Red Devils host Panthers, Warriors in 7-on-7 drills

The Newton-Conover football team hosted 7-on-7 drills on Thursday with Hibriten and West Iredell high schools.

Second-year Red Devils coach Brint Russell said he is trying to focus on one goal during his team’s preseason.

“Right now, all we’re trying to do is perfect things we’ve being going through all summer,” he said. “It’s all about getting ready. It’s about getting better. No one is going to win or lose a 7-on-7, but what we are going to do is get better on the things we’ve been working on all summer.”

Newton-Conover has already taken part in several 7-on-7s, including at Owen and Polk County. The Red Devils also hosted Patton.

“We’ve increased the 7-on-7s just to help us a little bit in terms of pass defense and our passing game, which we are hoping to utilize a little bit more this year,” Russell said. “We’re not really changing the offense. We’re still going to do the exact some offense. We are changing a little bit defensively, but cover-wise it will still be the same. For us, it’s just about getting a lot better at what we have been doing.”

Several other area prep football teams have also hosted the 7-on-7 drills this week, including Maiden, Bandys and Bunker Hill high schools.

Maiden was in action Wednesday at Watauga High School and hosted Nation Ford on Thursday.

The Bears were at a 7-on-7 on Monday with Hickory, Shelby, West Lincoln and South Caldwell high schools.

Trojans first-year head coach Trent Lowman took his team to a 7-on-7 three weeks ago at South Iredell and also participated Tuesday at another 7-on-7 at Lenoir-Rhyne.

Fred T. Foard will be participating in a 7-on-7 at Cherryville on July 30, while St. Stephens has not scheduled any 7-on-7 drills as of Thursday.

Hickory names 8 to its staff

The Red Tornadoes football program has made hires for its coaching staff for this fall season.

Joining first-year coach Mike Helms will be seven paid assistants and one volunteer assistant coach.

None of the assistant coaches are returning to Hickory from Tom Harper’s staff. Harper left Hickory to take the coaching vacancy at rival Fred T. Foard.

Two of the paid assistants spent last season with Helms at Freedom, including Forrest Blake, who coached Freedom’s defense and its defensive backs last prep football season.

Randy Fox also joins Hickory’s coaching staff after assisting Blake as Freedom’s defensive back coach.

Only two of Helms’ assistants are on the staff at Hickory High School including Social Studies teacher Billy Whisenant and In-School Suspension Coordinator Richard Parker.

Whisenant is a former two-year assistant at Freedom under Helms and coached at Lancaster High School (S.C.) last year. Parker will serve as junior varsity defensive line coach.

Other members of the Hickory High football coaching staff include former St. Stephens and UNC running back Michael Watkins, Foard grad Jeff Kiziah and former Winston-Salem State football player Jonathan Setzer.

Former Bandys football player Alec Perkins is the only volunteer assistant coach on Hickory’s staff.