08/21/08 — New coaches anxious for openers

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New coaches anxious for openers

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 21, 2008 1:35 PM

Two new head coaches make their respective debuts when the 2008 high school football season kicks off Friday.

The dress rehearsals are over for Spring Creek's Aaron Sanders and Greene Central's Ken Grantham. Sanders is eager to get the Gators up and running after experiencing an 0-11 season in 2007.

"I am excited, a little nervous, but overall excited," said Sanders. "I know that before the game I won't be able to talk without shaking, but that's not a big deal.

"Most coaches when they start with a new team already have experience as a head coach at another school, but I don't. So, there are a lot of questions."

Since the start of fall practice, the Gators have experienced losses as well as gains. During the first full-contact drills, defensive standout and possible starting quarterback Noah Hinson went down with a ruptured kidney. A week later the team lost a lineman due to complications associated with asthma.

"We have some guys that are out, but we also have some guys that have really stepped up and filled holes," said Sanders, a Spring Creek alum. "I have seen more from the running game than I thought I would, and our interior linemen have been strong."

The Gators open the season against South Lenoir.

"We want to focus on winning individual matchups and play to our strengths," said Sanders. "When we watched South Lenoir scrimmage, they ran some spread and some offset-I, but traditionally they are a wing-T team, so we expect to see some of that, too."

A second Grantham era begins in Snow Hill. Ken is the son of Spence Grantham, who roamed the Greene Central sidelines as head coach for two-plus decades.

The Rams have spent the summer learning Grantham's triple-option offense and used this week to game film on South Central -- their first opponent. Greene Central started its 2007 campaign with a 27-12 victory over the Falcons.

"It's our first game week of the season and we've been in a little different mode than what we were in during the preseason," said Grantham. "Kids are getting used to breaking down film and doing more preparation in practice, and seeing how it changes during a game week.

"It's just another one of those new processes."

A pass-happy unit a season ago, Greene Central has made strides in adjusting to the triple option during the offseason. Grantham saw significant progress from his offense during a scrimmage over the weekend.

Junior Ben Parrish, the backup to William Brown in 2007, has earned the starting nod at quarterback.

"I think it's gone pretty well considering the learning we had to do," said Grantham. "At this point in time we're excited about where we're at. On Saturday at a scrimmage I saw big improvement from where we were last Tuesday.

"I think Saturday we were able to build a little confidence."