New coach guides Rams through spring practice

The Havelock High football team hit the practice field for the first time since 2008 with a new head football coach.

Caleb King guided the Rams through the first of 10 spring practices on Monday, running the players through 40 offensive plays in less than nine minutes.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” King said about getting on the field for the first time with his new team. “It feels like the way the first day of August used to feel like a long time ago. We get out here and see where we’re at, the things we need to work on. We’re by no means close to where we need to be, but it’s fun to get out there to see where we’re at and how we’re going to look once we get out there and start to run around and start running some plays.”

King, a Havelock High graduate, was hired in January after former coach Jim Bob Bryant announced he would be leaving Havelock for the head coaching job at Freedom High School in Morganton. Bryant coached the Rams to three straight state championships in 2011-2013. King was an assistant coach on those teams before he left to be the head coach at East Carteret for two seasons. Now he is back as the head coach at his alma mater.

“There’s a tradition of excellence here that we are looking to maintain and build upon,” King said. “We want to embrace the past, but we’re looking toward the future right now, and each day is a chance for us to get better, to do our jobs just that much better.”

King said he has made some changes, but the philosophy will be the same as when Bryant coached the team last season.

“The main thing we’re going to do is keep getting the ball to the playmakers and being able to run to the ball on defense,” he said. “They’ll be a little bit of learning curve as far as what we’re trying to get accomplished, but they adapt really fast.”

The Rams went 13-2 a season ago, losing 34-33 to Rocky Mount in triple overtime of the 3A eastern regional championship game.

“I’m excited,” Solomon Beligotti, a running back and linebacker, said of the first day of spring practice. “I feel we’ve got a pretty good football team.”

He has already noticed that King wants the Rams to go much faster in everything they do.

“We’re really looking forward to this year,” he said.

Havelock will wrap up spring practice at the end of next week. The Rams will have summer workouts before opening fall practice on Aug. 1. Havelock is scheduled to open the 2017 season at home against West Craven on Aug. 18.