Mustangs Confront Challenges
Coach Greg Simmons knew going into the season that the North Moore football team would be facing a lot of challenges.
From an early-season bear of a schedule to the fact that his Mustang charges are young and inexperienced, second-year coach Simmons has watched the team start 0-4 on its way to tonight’s Yadkin Valley Conference game at South Davidson.
“We knew it would be a challenge to start the season,” Simmons said. “It’s hard for kids who are not use to winning games, but they understand they are not losing to bad football teams.”
North Moore, a 1-A school, started the year with a game against Union Academy, who is undefeated, then followed that up with a contest against cross-county rival Union Pines, a 3-A school that is currently 2-3.
After a bye week, the Mustangs faced Red Springs, a 1-A team that has only lost to a 4-A school, and then last week North Moore traveled to West Montgomery to start its conference slate against what some savvy fans think might be one of the best 1-A teams in the state.
“Our schedule does not permit us to have a bad game,” Simmons said. “We have to play our best to win.”
And he feels that his team is up to that challenge, especially behind the leadership of some “unsung heroes.”
Quick to point out that by mentioning names there is always the chance he might forget to acknowledge someone, he does say he is pretty happy with his offensive linemen, who look to senior Dustin Lyerly for leadership.
“He is a two-year starter who goes both ways,” Simmons said. “He plays guard and some defensive end and middle linebacker. He’s a little undersized, but he never complains. He just goes out there and plays.”
Billy Person, a senior slotback and cornerback, has recorded a couple of touchdowns for the Mustangs in the last several games.
“He is our speed guy and we try to get him on the edge,” Simmons said. “He does a great job of blocking. He plays every down for us.”
Darius Green, a hard-nosed running back, is the workhorse for the offense, which causes opposing teams to focus on stopping him. Simmons said they are working on getting him the ball in different spots.
That also leads to alternating quarterbacks Luke Auman and Xavier Richardson seeing eight or nine defensive players crowding the line.
“That has allowed us to throw the ball a little bit,” Simmons said. “Both are doing a pretty good job.”
Junior outside linebacker Kyle Kidd is the “key to the defense,” the coach said. “Teams are starting to run away from him, and that is always a good thing.”
Another good thing for the inexperienced Mustangs is that they will be facing a South Davidson team that is similar to a team that North Moore has already played. It will be homecoming for South Davidson (1-3), a team that beat the Mustangs by a touchdown last year. Simmons said it’s a big game for both teams.
“They are a lot like Union Pines in what they try to do,” Simmons said. “They’ve got some big boys up front and some big backs. They like to pound it at you. They are a physical team. That is something we’ve challenged our defensive line with this week. We have to match their physicality.”
Having suffered through a 1-10 season last year and the rough start to this season, Simmons and his coaching staff know they have a challenge also.
“It’s a fine line we walk. We have kids that have a lot of interest outside of football,” Simmons said. “They put in the effort and at some point they have to have success.
“The challenge we have is to keep the enthusiasm up and keep the kids having fun. We have to make sure the kids believe in themselves and believe in their teammates.”
More like this story