|Vance’s Ferebee takes on task of delivering NC football title|
|Program transitions to new head coach|
|Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019 7:22 am|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Vance High football coach Glenwood Ferebee, right, takes over a program that went 14-2 and advanced to the N.C. 4AA championship game in 2018.|
Glenwood Ferebee doesn’t have to reinvent winning at Vance High.
The Cougars’ new coach, who turned two losing programs in Virginia’s Tidewater area into powerhouses, has a more difficult task: win the school’s first state championship. Last year’s team went 14-2 and lost the 4AA title game 9-7 to Wake Forest with Aaron Brand as head coach. Brand is now at Irmo High in South Carolina, but left a strong nucleus for his successor.
“We have a pretty good team,” Ferebee said. “I’ve been a coach the last 17 years and this is one of the most talented teams, if not the most talented team, I’ve ever had. I’m excited to get started.”
Said Brand: “We left the cupboard full.”
Ferebee is no stranger to success. He led Chesapeake Indian River High, which was 1-9 before he arrived in 2014, to a 47-17 record over five years, including an unbeaten regular season in 2018. He led the Braves to the Virginia state semifinals in his second year and advanced to last year’s Class 5 Region A title game. Ferebee coached Lakeland High to a 24-29 record in his first high school stop, including 15-8 his final two seasons.
He spent 2013 in the collegiate ranks as Hampton’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“When you’re taking over a team that’s 1-9 or 0-10, you don’t think X’s and O’s,” he said. “You’re trying to change the culture to get them mentally ready to play the game. These kids are mentally ready to go, so now I can concentrate on the X’s and O’s…so it’s not a wholesale change like with a 1-9 program.”
Vance returns eight defensive starters, including junior linebacker Power Echols, who has attracted interest from Division I schools. That’s an advantage going into preseason drills as the offense rounds into shape.
“That’s a state finals defense that gave up nine points in the finals, so that’s the biggest, brightest spot,” Ferebee said. “When you’re an offensive guy, it helps you sleep at night knowing the defense can play that well and give you the opportunity to do some of the things you want to run on offense without having to protect the defense so much.”
The offense returns five starters, but lost quarterback Nigel Summerville and top receiver Nyier Clark to graduation. Austin Grier starts preseason drills as the starting quarterback as the Cougars adjust to Ferebee’s preference for a quicker pace between plays.
“I think we have the talent and the athletes to get it done,” Ferebee said. “It’s actually just teaching them the no-huddle. It’s a different vibe for them not going back to the huddle. …It’s pedal to the metal.”
Vance has the tools to contend for the I-Meck 4A title and make a run deep into the postseason, but Ferebee is looking to handle his personal transition to a new city and team.
“It’s been an adjustment, but it’s been pretty good,” he said. “I’m trying to get settled in. Charlotte is huge, I’m learning that, but I’m making the adjustment.”
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