting.
Quinn Dunphy was an all-conference kicker, punter and soccer player who gives the Imps and advantage in special teams.
Can Cary make the playoffs this year?
It’s on the table after proving to be a tough out last year against good competition. If Cary can go 2-1 in a nonconference schedule of Broughton, Garner and East Wake then it will send a big signal to the rest of the conference.
More on the Imps
Last year: 2-8 (1-6 Southwest Wake 4A)
Five year average: 4-7 (3-5)
Preseason N&O rank: Unranked
Coaches: Mike Kirst (HC/OL), Jason Wilkes (OC/QBs), Garron Warwick (DC/LBs), Mike Bellissimo (ST/DBs), Frankie Williams (RBs), John Harward (WRs), Robby White (TEs), Ken Kinsey (DL/JV head coach), Brian Slay (OLBs), Scott Kinsey (Safeties),
Contributors: Keeyon Hicks (Jr., QB), L.J. Johnson (Sr., RB/DL), Brian Dulaney (Sr., WR), David Bunting (Sr., OL), Shawn Burton (Sr., OL), George Booth (Sr., OL), Kenny Myers (Sr., TE/DL), Nico Childs (Sr., LB), Darrion Burnett (Sr., DB/WR), Justin Rogers (Jr., DB), Quinn Dunphy (Sr., K/P)
The main number: 99 – Cary scored 99 points more than they did the previous year.
Aug. 19 vs. Garner, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 at Broughton, 7 p.m.
Sep. 2 vs. East Wake, 7 p.m.
Sep. 9 at Panther Creek, 7 p.m.
Sep. 16 vs. Apex, 7 p.m.
Sep. 23 BYE
Sep. 30 vs. Middle Creek, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7* vs. Apex Friendship, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* at Athens Drive, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21* vs. Green Hope, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28* at Holly Springs, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4* at Fuquay-Varina, 7 p.m.
Note: *Conference game.