08/16/12 — FOOTBALL TAB -- North Lenoir: Sutton continues to build winning mentality in Wheat Swamp

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FOOTBALL TAB -- North Lenoir: Sutton continues to build winning mentality in Wheat Swamp

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

Calvin Sutton is not trying to put together a football team, but is working on building a program instead.

Sutton enters his fourth season as North Lenoir's head coach focused on developing a winning mentality with each of his players. He is determined to not let history determine the Hawks' future.

Despite North Lenoir's combined 5-28 record over the past three seasons, Sutton insists morals throughout his program is high and he is anxious to see some of his young, talented players perform in key situations.

"I am trying to build a program and that is what I see on the field," Sutton said. "We have played some really good football and it does not always translate into wins and losses. This is not an overnight thing. We are trying to be competitive every year and the winning is going to come."

Junior Landon Baker inherits the starting quarterback position in the Hawks' flexbone offense that returns six starters. Sutton has concentrated on keeping the offensive terminology simple despite implementing a diverse playbook in which the Hawks are capable of running the same plays out of multiple formations.

Junior receiver Zongio Troy provides Baker with a play-making threat who is capable of hurting defenses vertically in the passing game or by utilizing his speed as a runner on sweep plays. Senior tailback Marsharee Troy returns in the backfield. Tight ends Billy Summers and Trey Turner are solid blockers as well as a security blanket for Baker through the air.

North Lenoir averaged 11.5 points a game in 2011.

In order to improve upon that Sutton points to one key factor -- sustaining drives.

"Last year, being so young, we left a lot of points on the field," Sutton said. "We were kind of good for starting a drive and getting two or three first downs and having to punt. We have to keep drives moving and make sure our drives end in points.

"Offensively, we have a lot of plays in, but we keep it simple. It is nothing for us to go from a two tight end unbalanced line on one play to a spread formation on the next play with just a couple of signals."

The Hawks return eight starters on a defense that surrendered 34.6 points per contest last season. An experienced defensive line anchored by Summers, Jeremy Ingram and Nasir Brown -- all seniors -- is being counted on to stop opposing running backs and wreak havoc on quarterbacks.

Reggie Rouse and Cedric Summers bring athleticism and leadership to the secondary.

"Defensively, we have some guys that don't just fill holes but they thrive off making plays," Sutton said. "We have some new guys that we are counting on to step up. I'm excited to see how they handle the challenge and seeing how they produce this year."

North Lenoir begins the season Friday night at Greene Central.