Prep Notebook, April 6: Whale Branch closing in on new football coach

info@islandpacket.comApril 6, 2012 

Whale Branch High School could name its second football coach late next week.

That's the plan, anyway. Athletics director Carlos Cave said a second round of interviews, with five candidates, will be conducted early next week and that a recommendation might be made Thursday or Friday.

Cave said the search committee wants the candidate to be a strong teacher and then looks at football criteria.

"If they don't bring a high level or rigor and relevance to the classroom, than that would eliminate them from consideration," Cave said. "Obviously to have a solid football foundation would be No. 2."

The Warriors began their search after Rob D'Amato resigned in February. Warriors offensive coordinator Hugh Hood will also not return, Cave said.

The timetable of the hire would allow the new coach to evaluate Whale Branch's remaining staff and prepare for spring practice in May.

The Warriors, competing in Class 1-A, have earned a playoff berth in each of their first two seasons, including a home playoff game in 2011.

Whale Branch won its first four games of 2011 and started 3-0 the first season. After struggling during the Region 5-A schedule during the inaugural season, the Warriors finished 2011 with a winning region record.

"I'm happy for the situation, because I think it's a positive situation with a great foundation and strong leadership from the administration," D'Amato said. "I'm sure whoever the guy is, he's going to be coming into a great situation and will do a great job."

Wells talks Corbin series

The visiting Redhounds from Corbin (Ky.) High have been anything but competition for the Hilton Head Island High baseball team this week. The Seahawks pounded their Kentucky counterparts by a combined score of 34-1 through the first three games of the series before claiming a 9-0 win in Thursday's finale.

But don't tell Seahawks coach Chris Wells that it has anything to do with the Redhounds.

"I've got a lot of respect for Corbin and the program and the team that they have over there," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to focus teenagers when they're on vacation at the beach. They might not be playing up to their par right now."

Corbin has run into a buzzsaw during its trip to Hilton Head. The Seahawks have squared up on balls in each game of their four-game set with the Redhounds, something that had been lacking of late in the Hilton Head High bats.

"They've got a good squad," Wells said. "The kid we saw (Tuesday) night is going to go play in college. We hit him hard. (Wednesday starter Chad Brown) was mixing it up pretty good. We finally barreled up a few."

Beaufort High soccer postponed

The Beaufort High School boys home soccer game with Stratford on Tuesday was postponed due to the possibility of poor weather. Since the game was a non-region contest, there is no urgency to squeeze it in, Eagles athletics director Jerry Linn said.

He said if the teams could agree on a free date sometime soon, the match would be rescheduled.

The Beaufort High girls game at Stratford was not affected. Stratford girls won 3-0.

Hilton Head Christian's Bybel wins title

Hilton Head Christian's top boys tennis player, Nick Bybel, won the SCISAA State Open Tennis Championship on Tuesday, March 27 in Sumter.

The senior, who is ranked in the top 100 nationally, was never tested in a 6-1 6-1 victory over Porter Gaud's Hunter Mitchell in the final.

Bybel's semifinal was a much tougher test. He outlasted Porter Gaud's top singles player Thomas Spratt 3-6, 7-5, 10-6.

Bybel will play for Bucknell next year.

Area wrestlers compete in nationals

Battery Creek senior David Ratliff wrestled this past weekend at the NHSCA Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., He went 4-2 in the 285-pound senior division.

In the Middle School Nationals, three area wrestlers placed.

Hilton Head Middle's A.J. Alford finished eighth at 127 pounds, while teammate Martin Duane was sixth at 154 pounds.

Buffton's Talon Seitz placed fourth at 135 pounds.

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