When he accepted the job as football coach at Berry in July, Travis Witherspoon said he understood the challenges in front of him.
Berry had three consecutive winning seasons under former coach Andrew Howard from 2009-11, but the Cardinals haven’t had one since.
Howard said that Berry principal Terra Matthews Kennedy informed him last spring that the school would be changing coaches. He’s now Berry’s assistant athletics director and Dean of Students. Until Witherspoon arrived, Howard worked with the team.
“We’ve got a young team,” Howard said. “We have a lot of 10th graders on this team. We’ve got a couple freshmen out there. In a couple years, they’ll be fine.”
Witherspoon, whose Cardinals lost 63-20 at East Mecklenburg last week, agrees. For the past three years, he was offensive coordinator at 3A Cuthbertson High in Union County. His primary quarterback was Austin Kendall, now a freshman at Oklahoma. Wide receiver J.T. Cauthen, a senior at Cuthbertson , has committed to North Carolina.
“Any school that ends up losing eight starters on offense before I walk in the building will end up struggling a little bit,” said Witherspoon, 29. “But the kids have been great and buying into everything we want to get established here.
“When it comes to winning, you win in the weight room, in the classroom and then on the field. I know it’s a process, but I’m in it for the long haul.”
▪ West Charlotte unveiled its new track, turf field and signage on the press box Thursday night, ahead of Friday’s home game against rival West Mecklenburg. The Carolina Panthers and Lowe’s helped partner on the renovation project that was part of a $200,000 NFL grassroots grant the Panthers made to West Charlotte in 2014. West Charlotte also made renovations to the locker room, restroom and concession stands (the school still badly needs new bleachers).
The new concession stand will allow the West Charlotte Booster Club to prep and serve food at football games. Previously, the school had food trucks come by during games.
▪ Huge statement from some of Charlotte’s big private schools last week. Charlotte Christian beat 4A state champion Charlotte Catholic and Charlotte Latin beat Providence, becoming the first Mecklenburg private school to beat a Mecklenburg 4A program. Previously, Charlotte Country Day had beaten 4A Durham Hillside 20-18 in 2014 and 25-21 in 2013. Country Day also beat Boiling Springs Crest in 2007 and 2008 when the N.C. powerhouse Chargers were 4A. And in 2007, the Bucs beat then S.C. 4A power Rock Hill Northwestern 51-48.
▪ Former Independence High coach Scott Young’s son, Bryant, completed 7-of-9 passes for Statesville High in a win over Hickory last Friday. He scored a rushing touchdown. Coach Young said his family bought a house in Statesville. He is a volunteer coach at Statesville, and his wife, Dianne, hopes to be hired at local elementary.