Candler – Mike Sexton took over Enka’s football program and promptly instilled a winning mentality.
Sexton won two out of every three Erwin games. His mark was 74-38 in nine seasons through 2016, before retiring.
“We’re not looking merely for moral victories,” Sexton said. He wants the Jets to taste actual victory. Enka has struggled for a while in football. Head coach Jeff Frady stepped down this spring. But Sexton said he is not lowering his expectations “based on past records. You expect the same amount of dedication and effort. We want to put them into the best possible situation to win — and nothing to cause us to lose. You have to know what we can do and can’t do” schematically.
“He pushes us. He wants us to win,” receiver Xander Godfrey said. Receiver Matt Rogers senses the “winning mentality” growing.
Victory could come twice as much early on for a program that was winless in the WMAC but defeated Rosman 34-26 in the spring season. The Jets take off with two very winnable road games — at Hayesville and Rosman — sandwiched around the home opener against lofty nearby rival Pisgah. A curious WMAC contest is versus the new team, McDowell, which was 3-3 last season.
Enka starts its WMAC season Sept. 17 at home versus Erwin, Sexton’s former team. Sexton is instilling Erwin’s quick precision-passing spread for Enka. The Jets were pass-crazed over a dozen years ago but more run-based lately. Rogers and quarterback Cam Wait, among others, like the faster pace and greater energy of the no-huddle offense.
“Everything is different” in schemes on defense, too, Coach Sexton said. “I’m absolutely pleased beyond measure to how well they’re adapting. They’re learning.”
Sexton likes Jet attitudes. “They are willing to do anything we ask. Not one player gripes or balks. They’re hungry. They’re tough. They get after one another in contact drills. They trust us (coaches). Their dedication and work ethic is tremendous. They’re a joy to coach.”
Slender QB Cam Wait (5-8, 135 so.) is “very cerebral,” Coach Sexton said. “He’s a quick learner. His passing accuracy is good, and getting better.” Arm strength will come in time. But the offense hinges on short passes and not long shots. Yet “we’ll take what the defense gives us.”
Four receivers usually line up at a time. Athletic and sure-handed Matt Rogers (6-0, 160 jr.) starts again. He is in the slot. WRs are Chase Boswell (6-2, 180 sr.) and Morgan Scott (6-4, 205 sr.). “We’re excited about these two tall basketball players,” Sexton said. “They are difference makers on both sides of the ball.” Swift Xander Godfrey (6-0, 170 sr.) and Sam Waddell (5-8, 150 so.) are other targets. “I like our size and athleticism,” Sexton said.
Tailback duties are shared by C.J. Whitmire (5-8, 150 jr.) and Lathan Lunsford (5-9, 150 jr.). “They don’t have blazing speed. But they’re efficient” in finding holes, Sexton said. “They always fall forward to get you that extra yard.”
Jet blockers are center Cole Taylor (6-1, 210 sr.), guards Landon Edwards (6-0, 225 jr.) and Josh Davis (5-9, 240 so.), and tackles Elias Gaines (6-0, 200 so.) and Jackson Reems (6-3, 220 sr.). This unit is “tough,” Sexton said. “You have to be tough, playing in the WMAC.”
The 4-2-5 base defense has ILBs Colton Crooke (5-10, 165 jr.) and Carson Reeves (5-9, 175 sr.), OLBs Scott and Godfrey. The D-line rotates Christian Moses (6-0, 200 jr.), Julian McElreath (6-2, 180 sr.), Nicholas Conard (6-0, 200 jr.), Kolby Hardin (5-9, 220 jr.) with O-linemen. Receivers are the DBs.
Jet defenders “fly to the ball, and tackle well,” Coach Sexton said. He said he is not targeting a number of wins. Instead “our goal is to get better daily.”