North Edgecombe’s transition from its longtime coach to one of its longtime assistants could not have gone any smoother in 2012.
Coach Keith Parisher took over for then-retired Danny Ward, and North Edgecombe seemingly did not miss a step in its player development.
In fact, the Warriors gained valuable experience, extended its postseason run to four consecutive seasons and set the tone for a 2013 campaign in which it expects to be one of the better 1-A teams in the East.
“I don’t want to say we are experienced, but since most of the team played last year as freshmen and sophomores, we have some experience,” Parisher said. “It’s a young bunch, and they seem to want to learn. They have been doing what we’ve asked them to do.”
North Edgecombe finished 5-6 and advanced to the second round of the 1-A state playoffs last season.
This year’s team believes it can surpass that mark despite not leaning heavily on a senior class for the second year in a row.
Sophomore Antoine Pittman rushed for 900 yards last season, and he will lead a young backfield that will run behind an offensive line that does not feature a senior.
One question mark is the quarterback position, where there are three candidates to fill the role as signal caller. Parisher said he believes any of the three could perform the job well.
“I’m going to try my best at what I do to keep getting better every day,” senior quarterback candidate Rontarius Graham said. “Our backs are faster and stronger, and our line is improving even more. As we work, we’ll get better and better. We could be better than last year.”
More than X’s and O’s, or the fact that it will play in the newly formed Two Rivers Conference with neighborhood rival Tarboro, North Edgecombe is confident because of its continuity.
Parisher has been at the school for three decades as an assistant, and his current group of assistants each have multiple years of experience at the school.
Most of all, the players are putting in the work and are willing to be coached.
“We just have to be disciplined in everything we do,” junior lineman Trey’Quain Harris said. “We have to go further if we are going to achieve the goals we have.”
Parisher and the Warriors know what they started last season, but they know more is possible.”
“When you start your program, you are starting a new era,” Parisher said. “You won’t do it in one year. It will take time to build.
“Once you get players buying into the program, things get better.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or email@example.com