08/11/10 — North Lenoir practice report

View Archive

North Lenoir practice report

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 11, 2010 1:46 PM

LaGRANGE -- Calvin Sutton isn't just trying to build a quality football program at North Lenoir High School.

He is desperately trying to change the culture.

Sutton's charismatic delivery has won over the players in Wheat Swamp and the Hawks appear to be flying as high as anyone cares to remember. At the team's practice on Tuesday night, 80 players strapped on a helmet and ran onto the field.

Trying to reign in that many teen-age boys has left Sutton coaching on the verge of chaos.

"We have had an amazing turnout so far and it is beyond anything I expected," Sutton said following the workout. "We have a lot of guys that are committed to getting better and we have a lot of young guys that will fill out our junior varsity team as we build for the future."

Sutton and his small coaching staff of just three assistants are not too anxious to get any of their young players into the varsity games.

"I think that is one thing that North Lenoir has done too much in the past," said Sutton. "If you call kids up too early and they get their confidence rattled, then the situation is no good for the player or the team."

Coming off a 2-9 season in 2009, the Hawks will look to build around a talented core of returning talent. Division-I prospect Maurice Morgan returns to the North Lenoir backfield as does starting quarterback Romero Arnold.

Finding the right mix along the offensive and defensive lines is the coaching staff's top priority over the last eight days of preseason practice.

"We have to have a more physical mentality," said Sutton. "We have some talent, so now the next step is becoming more physical and developing a toughness so we can be the aggressor."

The Hawks will scrimmage at Farmville Central on Thursday night and travel to the Southern Vance jamboree on Saturday. Sutton has a specific set of objectives for those two preseason affairs.

"We have to be consistent on both sides of the ball," said Sutton. "We have to know that we can execute a play and then a few minutes later execute the same play just as efficiently."

North Lenoir opens the regular season Aug. 20 at home against East Duplin.