Havelock High football coach Jim Bob Bryant believes in competition.
His Rams have won three straight N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3A football titles and are 79-8 since an 8-4 season in 2006.
The Havelock staff keeps score whether it is during the two weeks of 6 a.m., Black Rein conditioning before school in the spring, weekly practices in the fall, year-round workouts in the weight room or closing sprints at the end of practices.
“The biggest thing is having great assistants and great athletes,” Bryant said. “But I think the competition helps.”
The number of sprints the team runs after the end of practice is determined by how many punts offensive and defensive linemen drop during a special big man punt return session.
The Saturday morning practice includes a run of either a mile or half mile determined by whether the team reaches a predetermined winning margin in the preceding game. Bryant once offered to cancel a Saturday workout if the team won by a wide enough margin, but he was overruled by the players, who insisted on practicing on Saturday.
“They want to do things differently. That’s what we’re known for,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s training methods in the weight room have gained national attention, and he or his assistants have spoken at clinics at LSU, Auburn, N.C. State, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Every set in the weight room is timed in 25-second bursts because football is a game of exertion and brief rests.
“We are training to train for quickness,” Bryant said.
This year’s team is led by senior quarterback Travis Sabdo, who has throw for 2,160 yards and 32 touchdowns. Only two of his passes have been intercepted.
Bryant believes the club has five Division I recruits at wide receiver, including junior University of North Carolina commitment Kyran Bowman.
Junior Keion Joyner is ranked by the 247 recruiting site as the best outside linebacker prospect in the country in the Class of 2016.
Bryant believes in competition, but the Rams haven’t gotten much in games. Their average winning margin is 42 points, and last week they pounded Jacksonville White Oak 84-28, after leading 70-21 at the half.
But the team is not unbeatable. The Rams (8-1) lost to New Bern 25-21 on Aug. 29. The Rams play West Carteret (8-1) in a key Coastal 3A Conference game on Friday night.
Community service: The NCHSAA is sponsoring a community service award. The Commissioner’s Cup will recognize two teams or schools in each of the NCHSAA’s four classifications for service in their communities.
The Cup winners receive $1,000 each.
Entries will consist of a one-minute video that will be submitted to the NCHSAA.
Deadline for project submission is April 1, 2015.
Grace Christian cross country: Grace Christian Raleigh recently completed its third consecutive undefeated Eastern Plains Independent Conference cross-country season.
Grace’s Alex Dolwick has won every conference meet during his junior and senior seasons. He also won the league title as a sophomore.
He will defend his N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 2A title on Friday at Jackson Park in Hendersonville. Grace is attempting to win its fourth straight NCISAA 2A boys’ championship.
The NCISAA title races begin at 10 a.m., with boys’ 1A. The last race is 3A boys at 3:25 p.m.
NCHSAA tennis: The NCHSAA girls’ individual tennis championships are Friday and Saturday.
Susanne Boyden of Wakefield, the 2013 4A singles champ, heads the field that will play at Millbrook Exchange Park. Sammi Smith and Jordan Strickland of Panther Creek are seeking a three-peat of the doubles title.
Cardinal Gibbons has advanced six players – two singles players and two doubles teams – to the 3A competition at the Burlington Tennis Center. The Cary Tennis Center will be the site of the 2A and the 1A championships.
River Mill coach: Hamilton Perkins, the River Mill Academy girls’ basketball coach, is taking a hiatus from the varsity team this year. He has led the Jaguars into the NCHSAA 1A playoffs each season since 2006 and has a 357-59 record in 14 seasons at River Mill.
He said he needs to trim his coaching responsibilities because of a recent death in his family. He will coach the middle school girls’ team, which does not practice as much as a high school varsity and plays a shorter season.