Green Hope football coach Kwame Dixon has taken his Falcons to four straight postseasons and won the conference title in 2014. He just wants to make sure his players know that feat doesn’t come easy.
“As a coach you fear that everybody here has enjoyed the good life. They weren’t here for the blood, sweat and tears to stop the train from going backwards,” Dixon said.
Green Hope was mired in a long losing streak back when today’s players were in elementary school.
“They’ve only been on the rise since the train has been going forward,” Dixon said.
The Falcons were involved in a number of entertaining games last year, winning three games by single digits and losing three others.
“I was here when they feared everybody,” Dixon said. “We’ve gone from that mentality to ‘We can compete with anybody.’ ... We’re not the team blowing anybody away, we’re the team that (is decided by) pretty much two touchdowns here or there.”
What’s the biggest challenge?
All 11 offensive starters are gone, which may put pressure on the defense.
“I’ve coached 26 years and this is the first time I’ve ever had to replace an entire side of the ball, so I’ll have 11 new starters on offense,” Dixon said. “Every single kid will be a first-time starter.”
Who are some players to watch?
Braden Mayo played some at running back and Blake Watson at receiver last year. The offensive line, though untested, is large with Bo Ressler, Cole Morgan and Adam Gross among those returning.
The defense brings back four starters, led by linebacker Alex Etgen.
What’s an expected team strength?
Etgen and the other returners – Brian Williams, Jadon Locklear and Clayton Pope – should lead a good defensive group. They may be asked to do a little more – turnovers are a must, touchdowns a bonus – while the offense starts anew.
More on the Falcons
Last year: 7-5 (4-3 Southwest Wake 4A), first round 4AA playoffs
Five year average: 6-6 (3-4)
Preseason N&O rank: No. 23
Coaches: Kwame Dixon (HC/OC), Steve Bauld (DC/DL), Josh Resignalo (QBs), Kevin Houston (RBs), Mike Lindley (WRs), Earl Pridgen (WRs), Brian McDougall (WRs), Steve Pleasants (OL), John Angello (OL), Joey Gallego (DL), Tim Inglis (LBs), Jed Sands (OLBs), Firman Walden (DBs), Dave Potter (head JV), Scott Emerson (Strength & conditioning)
Contributors: Braden Mayo (Sr., RB), Blake Watson (Jr., WR), Bo Ressler (Jr., OL), Cole Morgan (Jr. OL), Adam Gross (Sr., OL), Brian Williams (Sr., DL), Jadon Locklear (Sr., DL), Alex Etgen (Sr., LB), Clayton Pope (Sr., DB)
The main number: 4 – the Falcons have gone to the playoffs in four straight seasons.
Aug. 19 vs. Heritage, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Jordan, 7 p.m.
Sep. 2 at Cardinal Gibbons, 7 p.m.
Sep. 9* vs. Holly Springs, 7 p.m.
Sep. 16* at Apex Friendship, 7 p.m.
Sep. 23* at Fuquay-Varina, 7 p.m.
Sep. 30 BYE
Oct. 7* at Panther Creek, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* at Apex, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21* at Cary, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28* vs. Middle Creek, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4* vs. Athens Drive, 7 p.m.
Note: *Conference game;