‘Redemption year’ for Northern Guilford?
Head Coach Johnny Roscoe returns after a year away, and team sets its sights on another championship
by L.A. Logan
sports/community news(Northwest Observer Newspaper at www.northwestobserver.com)
[Courtesy of L.A. Logan and the Northwest Observer]
After winning three consecutive 3-AA North Carolina High School Athletic Association football championships, Northern Guilford’s head football coach Johnny Roscoe decided it was time to retire his coaching whistle and head back to his farm in South Carolina.
But one player in particular thought Roscoe’s retirement, which had come as a surprise, wouldn’t last very long.
“Honestly, I had in the back of my mind that Roscoe was coming back home,” said junior running back CJ Freeman. “He just needed a break for a year to chill out. I knew he was coming back home.”
Freeman hit it right on the money.
“Coming back just felt right,” Roscoe said recently of his return to coaching at Northern. “I had a chance to watch a lot of high school and college football games, and I could still see things (I would do as a coach) in slow motion.
“If I couldn’t have seen that, I would have never come back.”
During his one-year sabbatical in South Carolina, Roscoe worked on his farm and learned from neighbors how to appreciate life outside of football.
“You don’t know everything, and if you sit back and listen, somebody will teach you something,” Roscoe said. “There are a lot of people in the world who do different things on Friday nights besides going to football games.”
During Roscoe’s absence, Northern lost to Crest High School in the semifinals of the 3-AA NCHSAA playoffs last year. That loss brought an unfamiliar feeling to senior defensive back Mook Reynolds and the rest of the Nighthawk nation.
Reynolds called the upcoming season a “redemption year.”
“We’re trying to get back in the swing of winning championships,” said Reynolds, who has verbally committed to play at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2015. “I’m a firm believer that we have the pieces to be there again. “Having Roscoe back elevated the confidence with the fans, the community, the team and the school.”
With the speed and talent on the Nighthawks’ roster, assistant coach Russell Stone said Northern has a great chance to win it all at the end of the year.
“The kids know how to win,” said Stone. “They expect to win, and there’s no excuse not to.” After posting a 12-3 record last season – one loss on the field and two by forfeit – the Nighthawks remain optimistic about their journey ahead. Reynolds said Northern has a good chance to add to their legacy this year.
But, first things first. Before taking the field against crosstown-rival Page High School on Aug. 29, Roscoe and his coaching staff must choose a starting quarterback.
Senior Cameron Harris is one of four candidates vying for the job.
“I’m pretty confident playing quarterback,” said Harris. “But helping my team out is my main goal. I’ll play wherever coaches need me.”
Wherever Harris lines up on Friday evenings, he plans to be all over the field, creating game-changing plays to help secure victories.
“We’re going to be ‘icy’ if we do the right things,” said Harris.
Northern hopes to fill another void on the team before preseason ends.
Roscoe admitted his team is still searching for multiple leaders on and off the field, and it’s going to take time for this team to mold into one unit.
“Right now, we have six people doing it right and five people doing it wrong,” said Roscoe. “We have to get those 11 right to be successful.”
With 41 years of coaching under his belt and a stadium named in his honor, Roscoe is hungrier than ever to deliver a special season for the Northern supporters.
However, the school’s head football coach knows at the end of the day, preparing and developing is a process, every week is a new week and every week brings a new opponent.
“Every game is a rivalry,” said Roscoe. “We better not look ahead. We must take it one game at a time.”
Welcome back to Friday night football, Coach Roscoe.