04/07/06 — Avent brothers headed to James Kenan

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Avent brothers headed to James Kenan

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 7, 2006 2:01 PM

WARSAW -- Adversaries the past three seasons, brothers Ken Jr. and John Bert Avent will return to the football sidelines as allies next fall.

Ken Jr., who guided North Johnston to the eastern 1-AA regional championship in 2005, officially accepted the head coaching job at James Kenan on Wednesday. John Bert resigned as North Duplin's football coach, but will complete his duties as baseball coach at the Carolina 1-A school.

Once the calendar school year ends, John Bert will change schools and serve as Ken Jr.'s defensive coordinator.

Avent Jr. succeeds Kevin Motsinger, who guided James Kenan to 24 victories and three playoff appearances in three seasons. Motsinger resigned in March to take over the head coaching job at Wilmington New Hanover.

"It's a very tough decision leaving North Johnston," said Avent Jr, a 35-year-old graduate of Catawba College. "It's a great place, and the administration and community is unbelievable. (Principal) Ross (Renfrow) has done everything in his power to make football important and they'll continue to succeed as long as he's their principal."

Avent Jr. turned the once-dormant Panther program into a power in three short seasons. His last two teams compiled a 9-1 record in Carolina 1-A Conference play and emerged the league champion in 2005. North Johnston amassed a school-record 14 wins and lost to traditional power Wallace-Rose Hill in the eastern regional title game.

James Kenan fashioned an 8-2 worksheet against Super Six 1-A Conference opponents during Motsinger's final two seasons. His teams collected three postseason wins and averaged eight wins per year during his three-year stint.

The Tigers, again, are expected to challenge Duplin County rival Wallace-Rose Hill for Super Six supremacy. Since the league's inception in 2001, the Bulldogs are a perfect 25-0 in conference play.

"Duplin County football is very big and the community supports it," said Avent Jr., whose six-year career record is 51-25. "I know the whole Super Six Conference and what it's about. Wallace is what you always set your mark for, and you go after them.

"I know they've always had an outstanding football tradition at James Kenan and it's a chance for me to move back home. Kevin has done a great job turning them around. They're obviously hungry and want to do more. They're excited about their chances of being good next year."

Avent Jr. met with the seniors Thursday morning and the entire team that afternoon. He starts full-time in three weeks and his main short-term goal is to get the football staff hired. Once that task is done, the coaches will sit down and begin installing Avent Jr.'s offensive package.

Avent Jr. used the option at North Duplin and North Johnston, and adapted the playbook to fit his personnel. Each program produced several 1,000-yard rushers and passers.

"We'll try to get everything in during the summer so we can get ready for our first game against East Duplin," said Avent Jr.

John Bert put North Duplin in the eastern 1-A regional final in 2003 and posted a record of 10-4. His next two teams finished a combined 6-16, and each earned a berth in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Hugh Martin has been named John Bert's successor.

North Johnston has not announced any formal plans to find a replacement for Avent Jr.