Coaches prepare for first state championship games

Football coaches

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - New Hanover's Earl Smith, East Duplin's Battle Holley, and Kevin Motsinger of Wallace-Rose Hill all have at least one thing in common.

On Saturday, they will each be coaching in their first state championship games.

Motsinger came close when he was coaching at James Kenan and New Hanover.

Even with a state title game coming up, the Wallace-Rose Hill coach isn't changing his approach.

"I am still in what my wife calls Mot Mode," Motsinger said. "This weekend (I was) just trying to break down film, get up with coaches and trying to get anything that will help our kids. It's more about the kids."

It's taken New Hanover head coach Earl Smith 35 years to finally coach in a state championship game. He is going to try to savor every moment of this week.

"There is a lot to do," Smith said. "But I am going to try to enjoy it. We are going to slow down at practice with the guys because this is it."

Holley has never tasted the thrill of state title victory at East Duplin, but he has dealt with the agony of defeat many times with the Panthers. He hopes his luck changes on Saturday.

"We have had some great teams at East Duplin and have been snake bit here and there," Holley said about early playoff exits in the past. "That was our goal this year, to get over the hump."

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