Davie licking chops for ‘Hitmas’

Published 9:48 am Thursday, July 30, 2015

The first official day of football practice is Aug. 1, but the day everyone will be especially jacked up for is Aug. 7. That’s Hitmas Day, the first practice with full contact. The War Eagles will hit the game field at 6 p.m.

“We’re going to do our Hitmas ceremonies on the practice field at the Hitmas tree,” third-year head coach Devore Holman said.  “Then we’re going to (War Eagle Stadium) and we’re going to do the Oklahoma drill and all those things. We’ll have a couple individual periods to get warmed up. We’ll have group time and then we’ll have an intrasquad scrimmage.”

Holman is inviting the community to come out and watch from the stands. It’s always the most spirited practice.

“I think the cheerleaders are going to be involved, and we may have the concession open,” he said. “Our kids are licking their chops for that day.”

Davie will scrimmage at East Rowan on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. It will scrimmage Lake Norman at Mooresville High on Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. Davie and Lake Norman will square off for half a game.

The War Eagles’ nonconference schedule will have two new opponents this year. Gone are Lexington and Thomasville, which were cannon fodder for Davie from 2011-14. Davie went 8-0 against them over that time.

The new foes will be considerably tougher: Dudley and Hopewell. Holman has traded a pair of 2-A opponents for a pair of 4-As.

The 2015 schedule:

Aug. 21 at home vs. Page; Aug. 28 at West Rowan; Sept. 4 at North Rowan; Sept. 11 at Dudley; Sept. 18 at home vs. Hopewell; Sept. 25 at home vs. Reynolds in the conference opener; Oct. 2 at Reagan; Oct. 9 at home vs. West Forsyth; Oct. 16 at North Davidson; Oct. 30 at home vs. Mt. Tabor; and Nov. 6 at Parkland. Davie has a bye on Oct. 23.

The coaching staff is in flux as three assistants left Holman’s staff during the offseason.

Wade Lovejoy and Mike Rominger left the game, with Rominger set to retire from teaching early in the 2015-16 school year. Alex Tesh left to become an assistant at rival North Davidson. Holman has added two coaches (Barry Whitlock and Corey Gordy), but the puzzle remains a work in progress.

“I’m looking to hire two guys right now,” he said. “We’re still in the hiring process. It’s getting late into the game and we’re still looking to bring some people aboard. I’m looking to hire a running backs coach and a defensive line coach. We’re trying to structure it the best we can for the time being, and hopefully we’ll be able to get two people in here. You have to be careful about hiring just anybody. We want to hire the right people.”

Barry Whitlock – who was an assistant under then-coach Doug Illing from 2002-08, including the last six years as offensive coordinator – will be back on the sidelines after a six-year hiatus. Offense is his thing, and “Whitlock is helping us where needed on offense,” Holman said.

Gordy will coach JV offensive linemen. He was a starter on the OL during Davie’s last winning season in 2012.

Holman has 12 assistants at the moment. The rest of the staff:

Tim Devericks (assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, safeties), Todd Bumgarner (offensive coordinator, quarterbacks), Blaine Nicholson (JV head coach, spurs), Chris Callison (receivers), Ron Bivins (JV receivers), Jimmie Welch (offensive line), Terrell Wilson (JV offensive line), Randy Athey (defensive line), David Hunt (linebackers) and David Wooldridge (kickers, punters).

Nicholson is taking over as JV coach. Welch held that role in 2014.

During Holman’s 20-plus years as assistant coach under Mike Carter, Randall Ward, Benjie Brown and Illing, he always worked on the defensive side of the ball. He did not coach a position during his first two years as head coach, but that has changed. This year he will coach cornerbacks.

“I’m excited about rolling the sleeves up and being involved (with a position),” he said. “I’m glad to be back in the nuts and bolts of things. I think it also helps my relationships with the kids. I’m excited to help coach Devericks and the defensive staff. The kids know sometimes I get a little intense, and I hope some of that rubs off on those corners.”