Smith returns to Hilton Head Christian football staff
By David Shelton
Hilton Head – Hilton Head Christian Academy head football coach Ryan Mitch is pleased to welcome back to the Eagles’ coaching staff Matt Smith, who rejoins the staff as the defensive coordinator.
Smith worked at Hilton Head Christian under former coach Tommy Lewis and followed Lewis to Florida, joining the staff at Victory Christian Academy. After one year away from the Island, Smith is back at the school.
Smith also will be the school’s head baseball coach. He is replacing Smittie Cooler in both positions as Cooler got out of coaching.
“I’m very excited to have Matt on the staff and he already has made a big difference for us,” said Mitch, who is entering his second season as the head football coach. “He’s a quality coach and he knows the program.”
Mitch also reports that Jeremiah Spires will work with running backs and defensive backs this fall, in addition to handling the strength and conditioning aspects. Spires is a former player at Hilton Head Christian.
Mitch has been pleased overall with the summer workouts of his 2014 team. He says the Eagles performed well during limited seven-on-seven passing league competition and have shown a solid commitment to the weight room.
“I’m really pleased with their attitude and work ethic,” the coach said. “Our numbers are up, in terms of kids showing up on a regular basis and that level of commitment excites me.”
The Eagles lost several key performers from last year’s team but the coach does not worry about personnel losses. He says the unknown excites him as a coach.
“In high school, you lose good players every year but it’s fun for me to see the new guys growing up and stepping up. It’s their turn now,” he said. “We feel like we have a great group ready to step up.”
Two key returners this fall are seniors Ryan Barrett and Luke Higgs. Barrett, a defensive back and receiver last year, is moving to quarterback this fall. Mitch feels Barrett’s abilities will allow for more spread offense and more passing this season.
“We’re going to lean on the pass more this year and Ryan certainly is capable of being very good for us,” the coach said. “He has had a great summer and he is ready to take leadership of the team.”
Higgs (6-1, 205) will work at running back and anchors the defense at middle linebacker.
“He’s a football player,” Mitch said. “He can do a lot of things for us, on both sides of the ball.”