Strickland shooting for positive NHS football season

By Elyssa Parnell

August 27, 2014

NEWBERRY — With a record of 8-4 last season, Newberry High School’s football coach Phil Strickland looks to continue the team’s success heading into their first game of the season on Friday.

The Bulldogs face the Union County Yellow Jackets at home with a kickoff time of 7:30 p.m.

Strickland said the Bulldogs were defeated by Union last season 35-17. The game was played at Union County High School.

“They pulled away from us at halftime last year,” Strickland said.

Union leads the series, which has been played since 1930, 28-24. Newberry has won three straight season openers. The last time they won four straight was when they won a school record five straight from 2001-2005.

The last time Newberry opened a season at home against Union was 1972. The last time the Bulldogs defeated the Yellow Jackets to open a season was in 1970 when the score was 8-0. That was Jim Kimmell’s last year as head coach at Newberry.

Last week, Union County defeated Gaffney 29-28.

Strickland said Union’s win meant the Bulldogs need their A-game to compete against Union this week.

To prepare for this week’s game, Strickland said they have been watching a lot of film. They implemented their game plan during Monday’s practice, but might tweak it some this week before game time, he said.

“We hope to execute everything Friday evening,” Strickland said.

With six returning on both sides of the ball, Strickland said he was feeling positive about the season.

Strickland said this year’s defensive scheme will be a mixture of 4-2 and 3-3. For offense, Strickland said the Bulldogs will be running a Pro-I spread.

“We’re going to kind of mix it up,” he said.

Strickland said they have a long way to go on special teams with new kickers and punters this season.

“We’re still working on some stuff,” Strickland said. “We’re going to be OK. It will take a while to get better.”

Strickland said they will be building on their returning players and building the team as a whole.

“I’m looking forward to the seniors leading this team,” Strickland said.