Cary High School enters a new era of football this season under the leadership of first-year coach Kurt Glendenning and his staff.
Longtime coach Ben Kolstad took a head coaching position at Sanderson High School last spring.
“We have a lot of good experience and a wide variety of personalities across our staff,” Glendenning said. “Seven out of our eight coaches are on campus and can be around the boys, and it’s just more hands-on, eyes-on. I think that will correlate into more team success.”
The Imps tied for fourth in the conference last season, but with the return of senior Jake Saliani, a second-team all-conference offensive lineman, as well as senior quarterback Scott Kinsey, they hope to improve upon last year’s record and earn another playoff berth.
“We want to stay consistent. The past nine years under Ben Kolstad, we’ve reached the playoffs, and we want to continue to do that. We’d like to win a second playoff game,” Glendenning said.
Despite returning only four offensive starters and three defensive starters, Cary will look to its tight-knit senior class for strong leadership and big plays.
“Senior leadership is so important, because the younger kids imprint on them, and we’ve got a lot of seniors that have been here all four years or three years previously. They know how to do it, they know how to practice, they know how to lift, they know how to condition, and hopefully they will have a positive influence on our young kids to see how it’s done,” Glendenning said.
Trevion Hackney, a junior, was a threat in the kickoff-return game last season.
Junior Anthony Rush, a tight end and defensive tackle, reportedly has received a scholarship offer from N.C. State.
Justin Murphy, a senior tight end who gained 109 receiving yards last year, will factor into the Imps’ offense.
Seniors Michael Beverly and Trevor Ellis look to be starting defensive linemen, recording 20 and 21 tackles last year, respectively. Glendenning also expects Yenge Mpongo to be a strong asset on defense, as he racked up 29 tackles last season as a junior.
“These seniors have grown up together, they’ve played Pop Warner together, (and) they spend a lot of time with each other outside of school and outside of sports. I think that a family and a nucleus of upperclassmen is really going to help our team.”
The Imps will be tested Friday at home against Broughton, and Glendenning predicts a tight game.
“Broughton always has very good athletes. We take every game seriously. We have played Broughton the first game of the season for many years, and we probably are about .500 with them. Sometimes we win and sometimes they win, but we prepare to win each and every game,” he said.