By Tom Hoggard | Outer Banks Voice on October 3, 2019
On the eve of the Friday, Oct. 4 Marlin Bowl between Manteo and First Flight high schools, Tom Hoggard interviewed the coaches of the two varsity football squads about their season so far and the outlook for the big rivalry game. This interview is with Manteo High School coach Sport Sawyer.
Q: At 4-1 through the season’s first give games, what has surprised you the most about this year’s club?
A: This year’s team had a very good offseason and great mindset on what it takes to be successful on the field. I am very pleased with the development each week of the players striving to get better and better. Very pleased with the JV players as well as they work extremely hard even though they have had several JV games cancelled for various reasons.
Q: What adjustments have you been forced to make so far this season?
A: Practices have been difficult at times as due to injuries we have had less than 22 players able to participate. That makes it difficult to get down scout offensive plays and scout defensive plays. As a result, we have introduced a 30-minute intra-squad session against the JV starters with quick whistles to give us a good look.
Q: What adjustments do you still need to make to further improve?
A: Daily we need to strive to get better. We are far from where I believe we can be, but I believe with the way the guys are working, we can be conference champions and more. We’ve got to quit giving up so many big plays defensively. Offensively, we need to be two dimensional with the ability to both throw and run.
Q: The Marlin Bowl is this Friday night. Do you prepare any differently for the rivalry game?
A: No. Every game matters. We 100% want to win this game, but we also have bigger goals than just the Marlin Bowl. We want the state to be aware of Manteo Redskins football, not just Dare County.
Q: What must the Redskins do this Friday in order to beat First Flight?
A: To win this week, we must control our emotions and focus on each individual’s assignment on each play. We need to continue to be physical, reduce the number of big plays allowed, and everything will be all good.
In summary, Coach Sawyer had this to say. “We have a very good team but are still developing. We do not have the 4.4 40 speed guys, but we have guys that are going to line up and play old school football and I love it. The players and coaches are great to be around. and we are all having fun.”
Tom Hoggard is sports director/media consultant at East Carolina Radio. He hosts the Outer Banks Sports Report on 98.1 The Score Monday through Friday from 7 to 9 a.m.