There will be plenty of new faces on the sidelines this football season as four new coaches take over programs in the seven-team Mideastern Conference to go along with Larry Brock at North Brunswick High School.
The first official practice day for fall sports teams at the high school level was Aug. 1 and the Scorpions were scheduled to get an early start to the year in the wee hours of Saturday morning, but weather put a damper on their Midnight Madness event so North Brunswick joined other programs from across the area and held a mid-morning workout.
Leading up to opening day in Leland, longtime coach Hal Stewart gave the North Brunswick players a preseason pep talk as the 73-year old spent time inspiring the new coach and his players.
“Coach Stewart and I have developed a great relationship over the years and he stopped by before practice a few ago to get the guys geared up for the season,” said Brock. “I’ve had the opportunity to talk a long time with Coach Stewart and also took a lot from the time I spent as friends with the late Jack Holley.”
Stewart coached high school football teams to 4A state championships at Richmond County and Garner and established a perennial powerhouse at Garner during his tenure. Holley is the all-time winningest football coach in state history and a member of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Brock, who graduated from South Brunswick High School and relocated to the area this summer after accepting the position at North Brunswick.
“It’s good to be home,” said Brock. “Taking over for Garry Bishop–while I don’t feel I need to fill his shoes or can fill his shoes–it was perfect timing for me and I told the guys I’m not Coach Bishop. He was here 25 years and they’re naming the stadium after him.
“To know he was here for such a long time, I know this is going to be a good place for me moving forward.”
Brock admits there’s a lot of work to do for the Scorpions heading into the BB&T Jamboree on Aug. 14. North Brunswick was invited to the event for the first time and looks to turn a few heads with several newcomers on the team looking to make an impact for the 2A program.
“I played in the jamboree as a player at South Brunswick and remember those times getting a chance to play at Legion Stadium under the lights,” Brock added. “It’ll be a good experience for the team to see how they react in the spotlight.”
Brock takes over for Bishop, who retired at the end of last season. He spent the last four years as head coach at Western Harnett High School. The stop at Western Harnett was his first head coaching job after serving as offensive coordinator at Myers Park in Charlotte and as an assistant at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville.
He also played football and served as a thrower on the track team at Appalachian State University.
On the field, North Brunswick is loaded with players at the skill positions and while Brock believes he has the pieces up front on the offensive and defensive lines, the preseaon outlook on how the team is shaping up will pan out over the next few weeks of practice.
“Everyone looks good with their helmets on,” said Brock. “We’ll find out here over the next two weeks who is ready to make an impact. It’s a lot different and you learn quickly who can make it at this level once we get into contact drills and workouts.
“I’ve been coaching high school football for more than 15 years and my goal is of course to win games. More importantly, I want to set a path for these kids to make them well-rounded young men. That’s our focus, to make them responsible men.”
North Brunswick will run the wing-t offense, with options to spread the field when needed and a 4-4 defense.
They will practice regularly at 5:30 p.m. in Leland leading up the jamboree and 2015-16 academic year with the first day of school in Brunswick County set for Monday, Aug. 24.
North Brunswick plays its first regular season game at Whiteville on Friday, Aug. 21. The Scorpions also travel to Myrtle Beach in week two for a date with Marlboro County (South Carolina) at the annual Carolinas Kickoff Clash.
North Brunswick 2015 schedule
Friday, Aug. 21 @ Whiteville
Saturday, Aug. 29 vs. Marlboro County (@Myrtle Beach)
Friday, Sept. 11 @ South Brunswick
Friday, Sept. 18 vs. West Brunswick
Friday, Oct. 2 @ Ashley
Friday, Oct. 9 @ Croatan*
Friday, Oct. 16 vs. Southwest Onslow*
Friday, Oct. 23 @ Dixon*
Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Northside*
Friday, Nov. 6 vs. East Duplin*
*denotes conference game