Anker Joins Viking Football Coaching Staff
Carl Anker is back roaming the sidelines for a Moore County football team, and new Union Pines head coach Jason Furrie couldn't be happier.
Furrie, who took over the Viking reins from Elwood Baker after his retirement last year, believes that Anker is a key addition to his coaching staff.
Anker was the offensive coordinator for Pinecrest High School for many years before serving several years as the Patriots' head coach.
After leaving Pinecrest in the early 2000s, Anker moved over to Eastern Randolph, where as an assistant coach he helped engineer a Wildcats' squad that claimed a state 3-A championship two years ago.
Furrie, who was the Viking defensive coordinator under Baker, thinks having Anker aboard the Viking ship is a godsend.
"He is going to be our quarterback coach and offensive guru," Furrie said.
And Anker's arrival couldn't come at a better time for Furrie, the Vikings and the fans of the Viking football program.
Furrie knew when he took the job, one of the biggest hurdles he had to climb was replacing departed quarterback Travis Monroe.
Monroe was a special player behind center for the 2007 Union Pines' team that was one of the most successful in school history, going 7-4 in the regular season before losing in the first round of the state 3-A playoffs.
In his last year as a Vike, Monroe threw for 760 yards and rushed for 869 yards with eight touchdown passes, while adding seven more scores on the ground.
He earned all-conference honors for his senior season performance.
Furrie says senior Will Maness is first on the quarterback depth chart heading into the 2008 campaign.
Since his freshman season, Maness has shown steady improvement, although seeing just limited time in real game situations.
"Will has some big shoes to fill," Furrie said, " ... but he has shown much improvement this spring during the offseason."
Although Maness took only a handful of snaps last season as Monroe's back-up, when on the field he proved to be a capable signal caller with a strong arm. On the year he was two-for-seven passing with 54 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass and one interception.
"Will has now developed into a strong player with a high football IQ," said Furrie. "He has some good athleticism and an accurate arm. I am glad to have him as my starting QB."
Another area where the Vikings lost a great deal was in the secondary where two strong senior corners graduated. Furrie was concerned about filling those spots early on, but as the spring season progresses his worries have subsided.
"These guys stepping into those spots look every bit as good as I could hope for them to look right now," he said. "(They) show really strong improvement in skills development sessions."
Junior safety and ball hawk Justin Marshall, who had four interceptions, one fumble recovery and countless pass deflections last season, will be the leader of the Vikes' young secondary unit.
Furrie feels his front eight on defense will be as good if not better than any team in the Cape Fear Valley Conference.
Anchored by junior Jon Toomer, the conference's defensive player of the year, at one defensive end and 6-foot-5 big Josh Howard at the other end spot, Furrie feels his defensive line has the ability to dictate pace and control the options of opposing offenses.
In 2007 Toomer had 14 sacks, but an even more amazing stat was his four defensive scores from his end position. Howard corralled opposing quarterbacks four times last season.
"Our defensive line has real good size across the board with an ample amount of speed," Furrie said. "We should be able to force offenses to throw the ball, which is just what we want."
The Vikings and Furrie have a busy summer of football lined up. Union Pines' Go Deep 7-on-7 passing league starts today at Union Pines, with Lee County coming to town from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The league runs through the summer with competition every Wednesday from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
This Saturday, the Vikings will travel to Pinecrest High School for a 7-on-7 tournament. On July 18, the Vikes will travel to take part in the Catawba 7-on-7 tournament. Every Monday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. the team will have practice and lift weights.
The first official practice of the 2008 season starts at 6 p.m. on Aug. 1. From Aug. 10 until Aug. 17 the Vikings will be going to Camp Kanuga in Hendersonville.
"For our team the primary focus of the camp will be football and team building," said Furrie. "We have three scrimmages scheduled with area schools while we are there. Camp Kanuga has many convenient recreational facilities, and we have many activities planned to fill downtime."
The real deal for the 2008 version of the Vikings starts Friday, Aug. 22, when Union Pines travels for a non-conference tilt at Chatham Central High School.
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