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New coach tackles challenge at North Buncombe

11:27 PM, Jul. 30, 2012 EDT

First-year coach Curtis Cagle runs drills with the North Buncombe High football team. / Alyssa Murkin/amurkin@citizen-times.com


North Buncombe High hopes to cause a commotion, not to mention some confusion, with its new offense.

First though, the Black Hawks have to figure it out themselves.

First-year coach Curtis Cagle and his staff are still installing elements and teaching the finer points of an attack patterned after the option-oriented set at Wofford College.

Cagle spent the past 15 seasons as an assistant at Pisgah and is upbeat about his first job as a head football coach.

"Things are going well," Cagle said.

"We've had good attendance at workouts this summer, and the kids are working hard. They're really looking forward to this season, and I am, too."

Cagle is the third North Buncombe coach in three years, and the program struggled with extremely low numbers in 2010 and 2011.

The Black Hawks have not enjoyed a winning season since 2008 and have gone a combined 5-28 since then.

Brandon Allen coached North Buncombe to a 1-10 record last season before leaving for Tuscola in April.

Players say there is a different feel to everything since Cagle stepped on campus in May.

"The energy has really picked up," linebacker/lineman Shane Hawkins said.

"Coach Cagle really is a complete leader. He's the best coach I've seen here. A bunch of people who maybe haven't come out for the team in the past are interested now, and that's exciting everyone."

Cagle is unsure how much experience he has on his hands in terms of returning starters but expects to field a relatively small senior class of 10 or 11 players.

One of those 12th-graders is linebacker/receiver Jared Novak.

"You can help but be excited," Novak said.

"It's a new season, a new staff and a new offense. We really believe we can be as good as we want to be."

Cagle said that Jonathan Bremner and Trent Bullman are the two leading candidates to direct things at quarterback.

Hawkins began last season as the Black Hawks' fullback, but Cagle said he is still trying to center in on a primary rusher.

North Buncombe will play a 3-5 defense.

Cagle's first game as a head coach will be a heated one -- North Buncombe kicks things off Aug. 17 with a home game against archrival Madison.

Win or lose, Cagle already has the respect of fellow coaches in the MAC.

"I thought that (Allen) did a good job, and that means that (Cagle) is inheriting a good foundation," Enka coach Manny Matsakis said.

"And he comes from a program like Pisgah where they know how to win. I think it was a great move for North Buncombe to hire him."




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