Webb's new football coach brings ‘smashmouth’ approach

May. 30, 2013 @ 09:17 PM

J.F. Webb didn’t look far to find its next varsity football head coach. The Warriors hired Tony Midgette earlier this month.

Midgette served as Brian Currin’s defensive coordinator the past four seasons and spent another season under the direction of head coach John Hammett. Currin resigned in January after five seasons at the helm of the program.

Midgette has a defensive background, but says an emphasis will be placed on offense in the preseason for a Webb program that finished 3-8 in 2012 and missed the state playoffs each of the last two seasons.

“I hope to bring a tough mindset, especially offensively,” said Midgette. “We want to play smashmouth football, still a balanced attack, but stretch our running game.”

Midgette, 31, played linebacker for his hometown Elizabeth City State Vikings. He was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northeastern High School, for three seasons and later served as an assistant for the Person varsity football team while commuting from Granville County.

“I enjoy the county,” said Midgette. “I felt it would be a great place to have a family. Of course when the job came open I knew I didn’t want to leave. It’s something I’ve been working towards since I finished college.”

Athletic Director Ricky Givens said initially Webb was searching for someone with more experience, but he’s hopeful that Midgette can take the team deep into the state playoffs.

“I feel like eventually if we get the right person in and we’re hoping Coach Midgette is that person, we can get that far,” said Givens. “We can get to the state finals.”

“He’s got a great attitude,” Givens added on Midgette. “His work ethic is top-notch. He loves the kids here and he wants to see them succeed. Those were some of the things that prompted us to hire him.”

Midgette will continue to call the defensive plays while his twin brother, Antonio, will serve as offensive coordinator. Antonio Midgette was also on Currin’s staff.

Tony Midgette said a new pro-style offense is being installed. Rushing has been the key component of the Warrior attack in recent years and that’s not likely to change going forward with a talented group of linemen and backs returning, led by running back Tobiah Lewis, who tallied 874 rushing yards a season ago.

Tony Midgette is encouraging the Warriors to have a sense of urgency on offense and expects an improved passing attack.

“We want to be a threat to score every time we step on the field,” said Midgette.

Webb will compete in the newly-formed 3-A Big Eight Conference in the fall. The league features former Carolina Conference members Northern Vance, Cardinal Gibbons, Chapel Hill, and Orange along with Cedar Ridge, Northwood and Southern Durham.

“I definitely think it’s going to be tough in a new conference,” said Midgette, “especially with us being one of the smaller schools in the conference. Our kids are up for it. They’ve been working hard in the offseason. We’re not going to get to No. 1 just like that, but we’re going to put in the work.”

The Warriors’ summer workouts are slated to begin June 17.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.