Chris Williams was hired as the head football coach at East Mecklenburg just a few weeks before the 2012 season started. He didnt have much time to prepare.He couldnt implement his full defensive strategy and his offense was learning on the fly as the season progressed. Coming into 2013, Williams has gotten to work with the team in spring and summer workouts. Williams hopes that helps the Eagles improve on its 2-9 record from last year. Weve been able to get a lot more work in than what we had last year, he said. Were much better prepared for the season than we were last year, not only in terms of our conditioning but also just implementing schemes. The Eagles will have to overcome depth issues this season. At 7-on-7 passing games this summer, the Eagles have had around 15 players while many others have 30. Many of the East Meck starters will likely play both ways. The three returning offensive linemen senior Chasz Cosby (6-foot, 2-inch, 230 pounds), senior Delano Cunningham (6-foot, 3-inch, 280 pounds) and junior Devin Griffin (5-foot, 11-inch, 205 pounds) will likely also be on the defensive line. Cosby is a two-time All-Southwestern 4A player. Two returning wide receivers seniors Darius Myers (5-foot, 10-inch, 165 pounds) and Bokar Diaby (5-foot, 8-inch, 150 pounds) will likely also play defensive back.Thats just one of those things weve got to deal with that other teams dont, just from a numbers standpoint, Williams said. Our kids understand that. I think theyre excited about the challenge of doing that. I know as a player I never wanted to come off the field.Williams is looking forward to seeing the improvement of the passing game. The Eagles have four senior receivers in Myers, Diaby, Dez Covington (6-foot, 3-inch, 190 pounds), who was ineligible last year, and Say-Quan Jones (5-foot, 8-inch, 150 pounds). A quarterback, junior David Allen replaces Laquell Thames, who transferred to Vance. Allen (6-foot, 175 pounds) played junior varsity for East Meck as a freshman and played in South Carolina last year. He transferred back to East Meck soon after last football season and has been at the school since spring semester. Davids the man right now, Williams said. Hes done a great job so far in terms of picking up what were doing. He understands what were trying to accomplish in the passing game and I think thats the biggest area for improvement we can see offensively. The Eagles had success in the run game last year, but they will have to replace Lawrence Pittman, who transferred to Mallard Creek. Juniors Bryon Collins (5-foot, 10-inch, 180 pounds) and Raheim Pitt (5-foot, 10-inch, 185 pounds), senior Isaiah Stone (5-foot, 9-inch, 185 pounds) and sophomore Darius McDuffie (5-foot, 9-inch, 190 pounds) all have a chance to see time at running back this season. I think a lot of its going to be by committee, Williams said. I think a lot of it is going to be who steps up and earns carries. Those running backs will also be playing linebacker for the Eagles. Williams, who was a defensive coach at South Meck before coming to the Eagles, plans to overhaul East Mecks defense, making it similar to what he ran with the Sabres. Were going to get the best athletes on the field and were going to come after you, he said. We cant afford to sit back and wait on people. We have to go and attack you. Were going to try to dictate what happens on the field as opposed to being a read-and-react type defense. Williams said he felt his team improved through last season. They broke a 22-game on-field losing streak with a 23-9 win over Ardrey Kell late in the season. (Last years second win was because of a Marvin Ridge forfeit.) Losses to Rocky River, Providence High, North Mecklenburg and South Mecklenburg last year were all by seven points or less. This season East Meck will play in the new Southwestern 4A with Butler, Independence, Myers Park, Garinger, Rocky River and Porter Ridge. Williams hopes his team will be playoff eligible. Regardless of record at the end of the year, Williams wants his players to know that he plans on sticking with the program. A big thing for these kids is stability and knowing that Im here for the long haul, he said. Im not going anywhere. I have no desire to go anywhere. ... I hope Im here for the rest of my career. Id love to do that. Id love the opportunity to do that.
Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013
NCHSAA Southwestern 4A: East Meck coach hopes preparation turns into wins
East Meck, playing in new Southwestern 4A, hopes to be playoff eligible
East Mecklenburg Eagles (2-9, 1-6 SW4A) Coach: Chris Williams (second year, 2-9) Returning starters: 10 (five offense, five defense) College prospects: • OL/DL Chasz Cosby, Sr. (6-foot, 2-inch, 230 pounds): Two-time all-conference lineman getting interest from FCS and Division II schools, according to his coach. • OL/DL Delano Cunningham, Sr. (6-foot, 3-inch, 280 pounds): Cunningham’s “big body” and good feet are getting the attention of college coaches, according to Chris Williams. Can’t-miss games: Sept. 6 vs. North Mecklenburg; Nov. 1 vs. Porter Ridge; Nov. 8 at Myers Park.
2013 schedule • Aug. 23: vs. West Mecklenburg • Aug. 30: at Providence High • Sept. 6: vs. North Mecklenburg • Sept. 12: at Harding • Sept. 20: at Olympic • Sept. 27: at Independence* • Oct. 4: vs. Butler* • Oct. 11: vs. Rocky River* • Oct. 25: at Garinger* • Nov. 1: vs. Porter Ridge* • Nov. 8: at Myers Park* *Denotes Southwestern 4A conference game
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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