Pre-season, and expectations are bearing down on football players: adjust to coaches, learn new strategies, meet expectations, comply with core standards and philosophies they had better pick up quickly if they want to win games. Players get watched, judged, written and talked about, moved around to new positions, all while pushing themselves in the weight room, on the practice field, trying to eat more, get bigger, be stronger, be leaders, and prove themselves. Compete against your own teammate at the same time you’d defend him against any outsider. Give up your summer to punishing workouts. And do these things before anything else and with more energy and emotion…especially when you have a new coach.
Jim Delaney didn’t expect to return to High Point after budget cuts forced his departure in 2011– but he’s back. His core philosophy? He wants his team to play to the whistle, on and off the field, and the guys are on it: the Wildcats are disciplined in the weight room, in the classroom, and in the game. And this team already has strong fundamentals: last season, the running backs showed good instincts, they made their blocks, the QB was versatile, and they had good coverage on defense. When this year’s seniors step up, they’ll unleash those skills and that discipline against teams that had better not underestimate them. I’m hanging a copy of last year’s record on my wall and plan to check off names each week as all that hard work turns “L’s” into “W’s.”
Ryan Sunda OT/DE started both ways last year, and was named 2nd Team All-West Jersey Defense by the Star Ledger, 1st Team All-NJAC Defensive End, and junior-year team captain.
Other Key Contributors
RB/DB Mike Derin
C/DE Dan Soltis
WR/CB Conner Squier, returning starter
Possibile QBs include Mike Yaroz (junior) and Kyle Dyer (senior).
Chink in the Armor
Out of twenty-two starters, nineteen have moved on. And, this coach needs to get to know his players and these players need to get comfortable with their new staff—quickly! The season won’t wait.
A Look Back
High Point played tough against Morris Hills (final score 13-12, Mo. Hills). This was a great match-up, even though the Wildcats didn’t come out on top. QB Brandon Carr led a strong offense, handing off to Austin Flores and Matt Musilli, and throwing to Tommy Hooker. On defense, High Point had a fumble recovery, an interception, and two turnovers on downs. Despite their hard work, they gave up a couple big plays that included two long screens. High Point executed on both sides of the ball, both running and passing was effective, and defense had some huge stops. This might be the game to watch (schedule TBA).
Jim Delaney’s last season with the Wildcats, 2010, High Point went 8-3, beating Sparta, Jefferson, and Chris Hulls’ Morristown team. Delaney brings with him Brad Wilbur and Brian Bird, coaches that started with him at High Point, followed him to Montville and Walkill Valley, and now return with him to coach the Wildcats. According to Delaney, these coaches know the plays, are good communicators, and motivators. They plan to run a Georgia Tech-style option offense and a 4/3 defense.