A whole new Sport: new coach changes game


Lara Cate Wright, Staff Writer

Athletes can get into a yearly routine of practice and games. This football season, a new head coach had plans to turn these expectations on their helmets.

A different routine can be intimidating for a football player, but that did not stop the this year’s varsity team from starting off strong. As of press time, the team held a 7-1 record, with it’s only loss being against First Flight.

Freddie “Sport” Sawyer joined the football program as the new head coach in January 2017. Sawyer previously worked as the head coach for Washington High School’s football team in Beaufort County.

“Washington was nice and a good school, but Manteo is special. [It has] great teachers, principals, support staff and coaches and community; it’s [the type of place] I call paradise,” he said.

The football season started with a week of spring practices followed by many weeks of summer practices. The summer practice schedule included both morning and afternoon practices. The busy practice schedule from the summer months helped the team get used to the changes and adjustments that come with a new coach.

“I feel that there was a new atmosphere of excitement at summer practices to see what Coach Sawyer would do with the program,” sophomore Wolfie Schultz said.

Along with the spring and summer practices, members of the team traveled inland for professional and collegiate camps. For the first time, team members had the opportunity to go to the Cam Newton Camp in Charlotte.

“The camp improved our team’s pass defense. We [also] had a chance to bond as a team and become closer,” senior Jacob Carter said.

With the team acclimated to Sawyer, it prepared to take on new teams. Because of the change in the athletic conference, the football team found itself facing different teams from bigger schools. A 33-6 win against Currituck County High School at the start of the season gave the team new confidence. This outcome was quite different from the previous year when the team fell 2-42 to Currituck.

Going into the homecoming game with a record of 5-1, the varsity football team felt ready to take on Gates County High School. The game ended with Manteo on top, 34-7.

“Coming from a bigger school, the atmosphere was a lot different but here at Manteo I felt more supported at the homecoming game,” sophomore Caleb Barker said.

The two hardest match-ups in the season are still to come with the team playing Edenton and Plymouth in the last two conference games. Currently, Manteo and Edenton are tied for first place in the conference. As of Oct. 17, the two teams have 7-1 overall records and 2-0 conference records.

“Coach Sawyer has brought a whole new mindset to Manteo and that is why he have been successful and will continue to be successful,” senior Caz Wheeler said.