Concord First Assembly has a new name, a new coach and a new offensive scheme, but the same mission: Get back to the state championship.The Eagles won state titles in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 under the name First Assembly Christian but finished just 5-5 last year. They had lost only five games during the previous three seasons.Hoping to turn things around, CFA returned to its past by hiring Craig Kean this offseason. Kean led the school to the 2007 NCISAA Division II championship before departing for an offensive coordinator position at Mount Pleasant.The current seniors on the team were sixth-graders when Kean left.I didnt recognize them, Kean said. Three of them were little roly-poly sixth-graders.Besides maturing physically, Kean has seen mental development in his oldest crop of players. Theyve turned into leaders.In the spring, Kean was often busy coaching the schools golf team, but he trusted his seniors to run the workouts.Kean said last years performance was a result of a lack of depth, not a lack of talent. The pipeline for football players at CFA was weakened when the school was unable to field a middle-school team during the past two years.The kids there have a lot of heart, Kean said, But they hardly subbed anybody, and in the second half they would wear out.Kean hopes to implement the pro-style offense he used previously, a major shift from the run-heavy double-wing attack the school has employed more recently. The style wont be exactly the same as what Kean ran in 2007, though. He said he doesnt have enough players to push the tempo and run as many plays as he used to.The success of the new scheme may hinge on the performance of junior quarterback Jordan Lane and offensive weapon D.J. Foster. Lane has the size to excel, but is entering his first full season as starter this year. Kean said his ability to handle all the little things that go into quarterbacking a team will determine his ceiling, but Lanes work ethic has the coach excited about his potential. Lane will have to develop rhythm with various targets, including Foster. Kean was hesitant to label Foster as a running back, wide receiver or any other position. He sees him as CFAs Percy Harvin, a versatile playmaker like the Seattle Seahawk.Foster showed off some of his skills at an offseason 7-on-7 competition at Catawba College. With a number of other expected offensive starters unavailable, Foster was rarely taken off the field, meaning he had plenty of opportunities to showcase his athleticism. Kean said the senior will also be one of his best defensive backs this year.While putting together his depth chart and concocting his scheme, Kean has also been tasked with rounding up a coaching staff. To this point, hes enlisted players parents, former players of his now in college and even former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brad Lamb, who helps out when he is in town.Ive got guys who are going to be good coaches, but Ive got guys who are going to coach new positions, Kean said.
Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013
Concord First Assembly turns to former coach to lead football program
Concord First Assembly Coach: Craig Kean (First year). 2012 record: 5-5. Starters Returning: 5 on offense, 5 on defense. Key players: • QB Jordan Lane, junior: The signal-caller has the arm strength and work ethic to do special things in his first full season as a starter. • C Isaac Rivenbark, junior: Rivenbark is very quick for a lineman and has been extremely consistent this offseason. Kean says he hasn’t seen a bad snap yet. • DE Morris Harris, senior: Harris’ long arms and strong motor make him a hard defensive end to stop. If he improves his catching ability, Harris could also be a force on offense. Can’t-miss games: Hickory Grove, Oct. 4; SouthLake Christian, Oct. 25
Feldman: 704-358-5384; Twitter @jacobfeldman4
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