Larry McNulty is ready to move past the 2012 football season.I think it was a reality check for all of us last year to go 5-5 (in the regular season) and then get pulverized (48-20 by Charlotte Christian) in the first round of the state playoffs, the Charlotte Latin head coach said during one of the Hawks offseason workouts.It wasnt very characteristic of what were used to around here, and I think that the coaching staff and the kids want to get back to playing Latin football the way we have done it in the past.Charlotte Latin won five of seven N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I state championships from 2003 to 2009 and made the state title game in 2010. The Hawks may not be back to challenge for a state title this year, but McNulty expects a stronger team.Optimism is high, he said. Im not saying were state-championship caliber yet, but I think were going to be better. Much of that optimism comes from the development of a class of juniors who contributed last year as sophomores. The Hawks fielded a young team last year, with only a handful of seniors, and McNulty said the players have continued to improve. Those kids are all juniors now, he said. Theyre older, more experience. Theyre bigger, theyre faster. The Hawks return most of their defensive and offensive starting lineups.Junior quarterback Daniel Jones comes back to lead the offense. McNulty said the 6-foot-2, 160-pounder has added three inches and 25 pounds since last season and is throwing with twice the velocity.I like my quarterback a lot, McNulty said. A year of getting beat up and pushed around, and now hes back bigger, faster, stronger, smarter. Junior Denzel Pearson (5-foot-11, 175 pounds), a 1,000-yard rusher last year, returns in the backfield. Junior Carson Song (5-foot-10, 175 pounds), a two-way player at slot receiver and safety, also returns.McNulty expects junior Toby Okwara, the defending NCISAA heavyweight wrestling champ at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, to anchor the defensive line.Defense is McNultys focus this offseason. We were undersized and we werent real fast, and we werent aggressive last year, he said. We have spent our entire offseason in the weight room and in our offseason program to make ourselves mentally and physically tougher. McNulty said he is looking forward to this season. I am very enthusiastic. I dont know if Ive been this excited about a football season for a couple of years now, he said. As good as I think were going to make some strides this year, we may still be a year away. Next year should be the year where all those kids that started as sophomores are going to be seniors.
Friday, Jul. 12, 2013
Young Charlotte Latin continues to grow
Charlotte Latin (5-6, 1st round NCISAA playoffs) Coach: Larry McNulty (28th year, 232-80 career record) Returning starters: 16 (8 offense, 8 defense) Key players: • QB Daniel Jones: 6-foot-2, 160-pound junior returns to starting role. • RB Denzel Pearson: 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year. • DL Toby Okwara: 6-foot-3, 290 pound junior also won heavyweight wrestling title.
2013 schedule Aug. 30: vs. Cox Mill Sept. 6: vs. Carolina Pride Sept. 12: AT Ravenscroft Sept. 20: vs. Baptist Hill (S.C.) Sept. 27: AT Asheville School Oct. 4: vs. Charlotte Christian Oct. 11: AT Providence Day Oct. 18: AT Cannon Oct. 25: vs. Davidson Day Nov. 1: vs. Charlotte Country Day
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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