PIGSKIN PREVIEW: Rhodes making changes in personnel
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Friday, August 23, 2019
There is a saying that goes, “What’s old is new again.” That statement has come true as “new” Farmville Central head coach Eddie Rhodes returns to the football field as a high school head coach for the first time since 1991. Rhodes, who enters his 39th season as a coach in any sport, led the Vikings from ‘91 to ‘97. During his six seasons DHC made three consecutive playoff appearances, along with being the Eastern Regional runner-up in 1994.
Since his time on the sidelines at Hollywood Crossroads, Rhodes has stayed busy. He led the FC baseball program from 2005 to 2018, in which he racked up over 200 wins and three 2-A Eastern Plains Conference titles. While he was on the diamond he continues to coach football, leading the FC junior varsity program from 2010 to 2012, followed by becoming the defensive coordinator from 2013 to 2015. Finally, he took command of the A.G. Cox Middle School football team from 2-16 to 2018, where he went 15-1 and claimed back-to-back conference championships.
This season Rhodes inherits a program looking to rebuild after a disappointing 3-8 season that also saw star defensive tackle Keziah Everett graduate and join the East Carolina program.
“We’re looking for improvement,” Rhodes said of his expectations for the season. “We have to change the culture here. The last few years have been tough on Farmville Central football and we’re hoping we can change that. That’s what we’re looking for, just to make some strides.”
The times have been tough, as the Jaguars hold just a 8-15 record since the 2017-18 season. This season Rhodes has made moves to help reenergize the offense, including pushing explosive playmaking junior Tavyon Suggs to running back after spending his sophomore season at quarterback. To begin the rebuild the Jaguars, who already hold a very young roster, will replace Suggs with freshman Brandon Knight.
Rhodes said he hopes fans will stick with the team, as Knight works through his transition into the pace of play and the intricacies of varsity high school ball.
“He’s young, but he has some ability,” Rhodes said of Knight. “We think he’s going to be a good football player.”
There is no lack of athleticism on the FC roster, and Rhodes hopes that those intangibles can make their way onto the field when playing defense.
“We’re not going to do a lot of sitting back and waiting,” Rhodes said of his defensive scheme. “We’re going to get after the ball and be aggressive. We have a lot of quick players, so we’re going to use that to our advantage.”
He added that players will play both ways, including Suggs and slotback Dontavious Short.
“Tay will be an outside linebacker, and Dontavious is working at free safety right now,” Rhodes said. “We have another pretty good football player in Rahshae Owens in the middle. Rahshae is a pretty good size fella.”
The Jaguars open the season tonight at 7 p.m. when they host 2-A powerhouse Kinston.
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.