Weaverville – David Hines brings detailed instruction and entertaining wit to North Buncombe football as the new head coach.
Burly Hines is fine-tuning the Black Hawks’ “smash-mouth” Wing T rushing attack. “We will play to our strengths” — whether that is running inside or out, he said. Hines, also a NBHS weightlifting instructor, is boosting conditioning so “we stay in games longer.” The Hawks are also getting “mentally ready — for anything. We’re building their toughness, their mental acumen.”
Hines has a piercing voice that varies in pitch. Players sing his praise as a trainer and motivator. “He makes it exciting” with energy and humor, quarterback-LB Alex Rash said. “He gets us amped up.” Hines spices up practices with humor. “He’s funny,” senior lineman-linebacker Elijah Keith said. He said Hines is also “very involved” with each player. Keith vows “we’ll be very physical” — to fit the program’s scrappy tradition.
Hines, 43, was hired in February. He played fullback and tight end as a North Davidson Black Knight. His coaches “pushed” him to realize his potential, and now he does the same. He was a head coach for three schools, starting in 2007 and lastly in a winning season at East Davidson in 2017. That was sandwiched between coordinator stints for Southeastern Guilford’s defense in 2013-16, and the Southern Alamance offensive in 2018-21. Hines is the program’s third head coach in three years. After Brandon Allen left less than a month before a winless fall ‘21 season plagued by player COVID absences.
Effort is paramount, Hines said. “We’re tracking and posting LOE [‘lack of effort’] in holding them accountable.” He added, “What you allow is what you promote. If you allow them to walk and not run, to not rally to the ball or not finish a block, then you’re actually promoting that.”
Yet, “we also honor the practice player of the week on offense, defense, and special teams. We want to both reward and challenge people to do things the right way. If you do that, wins come down the line.”
Coach Hines “expects a lot from us,” senior QB-DB Gabe Banks said. The lessons are building to a “tipping point.” Banks senses more confidence among the Hawks. “We want to return North Buncombe football to where it was” in recent winning seasons. He said students and the community can feed off of Lady Hawk softball success to get behind football and other sports. Banks is a basketball post player.
The quarterback now takes snaps from center, as well as “shotgun” snaps as before. “You’ll see a mix, like at Clemson,” Hines said. “Our guys are picking it up well.” Banks likes getting to memorize far fewer plays, instead being able to reference a wrist sheet list after hearing the play code from coaches.
Hines is putting all starting slots up for competition. The Hawks have two QB candidates. Banks was the main starter last fall. He throws stronger now. He is 6-2. Husky junior Rash filled in when Banks was injured in ’21. Hines said “mental toughness” and leadership are crucial factors in who starts.
“Gabe’s a fighter. I hope everybody takes on Gabe’s persona of full toughness and effort,” Hines said. “He asks a lot of questions to learn. He’s vocal. He leads.”
Intense Hines said Rash, also a baseball pitcher, has a “big arm, with natural arm strength that’s free-flowing.” Rash and Banks are both “athletic and strong.” Rash said he enjoys getting to “scramble,” and throw downfield.
Rotating as the one receiver, 6-2 Spencer Roane and former Asheville Cougar Xavier Banks-Tenant, with TEs Jackson Eubanks and Greyson Johnson sometimes lining up all at once.
Grinding Out Yards
In playing high-scoring MAC foes, Hines said “we’ll try to control some clock.” The Hawks often deploy three running backs at once in their Wing T. Hines said each has a “different dynamic.” Power back Riley Ledford is 6-1, 212 pounds with quickness. Cameron Higgins is a “downhill power guy — tough as nails,” Hines said. Higgins said he trusts “my up-front guys” to open holes. Hayden Burnette also makes a “big presence” with his effort, Hines said.
Hines is drilling Wing T blocking technique and timing in more detail than his NBHS predecessors, biggest Hawk Ryne Norton (6-2, 325 sr.) said. New for NBHS is covering “wedge” blocking, to rush up the gut. O-line frontrunners are LT Norton, LG Keith, 260-pound RT Ben Dupree, RG Kenyan Peek and center Thomas Kirkpatrick with 290-pounder Tristan Cook in the mix.
The multiple defense’s new 4-2-5 base is like a 4-4. Bradshaw Snelson is a hybrid OLB-strong safety “strong as an ox, built like a brick wall,” Hines said. “He’s a weight room monster. He’s a natural leader” vocally. On defense, “we want to be fast, physical, tough and aggressive. That has be our mindset 24/7, 365.”
Hawks said they are eager to get back to arch-rival Madison. They play in week two—at Mars Hill, with Madison’s stadium condemned safety-wise. QB Banks hopes many fans turn out in that college stadium.
Coach Hines looks to “win most of our non-conference games, to give us some momentum heading into our conference schedule.” He said, “I’ll go to ‘war’ with who I have.”