Preview: Rebuilding Owen begins a new era

Preview: Rebuilding Owen begins a new era


Preview: Rebuilding Owen begins a new era


Nathan Padgett, center, is the new football coach at Owen High School.

Nathan Padgett, center, is the new football coach at Owen High School.

ASHEVILLE – When the main topic of conversation about a high-school football team is departed legends as opposed to returning stars, Owen High coach Nathan Padgett knows it is time to turn the page.

The Warhorses are undergoing massive changes, and the losses include long-time coach Kenny Ford (retired after 29 seasons, 230 wins, 14 conference titles) and running back Jager Gardner, who graduated as WNC’s all-time leading rusher (6,955 yards).

That level of talent and experience helped Owen to a 12-1 mark last season (perfect 6-0 in winning the Western Highlands Conference title for the first time since 2006), but just six starters are back from that squad.

“Our message from Day 1 has been that last year was great, one of the best teams ever at Owen, and we have some kids who played on that team and it was a great experience,” he said.

“But this is a new season, and what will we write about in this new chapter?

“This spring and summer has been about starting new and building on the legacy that is already here.”

The rebuilding begins at quarterback, where senior DeMarcus Harper is the starter after breaking his collarbone last year while playing cornerback.

“With his work ethic and his desire to learn on and off the field, DeMarcus will be a tremendous asset for us,” said Padgett, who is a head coach for the first time at 39.

Sidney Gibbs, the nephew of former Warhorse running back Shawn Gibbs, is the likely starter at tailback and has some of the same game-changing talents of his uncle.

He will be running behind fullback Cyrus Hooper, and Padgett believes wide receiver/cornerback Bricen Fowler will be an athletic threat on both sides of the ball.

On the offensive and defensive lines, Padgett is looking for leadership and skilled play from Dexter Andrews (67 tackles last season) and Justin Wilson.

As a former Warhorse player who played under Ford, Padgett is ready to put his stamp on the program.

“I’ve talked a lot with coach Ford about the ins and outs of the program,” he said.

“What he did for Owen speaks for itself, and now we just want to build on that.

“We’ve got about 30-35 kids on the varsity, and that’s a good start.

“We have some kids who were part of the great success last year, and they are going to teach our younger players what it takes to win.”


Conference: Western Highlands 2-A/1-A.
Coach: Nathan Padgett.
Offense: Multiple I.
Defense: Multiple 40.
2014 Record:12-1, 6-0.
Returning starters: Six (three offense, three defense).
Predicted finish: 5th.


No. | Player | Position | Year

1 DeMarcus Harper QB/DB 12

2 Colby Maloney WR/LB 12

3 Kaleb Waycaster WR/DB 12

6 Waleed Kahil WR/DB 11

8 Tyler Hensley WR/DB 12

9 Bricen Fowler WR/DB 12

11 Kendrick Weaver QB/DB 9

13 Jacob Robinson


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Preview: Rebuilding Owen begins a new era

Rebuilding Owen begins a new era

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