It’s going to be an uphill battle for Overhills football.
The Jaguars went 4-6 last season, starting out fast and furious with three-straight wins before fizzling out and losing six of the last seven.
Head coach Mark Kirk retired, and starting quarterback Zion Gillam and starting running back Ulysses Dashawn Lewis graduated.
Kirk decided to move back home to Bedford, Pennsylvania after a successful 41-year football coaching career that took him from Pennsylvania to Indiana, Oregon and North Carolina.
Gillam threw for 738 total yards while rushing for 448 total yards. He contributed on 10 of Overhills’ touchdowns. He’ll be playing at Emory and Henry this season.
Lewis added to the Jaguars offense with 689 total yards averaging 4.5 rushing yards per carry while scoring eight touchdowns.
Those are just a few challenges that the new head coach Chris McGee must overcome. But he’s got the pedigree to take it on.
McGee served as an assistant coach for the Jaguars last season and comes from some strong North Carolina football bloodlines. McGee’s father, the late Jerry McGee, is a former high school football coach, college assistant coach, athletic director and administrator, and served on the North Carolina High School Athletic Association board of directors for many years. Chris McGee said his father is the reason he became a coach.
Family is something that matters to McGee, and he wants to bring that into the Jaguars’ locker room.
“It is important for all the kids to see us as fathers first, and then coaches.”
Under McGee, Overhills will run a spread offense. Their number one goal is to put their best athletes in space and make the defense try and contain them the whole width and length of the field.
The facilitator of this high-octane, fast-paced offense will be junior quarterback Chris Perkins. Like McGee, Perkins’ father is also a football coach, working on staff with Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic University. McGee said Perkins will be a really good player for the Jaguars, describing him as smart, athletic and possessing a really live arm.
Perkins has found a go-to man in senior Jailen Hobbs. As a junior, Hobbs had a total of eight catches, one of those being a touchdown. But, if the jamborees are an indication of what the season will look like, those numbers will be on the rise this year. Both Perkins and Hobbs have been named captains for this year’s team.
McGee said that they have several athletic playmakers that can cause havoc on a defense. One new face in that group is that of transfer Khalil Jacobs. Jacobs is a sophomore transferring to Overhills from Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville. He is a big target, standing at 6-foot-2 and 182 pounds, and he’s got a lot of speed.
Overhills’ defense will be led by the defensive line. They have a few returning players with a lot of game experience that continued to work hard this offseason looking to get better. Captaining them is junior defensive lineman Giovanni Inglese. Inglese looks to build off a sophomore season in which he averaged 2.4 tackles per game and snagged an interception.
Last season, Overhills gave up 30.1 points per game. Defensive coordinator Prentice Bryant knows that number has to go down in order for them to reach the levels of success they are hoping for this season.