After 20-Year Absence
For Jim Bunting, it must feel like deja vu all over again.
Twenty years after resigning from the head football coaching position at Indian River High School, Bunting returns to the Indians' helm for the 2000 season.
"I guess I'm a pushover," said Bunting of his decision to return to the Indian River sidelines after 20 years at Selbyville Middle School. "I just don't know how to say no. I guess the people who needed to say something to me did it."
Bunting inherits a program that he is not unfamiliar with, having coached many of this year's high school players at the middle school.
That won't make it much easier, though, given that the Indians come off a 4-6 season, including a 1-5 record in the Henlopen South, and return only one all-conference player, junior Billy Hall, who was an honorable mention all-conference selection.
Leading the returnees from that team are quarterback Joey Land, who shared the quarterbacking responsibilities last year with P.J. Martin.
The running backs start with senior Buster Belote and junior Billy Hall but they don't end there. Also seeing action in the backfield will be seniors Deondra Matthews, Paul Parsons and Louis Perrez and juniors Tyrell Westcott and Johnny Meiklejohn.
"Our goal is to be able to create a total program," said Bunting. "We want to have four programs (Pop Warner, middle school, junior varsity and varsity) going with the common goal to play competitive football as juniors and seniors. We also want to have some fun. Some of the kids weren't having fun. Of course, you've got to win to have fun, but in the middle school we had kids in November who wished the season wasn't over. I'd love to hear these kids say that in November."
Coach: Jim Bunting (2nd season, 1st season in 1979)
1999 Record: 1-5 Henlopen South, 4-6 overall
Key Returning Players:
Key Players Lost:
Strengths: Bunting feels the Indians are deep at the skill positions in the offensive and defensive backfields. With 57 players out, Bunting says the competition will be good, too. "A kid just can't say, 'I know I'm going to play because nobody else is challenging me," said Bunting. "Now we have some depth. The kids know there will be somebody behind them and if they don't look out, there will be somebody in front of them."
Concerns: "We're young, especially in some of the skill positions. We don't have that senior, or even junior leadership."
Bunting's Outlook on the South: "For us, we hope to be competitive. For me to go out and say who will win it ... my god, Delmar has a great program, Laurel is new with Mike Pugh but they'll be there ... Lake Forest, hello, they've always got some good kids. And good God, Seaford, you don't think Capt. Dick will have them ready. We're working toward being competitive with those teams. We won't be the team to beat. Woodbridge won it last year and Smyrna's right there. I think the South will be competitive up and down."
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