If Anthony Barbour, the first-year head coach at Jordan High School, could have a couple of Anthony Barbours on his varsity football team, many of the Falcons’ worries would be over.
As it is, Jordan has a long way to go.
Barbour, who set a national record for touchdowns in a season as the star running back for Garner’s 4A state champions in 1987, is used to being a winner. When he coached at Southern Durham, his last two teams went 11-3 and 12-2.
Now in his 23rd year as a football coach, Barbour is running a team that hasn’t been to the state playoffs since 2010 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2006.
“The first thing we need to do is learn to play a complete game and play as a team,” Barbour said. “We definitely need to figure out how to compete and win.”
Where to start?
Jordan was next to last among PAC-6 teams in 2015 in both scoring (102) and in points allowed (389).
Improvement will start at quarterback, where sophomore Ben Miller has emerged as the leader among three viable starters. Miller completed 108 of 221 pass attempts last year for 953 yards.
Barbour said both junior John Perry and senior Bruce Black were capable of starting at QB, and he’d like to use them somewhere on the field, regardless.
The biggest worry
While stopping opponents has to be a concern, Barbour first would like to see his players bond as a team. There’s some talent there, but the Falcons have yet to form into a solid team, he said.
“We’ve got to learn to play together,” Barbour said. “We’ve got to learn to trust each other and not so much on our own individual abilities.”
Cohesiveness will be crucial, he said, as they cycle through multiple formations on offense. The Falcons struggled with shifts when they scrimmaged Wednesday at Holly Springs.
“We may go from a Wing-T to a Spread. You’ve got to be versatile while playing under pressure,” Barbour said. “We want to be able to switch sets without switching personnel.”
Reasons for optimism
Jordan doesn’t have a bare cupboard. Though the team lots its top four runners, Barbour thinks junior David Thompson could be a top rusher.
The Falcons have some decent size, with 11 players at 225 pounds or bigger, and they’ve got another six at 180 pounds and up who play at skill positions. Jordan’s ability to both move the ball and stop opponents should be improved.
More on the Falcons
Last year: 2-9 (2-4 PAC-6 4A)
Five year average: 2-9 (1-4)
Preseason N&O rank: Unranked
Coaches: Anthony Barbour (head coach, 1st year, and OC), Larry Stroud (defensive coordinator), Kevin Canty (OL), Shawn Brooks (OL/DL), Chereze Briggs (DL), Rob McLamb (WRs), Marcus Greene (DBs), Coach Bell (LBs).
Contributors: David Thompson (Jr., RB/FS); Ben Miller (Soph., QB); Kent Vines (Jr., C/LS); John Perry (Jr., QB); Bruce Black (Sr., QB); Tashaun Taylor (Jr., DE/WR); Zach Atkins (Jr., WR/SS); Roger Peoples (Sr., WR)
The main number: 4 - preseason top 25 teams (Green Hope, Heritage, Northern Durham, Hillside) on Jordan’s schedule.
Aug. 19 at Leesville Road, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 at Green Hope, 7 p.m.
Sep. 2 vs. Panther Creek, 7 p.m.
Sep. 9# vs. Heritage, 7 p.m.
Sep. 16 at Sanderson, 7 p.m.
Sep. 23* at Person, 7 p.m.
Sep. 30* vs. East Chapel Hill, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7* at Northern Durham, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21* at Riverside, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28* vs. Hillside, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 BYE
Note: *Conference game; #Military Appreciation Night.