Coach: Enos, Burns competing for QB job

The Parkwood High football team posted its best season since 2008 last year by going 7-5 overall and 4-3 in the Southern Carolina Conference, but new head coach Terrence Gittens could have his hands full this season as he transitions the Wolf Pack into a new era.

Parkwood graduated 27 seniors from the 2019 team over the offseason, including starting quarterback Brock Cain and a lengthy list of other notable contributors on both sides of the ball. The Rebels also all-county player Makiya Evans, who transferred to Weddington for his senior season.

Gittens, who comes to Parkwood after previously serving as defensive coordinator/associate head coach for Cox Mill, is focused on building a solid foundation the program can build on for years to come.

Parkwood will open the regular season on Friday, Feb. 26, with a home game against cross-town rival Cuthbertson.

Gittens spoke with The Enquirer-Journal on Friday about his defensive philosophy, the starting quarterback battle and much more.

Question: How do you feel like your team has progressed over this past month and where do you feel like your team is at heading into next week?

Answer: It’s been a very long journey. With the program losing 27 seniors, that’s a tremendous foundation, but I believe over the course of the past couple months the players have really bought in to what we’re going to do as a staff. The energy is really good and they’re really excited. We have a lot of big shoes to fill from last year’s team, but I believe we have the components to be successful, and I’m excited right now. Everything has been going really, really well.

Question: What kind of defensive philosophy are you bringing over from Cox Mill? What do you want your team’s defensive identity to be?

Answer: I want to be physical, of course. We want to play fast. I like to keep it simple. Even when I was at Cox Mill, I kept a lot of things simple so we could play fast. At the high school level, when you try to do too much, that’s when you have a lot of mistakes and a lot of uncertainty. Just from my history of coaching football for the amount of time I have, keeping it simple has always been a really good motto. And we’re running a totally different defense. We’re a hybrid, 4-2-5 team but we’re going to run multiple things. So far, the way we’re doing it and the way the coaches are installing things, the kids are really generating a good, positive attitude toward it and they feel good about it. Keeping it simple makes it easier for us to coach and keeps them playing really fast.

Question: On offense, you lose your starting quarterback, your starting running back and your top three receivers from last season. Do you have a starter in mind at quarterback? And what skill players are you looking forward to seeing?

Answer: Right now, we have a really good quarterback battle going on. We had a transfer come in, Cam Enos from Metrolina. He has really good recognition and played for the Carolina Stars 7-on-7 football team. Him and senior Austin Burns have really been competing. We haven’t made a final decision on that as of yet. We have a scrimmage on Saturday, so we’ll see how they both do ... We have a young, young team. We only have 17 seniors. From that perspective, we have Isaiah Mobley, Sam Mobley’s younger brother, who’s a sophomore. We have Cody Hardy, Austin Burns, Trenn Yetter, Zach Bevelhymer. We have some really good components, and there’s a possibility we might have one or two freshman that might play on Friday too who have really excelled in our system. It’s been hard to fill 27 seniors’ shoes, but so far, so good. It’s been a great experience.

Question: You’re coming into a conference with two defending state champions. How much will wins and losses determine the success of this upcoming season? Is more about building toward the future?

Answer: I think with it being a shortened season, we want to see growth. We want to see kids understanding a lot of what we’ve taught them over the past couple months. Here’s my philosophy: Let’s win the games we can win, let’s be competitive in the games that people have said we’re probably going to lose and let’s figure out a way to pull out one or two of those to make people go, “Wow!” And to be transparent, this season is going to have an asterisk next to it. Whether we win or lose a game, I just want our kids to be competitive. I call this the SEC of high school football. We have two state championship teams in our conference in Weddington and Charlotte Catholic, but you still have Marvin Ridge, Monroe and Piedmont. All of these teams are competitive. I’m not taking anything for granted. I just know from a coach’s perspective and from a staff perspective, we’re going to watch film, break it down and put our kids in the best possible position to be successful, and then after that, let the chips fall where they may. Like I tell my team, “Monday through Thursday, we prepare you. Friday night, the game is in your hands.”