Providing wake-up pills and an alarm clock for a sleeping giant is one of the first orders of business for Jay Gore.
Full of energy and exuberance, the new McGavock High head football coach is ready to roll. He just wound up his first month on the job following a week of spring practice just before school got out.
Asked to assess the pros and cons about the McGavock program, Gore, 53, said, “there are a lot more positives than negatives. The biggest positive is the principal I’m privileged to work with, Mr. Robbin Wall. I’ve been very impressed with him, he’s been very supportive of everything we’re trying to do and has been true to his word in every aspect.”
“I’ve been impressed with the kids who came out for spring practice,’’ Gore added. “We had about 45 out, they were all ‘yes sir and no sir,’ and they all did what we asked them to do.
“Because of flood issues, we had to cut short, we were only able to get five days of practice in, but we did a lot in those five days. I’ve found out that faster reps go well. If we get five reps a minute, we try to speed them up the tempo to seven. It’s made practices go better.”
McGavock, a 38-year-old school, has long been one of the largest in the state in terms of enrollment – it’s currently No. 3 but was No. 1 for a while. Therefore, some talent definitely can be found on the campus of a school its size.
“We definitely have talent and speed at the skill positions,” Gore said. “And what’s really good is people coming up to me at practice, telling me they were glad to have me on board and asking if there was anything they could do to help. I’m impressed with my six assistants – John Green, Larry Coffee, Bob Gecwich, Cato Smith, Devin Arnold and Michael Scales – they are all hard workers, who are coming in early each day and staying late.
“The negatives are some of our facilities which aren’t the best,” Gore said. “Also, the community support has been down, but we’re in the process of organizing a booster club, some ladies are helpful us out there. That should build interest.
“Another negative would be the head coach,’’ Gore added, laughing. “When you first start out, you think you know everything. A coach is only as good as the people around him. I have a lot of good people around me.”
Top quarterback returns
Specifically, McGavock has rising senior Cody McKinley who is returning at quarterback and is expected to provide lots of senior leadership.
“He’s got a strong arm, and he really works hard,” Gore said. “He had an excellent spring practice, and he comes early to all our summer workouts.”
Gore also named skill players like Aaron Sims, Darius Turner (a two-year starter) and Shay Haynes as players to watch.
“Aaron ran a 4.49 40 in a camp in Cincinnati, he has blazing speed,” he said.
Gove also mentioned Devin Taylor, Caleb Azubike and Nolan Sexton as linemen the Raiders are counting on. “We lack depth in the line, but those are three good ones we’re counting on,’’ he said.
Woeful playoff history
Almost unbelievably, McGavock has only one playoff victory in school history. That was in 1992, a 14-12 win over Father Ryan.
McGavock has made 15 playoff appearances and is 1-15 in those games. Last fall, the Raiders qualified for the 6A playoffs, but lost to Blackman 28-20 in the first round.
“We certainly want to change that,” Gore said. “The (Raider) band has 27 state championships. We want to get our football team headed down that path.
“By the fact I’m getting about 10-12 letters a week from colleges asking about recruiting specific players tells me the talent is there. There is a sleeping giant situation here. It is my job to wake him up.”
Practice around the state opens Monday, July 26. Get the alarm clock ready.