Wakefield High School will kick off a new football season with the Friday night lights shining on a brand new head coach and his star player, one of the top quarterback recruits in the country.
Rod Sink, in his first season as a head coach, spent eight years at Wakefield as an assistant. The past three years he served as offensive coordinator under former head coach J.D. Dinwiddie, who left Wakefield in January for a head coaching job at North Henderson High in Hendersonville.
Wakefield is the home of a powerful offense anchored by quarterback Connor Mitch, a rising senior, who passed for 3,800 yards last year and has already committed to play at the University of South Carolina.
Sink is confident the star QB is intent on winning as a Wolverine before heading to college.
“He is a very focused kid,” Sink said. “It’s hard for a 16-year-old boy to be told how great he is. He’s handled it well.”
Mitch says as exciting as college will be he is looking forward to his senior year.
“College is fun but there is a lot of pressure. In high school you go out and you play with your friends. I’ve played with these guys since middle school and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Mitch says Sink moving from assistant to head coach has been an easy transition for the team and for him.
“Coach Sink has been there for me since I first stepped onto a high school field,” Mitch said. “Besides my parents, he’s one of the most important people in my life.”
Sink says his style as a head coach is to be flexible and let the game flow. He’ll do less play calling and spend more time teaching his players to recognize situations on the field and react to them.
“It is a strategy chess match kind of thing,” Sink said. “You’re trying to sit there and look at an opponent who’s changing while you’re changing. It’s start and stop, and we’ve got to think every time.”
And when his team makes all the right moves?
“When we set people up it’s great, like hitting a home run in baseball or hitting a big three-point shot in basketball. It’s a lot of fun.”
Sink says one of his priorities this season is emphasizing teamwork among his squad of 107, and he has a favorite saying that encapsulates it.
“It’s a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing,” Sink said.
And he says it will be important for his Wolverines to control each game.
“We’ve had success, but we have not done as well as we wanted to do. I think we want to get past that first round of the playoffs,” Sink said. “We should be a second-, or third- or maybe fourth-round team.”
Mitch said the team is ready.
“We all have a goal of winning the conference championship and going deep into the playoffs,” Mitch said. “We know what we have to do work hard and get ready for that.”
Last year’s Wakefield squad had a 10-2 record and lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Wilmington’s Laney High School.
“Our team is going to be more aggressive and more exciting,” Sink said. “That’s what we’re looking for and that’s what I think you’ll see this fall.”