Prep Football: Bulldogs making progress under new coach
Being crammed inside the school gymnasium was not the ideal way to begin the first official day of football practice for new Thomasville coach Wes Mattera. Despite the pouring rain outside and tight quarters inside, the Bulldogs made the most of the situation with an energized session Friday morning.
“I thought they came in here and worked pretty good despite the fact we are inside,” said Mattera, who takes over for legendary coach Allen Brown after his retirement last season. “Luckily, we were able to get out Monday and Tuesday and do mini-camp, so we had two pretty good days.”
One of the first things Mattera did after being named head coach was to walk the halls and find as many bodies as he could. Numbers have been slightly down the last couple of years for THS and so far they still are a bit low for Mattera's liking.
“We are between 60 and 70 but we need to be 80 or 90,” he said. “Our numbers are nowhere near what we want them to be, especially when we are playing 4-A teams. We've got to get some more numbers. I would love to have 40 and 40 on JV and varsity.”
With any new coach, there is always a learning curve as the new staff introduces their style of play. Through workouts during the summer, Mattera has been pleased with the progress made. The first game of the season is a Aug. 22 home tilt with 4-A North Davidson. That gives the Bulldogs three more weeks to learn a new playbook and get acclimated to the new system.
“We've had a great summer,” Mattera said. “We did six or seven, 7-on-7 sessions and we've tried to practice at least one day a week. We have a lot installed offensively. Is it polished? No. But they've done a good job with the new terminology.
“Each team I firmly believe has a niche or identity. It is going to take us a scrimmage or two and the first couple of games to find our identity and mix some pieces around.”
Mattera took over at Thomasville in February, leaving a Holmes High School program that he helped to a 20-5 record over the last two seasons. The months that have followed have not been easy on him. He has spent many hours away from his family who were still living back in Edenton. Mattera basically lived in Thomasville throughout the spring, getting to know the players and starting a weight lifting program he hopes will show results on the field this season. Not getting to see his family was starting to take a toll. Now that they have made the move, he feels more energized and is ready to tackle the season that lies just weeks away.
“Now that I have my family moved it has been great. February to June was rough with the back and forth every weekend. I never really got an escape and got to go home to my family. Now that they are here I feel like I am complete. My head is now a lot clearer.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.