Former Hunt coaches Raper, Farriss reunite at N. Nash

High School Notebook

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A stop of one year at Fike High as an assistant varsity football coach enabled Andrew Farriss to obtain valuable experience in the weight room.

Next, the 40-year-old Farriss will expand his resume at Northern Nash High, a neighboring rival of Fike and Hunt in the 3-A Big East Conference.

Fifth-year Knights head coach Randy Raper confirms Farriss has joined a revamped staff. Farriss functioned as an assistant for a decade on Raper’s staff at Hunt — where Raper won more than 200 games in two-plus decades as head coach.

Farriss, this week, was in the process of completing the necessary paperwork and has been available for a couple of workouts. His area of emphasis with the Knights will be the offensive line.

“They are eager and have received me well,” Farriss noted of prospective Northern Nash players.

The majority of Farriss’ football coaching career has been devoted to working with defensive linemen.

“(Raper) needed an offensive line coach and he asked me about this a while back,” Farriss said. “The opportunity stayed open through the spring semester.

“It became a little more appealing as time went on. This is an opportunity for more experience on the offensive side. I want to try to make myself a litte more well-rounded.”

Commented Raper: “It’s always good to have a guy you’re familiar with and understands what you are trying to accomplish. He knows our offense. Having him on the staff is a comfort zone.”

Farriss is a 1994 graduate of Wilson Christian Academy and earned his degree from Methodist University in 1998.

The new Knights assistant is committed to moving in the direction of becoming a head coach and believes he is progressing.

Not to mention that the summer has been filled with speculation that Raper will be retiring after the 2017 season.

“If I had a dollar for every time Randy Raper said he was retiring, I could retire,” Farriss quipped.


A couple of weeks away from observing his 60th birthday, Raper doesn’t deny that he’s learning toward retirement following the upcoming season.

He has been coaching high school football since 1982.

“It just all depends on how I feel at the end of the season,” Raper said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “If I feel energetic and that I have something to offer, I may try again. We will have a really young team and probably will not lose but three or four players off this team.”

Joining Raper and Farriss on the revamped staff are holdover Jeff Lynn and newcomers Shaun Rose and Al Hardison.

Lynn and Rose played for Raper in different decades at Hunt. Hardison served as Raper’s assistant in his early years at the Hunt helm. Hardison, the proprietor of two Highway 55 restaurants in Wilson, will coach quarterbacks and running backs. He played quarterback at Beddingfield High.

“He’s a big comfort zone,” Raper said of Hardison.

“Our coaching staff is completely revamped; we just need some players.”

Raper emphasized he “feels really good” about his previous four seasons at Northern Nash.

“The influx of principals has created some uncertainty,” he added. “But the kids have been great and the community has been great. It’s been a good experience; I have enjoyed it in Nash County.”

Hunt to combine staffs

A new concept in football coaching will be tested at Hunt High during the 2017 season.

“Rather than have varsity and junior varsity staffs, we will have one big staff,” explained second-year head coach Keith Byrum. “We’ll have a head varsity and jayvee coach. All the other guys will be position coaches.”

The intent, Byrum pointed out, is to have offensive linemen work with Richie Pridgen for four years and defensive backs with Paul Willoughby for four years, etc.

“It will be a little more work on the coaches,” he admitted, “but, when it’s time for the kids to come up to the varsity, they will be a little more prepared. I’ve done it that way before, but we’ve never done it at Hunt.”

Byrum has spent nearly 20 years with Warriors football.

An important aspect of the concept, as noted by Byrum, will be varsity coaches not being unfamiliar with players when they reach the varsity level and, because of that familiarity, can deem them more accountable.

Other staff members are John Glover, Marcus Johnson, Ronnie Sutton, Spencer Allen and Toby Hall. Byrum has not decided upon a head jayvee coach.


Providing nonconference opposition for Northern Nash this fall will be Orange County, Southeast Raleigh, Tarboro, Elizabeth City Northeastern, SouthWest Edgecombe and Nash Central.

Franklinton will be a new 3-A Big East Conference foe, replacing Nash Central.

Raper considers the schedule formidable enough that he contends: “It’s one of the toughest schedules anywhere.”

However, Raper acknowledges; “I don’t know of but one schedule that could be tougher. And that’s the Hunt schedule.”

Hunt’s Byrum concurs.

The Warriors face Havelock, New Bern, Greenville Rose, Eastern Wayne, Beddingfield and Hertford County outside the league.

Beddingfield and Hertford County were on last year’s schedule, while Eastern Wayne has frequently been opposed in the past. And Franklinton is new in the Big East.


Fike opposes Wilson Christian Academy in the opening game of the 2017 Rotary Cup boys soccer tournament announced this week by Connor Bedgood of the Rotary Club.

The dates are Tuesday, Aug. 15; Thursday, Aug. 17; and Saturday, Aug. 19 on the back fields at the J. Burt Gillette Soccer Complex.

Fike and Wilson Christian kick off action at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15. At 6:30, Beddingfield opposes Greenfield School; and, at 8, defending champion Hunt tests Community Christian School.

The Thursday, Aug. 17 schedule: Wilson Christian vs. Beddingfield at 5, Greenfield vs. Hunt at 6:30 and Community Christian vs. Fike at 8.

The Saturday, Aug. 19 lineup: Community Christian vs. Beddingfield at 5, Hunt vs. Wilson Christian at 6:30 and Greenfield vs. Fike at 8.

Traditionally, the Rotary Cup has matched Wilson County’s three public high schools against the three independent/private schools.


Prospective Barton College men’s soccer players are still waiting for the announcement of a new head coach.

However, former Hunt High standout Cooper Dean, who has signed with the Bulldogs, said Barton would likely been his choice even if he had known head coach Matt Akins was leaving.

“Barton is a great school,” Dean remarked. “It has always been one of my top choices.”

Dean revealed he has worked out with the team and describes his future teammates as a “great group of guys.”

Dean declared he and former Hunt teammate Sean O’Brien are looking forward to productive careers with the Bulldogs.

hammer@wilsontimes.com | 265-7819