Running on schedule
Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2011
CHOCOWINITY – Last year at this time the Southside football team was getting acclimated to its new/old coach DeWayne Kellum, who returned to the Seahawks after a three-year hiatus. This year, there is no need for introductions, which should lead to a much more efficient preseason.
After guiding the Seahawks to two NCHSAA 1-A state championship games during his first go-round from 2000-06, Kellum stepped down and was followed up by David Hines, whose shotgun, pass-orientated offense struggled for three seasons. After Hines left in 2010 to take a job at Cherokee High School, Kellum and his wing-T offense returned with much success. Battling in a staunch Four Rivers Conference, the Seahawks (9-4) finished with more wins then Hines accumulated during his entire tenure with the school and would make it into the second round of the playoffs.
On Monday, as the team held its first official practice of the year, Kellum was happy he could approach the season in more typical fashion.
“We’re way ahead of last year because last year I only had a week to get ready,” Kellum said. “We’ve got most of the spread package in – not the running game but the passing game – and we’ve got two of our wing-T packages in. Last year at this time we had no plays in.”
With a large chunk of his playbook already installed, Kellum and his coaching staff will have more time to work with the kids on how to execute those plays.
“The more plays you have in the more time you have to refine them,” Kellum said. “We can spend more time on fundamentals and technique instead of having to learn plays.”
Also encouraging for Southside was the fact that it had 65 players show up to its first practice and could possibly add another 10 or so in the upcoming week. If that happens, the Seahawks would be able to field a JV team.
In 2010, Southside had a JV team but too many injuries to the varsity squad forced everyone to get called up midway through the season.
“I would love to have a JV team, absolutely,” Kellum said. “It’s a good possibility.”
All those players will have to make up for a large roster turnover from last year that has left the Seahawks with only five returning players that will be seniors. However, the team will bring back star dual-threat quarterback Terrill Moore along with Johnny Pender, Southside’s leading tackler from a year ago. Aside from that, the enthusiasm of the younger players is another reason for Southside to feel positive about the future.
“We’re ahead of the game because the young guys showed up (for summer workouts). They went through the weights and came in and learned. And we’re not going to back up for these new guys, they’ll have to learn on the fly from these other guys,” Kellum said. “We’re ahead of the game and I’m tickled to death with that.”
Southside will don pads on Saturday and will play its first scrimmage the following Friday when it hosts North Pitt, East Carteret and Northside at 6 p.m. The game, which has an admission fee of $3, will serve as a fundraiser for the football team.