Veteran coach John Barrett takes over at the helm of the Westminster Catawba football team, and is hoping that he can improve the fortunes of the program.
“We have a lot of challenges facing us this season,” said Barrett. “I have enjoyed everything thus far. I am impressed with the work ethic of the kids thus far. We just need to keep working hard.”
The Indians had five players from last year’s team move on to play at the next level, and they must be replaced. The Indians have only 19 players out for this year’s team, and depth will be an issue.
“I am learning how to handle practice with the few numbers we have,” said Barrett, who is in his 34th season of coaching. “The low numbers limit what we can do and how much contact we can make. That will be a problem all year.”
Westminster Catawba has a pair of players with experience battling for the starting quarterback position.
Junior Seth Roddey and senior Bennett Johnstone are competing at that position, and they will likely both see a lot of playing time.
“I plan on working both of them at running back when they are not at quarterback,” said Barrett. “They have both worked to learn the offense, which will help both of them when they line up at the running back spot.”
The Indians are running the double wing, an offense that Barrett has a lot of experience with.
Up front, the Indians have some returning experience to lead the way. Jason Shannon at center, Wesley Cope at guard, and Kemp Wilson at tackle give Westminster Catawba some leadership in the trenches.
On defense, the Indians will employ a 5-2 scheme, and Barrett feels like he has some experience and leadership returning on that side of ball.
Senior linebacker Chris Cogan is being counted on be the leader of the Indians’ defense this fall.
“Chris is an outstanding leader,” said Barrett. “The thing I really like about him is the work ethic he has shown this far.”
Johnstone will be the leader in the secondary. Barrett plans to use him at the free safety position.
Barrett has assembled a good coaching staff in the five weeks since being hired to take over the program. Doug Collins, Justin Whitesides, and Evan Andert are all assisting the Indians.
Despite the fact that Barrett was not hired until the final week in June, he feels like he has gotten a lot done.
“We have done well in the weight room in a short time,” added Barrett. “Our players are enthusiastic about everything they have done thus far.”
Barrett knows that his team will have to work harder because they will be asked to play both ways on Friday night.
The Indians open with Southlake Christian from Huntersville, N.C., a tall order for the young Indians as that team was the state runner-up a year ago.