Whats new with Providence Day football? Just about everything.The Chargers graduated 21 seniors from last years team. Just four starters come back to Providence Day from a team that lost in last years state championship game to Charlotte Christian 24-21. But coach Bruce Hardin, a coach who has won three state championships and more than 300 games in public and private school football, sounds optimistic. Were young ... but I tell you what, the enthusiasm, the eagerness of the guys has just been remarkable, he said. I think theyve really dedicated themselves to getting better and making it a fun season for everybody. The Chargers must replace many key players from last years team, including quarterback Chase Ferguson (Butler) and receiver/defensive back Bryon Fields (Duke).Hardin said three players have a chance at the quarterback spot: freshman Alex Featherstone, sophomore John Sweitzer and senior Corbin Balzer. I think the one that excels in the leadership and the accuracy and gets their arm stronger and makes good decisions (will start), Hardin said. Those are the three important things for me in a quarterback. The only experienced players on the offensive side of the ball are senior offensive lineman Hayes Donahue (6-foot, 2-inch, 250 pounds) and senior running back Lawson Ives (5-foot, 11-inch, 175 pounds). Hayes will be a three-year starter for the Chargers and Ives has been a part of the teams running back rotation for the past two years. Defensively, Providence Day brings back senior linebacker Blake Henderson (5-foot, 10-inch, 190 pounds), who may also play running back, and junior defensive back Deontae Henderson (5-foot, 11-inch, 160 pounds). Henderson impressed Hardin at the Cam Newton 7-on-7 tournament earlier this summer. I think hes going to be a nice surprise for a lot of people and I think he can meet the challenge in the secondary, Hardin said. Everyone else on the field will be new. Theres nothing like getting on the field, Hardin said. You can stand on the sidelines and watch and practice all you want to, but getting on that game field is what makes you better. It might be a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning of the year. Hardin wouldnt say if so many new players will change his offensive approach. What you try to do is get the ball to and in the hands of your receivers and give yourself a chance and put pressure on the people you play and not let them put the pressure on you, he said. That could even mean a triple-option offense, a style Hardin has used in past coaching stops at Kannapolis Brown, West Charlotte and Providence High. Thats old school. We might go back to it, though, you never know, Hardin said about the option offense. Weve run it about everywhere weve been so we may try it here.
Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013
NCISAA: Many question marks on young Providence Day Charger squad
Providence Day Chargers (8-5, lost in NCISAA Division I championship) Coach: Bruce Hardin (sixth year at Providence Day, 322 career wins) Returning starters: Four (two offense, two defense) College prospects: • OL Hayes Donahue: 6-foot, 2-inch, 250-pound senior is a three-year starter for Providence Day. • LB/RB Blake Henderson: 5-foot, 10-inch, 190-pound senior is a “tough guy,” according to coach Bruce Hardin. • RB Lawson Ives: 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound senior is expected to contribute more to the Chargers’ run game this year. Can’t-miss games: • Aug. 23 vs. Victory Christian: Chargers open the season with the NCISAA Division III champions. Two weeks later, they play Division II champion Davidson Day. • Nov. 1 at Charlotte Christian: A rematch of last year’s state championship game the last week of the season.
2013 schedule • Aug. 23: vs. Victory Christian • Aug. 30: vs. Ravenscroft • Sept. 7: vs. Davidson Day • Sept. 12: vs. Carolina Pride • Sept. 20: vs. Liberty Christian • Sept. 27: vs. New Covenant Knights • Oct. 4: at SouthLake Christian • Oct. 11: vs. Charlotte Latin • Oct. 18: at Rabun Gap • Oct. 25: at Charlotte Country Day • Nov. 1: at Charlotte Christian
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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