Due to the coronavirus pandemic drastically altering the 2020-21 high school football season, players and coaches are now in the shortest offseason in history.
Teams in the region have been busy, many featured in 7v7 games over the summer, and one of the most successful teams comes as no surprise to football fans. of the preparation of the region: Hendersonville.
The Bearcats have reached the 2-A State semi-finals this year, falling in overtime to Mountain Heritage. They have lost a large number of players at graduation this year, but the team is already showing their readiness to compete with the best teams in the state.
Coach Jim Sosebee shared photos of his players having fun and swimming in his dad’s pool on Facebook on Friday. It was a well-deserved break for his team, the coach said.
“We just went 7-0 at Wayne Green 7 to 7 at Berea (SC),” Sosebee said on Monday. “We pitch against someone every Tuesday and Thursday. We usually have at least four home teams at 7v7.”
The team faced stiff competition earlier this summer in a 7v7 game at Chapel Hill.
“We lost to Providence Day in the semifinals at UNC,” said the coach.
With the loss of several key players upon graduation, many new faces are getting plenty of playing time during the offseason.
“It was a very good experience for them,” said Sosebee. “We used the 7v7 as an extra season for these young guys… I’m happy to see what they can do,” he said.
And the squad has several seasoned returning players, including senior quarterback Gavin Gosnell, who is drawing the attention of several colleges, including some Division-I schools. Gosnell finished last year with 1,916 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 431 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and won all-conference honors.
Gosnell suffered a hyper-stretched knee in the first round of the state playoffs this year and had been wearing a brace for several weeks. The splint is now removed, he said, and he feels normal again.
“What’s great this summer is the opportunity to play a big competition in North Carolina and South Carolina,” Gosnell said on Monday. “It allowed us to create a team bond on and off the pitch. While I miss all the players who graduated last year and wish them all the best, the 2021 version of our team gets together quickly with new players and returning players. We have had a lot of success in competition which is a testament to our coaches. “
The Bearcats will end next week with mini-camp type training, Sosebee said. The team will then hold their first official training session on Monday August 2.
Sosebee said his players on last year’s squad are hungry for regular season and playoff success.
“The kids bounced back better than I did after the loss in the semi-finals,” he said. “They’ve worked really hard… they know it will be even more difficult to regain a chance to play to go to the state championship.”
And everyone is excited to resume a start in August, Sosebee said.
“If you learned anything from last year it must have been to take nothing for granted. I’m more than excited to go,” he said.
The Hendersonville season opener is scheduled for August 20 at North Henderson. The other season openers in the region that night will be East Henderson in Rosman, West Henderson in East Rutherford, Newton-Conover in Polk County and Pisgah in Brevard.