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Double play





Throckmorton to rein in Comet football

South Boston News
Grayson Throckmorton / March 16, 2017

Grayson Throckmorton is returning home, taking the reins of the Halifax County High School varsity football program and continuing his professional educational career.

Throckmorton is a veteran coach, with stops throughout Central and Southside Virginia, but he started his prep career here after graduating from HCHS.

Throckmorton follows Kenneth Day, who had submitted his resignation. Day remains on the sports staff as the head baseball coach.

Throckmorton brought plenty of enthusiasm and specific ideas to the football job, which has endured a fair amount of turbulence in the last decade. Throckmorton also made it clear Tuesday he intends to make this his last stop in prep football.

Throckmorton also said the program needs stability and structure. He also wanted to stress ‘core values’ needed in running a football program.

Throckmorton was pressed on the need to bring in athletes to play physical football.

He said, “my take on that, you have to work hard to recruit to get those kids out.”

He plans to have a presence at youth games, and also intends to stage coaching clinics for the volunteers in the community involved with the younger players.

Throckmorton also said he plans to bring a three-dimensional approach to football, including getting the coaching staff and the players to trust in his approach.

He wants ultimately to establish a bond where players will go ‘all out’ for the coaches, but Throckmorton said that takes time.

He stressed the need to make a connection with the players, showing how much he cares for them. Connections with home visits are also important.

Throckmorton was formally introduced after school board approval on Monday night. HCHS principal Michael Lewis was joined by associate principal Kelvin Davis and athletics director Allen Lawter for the announcement.

Throckmorton laid out a plan that is good for both the student athletes and the Comet coaching staff, Lewis said.

“We look forward to working with (Throckmorton) in the future to restore our football program to a competitive level,” said Lewis.

Lawter added, “We’re excited to have Grayson back in Halifax. He has had numerous experiences that we think will help him in helping our football program. We’re excited to get started and get to work on that task.”

Davis said Throckmorton has a plan, adding he is well qualified, based on his prior experience.

Davis said the new hire “is the right fit for Halifax.”

Throckmorton said he is very thankful for this opportunity. He added his appreciation to the staff at and the school board.

“It’s something that has been a long time coming in my mind for me. …Every job that I’ve had, I’ve worked hard, and with the idea that I would eventually love to end up back in Halifax,”said Throckmorton.

“It’s something I’m going to take, and run with it,” he said.

Throckmorton regards himself as a ‘field coach’, working with players, the fields and the equipment, and working with the administration. He stressed he wants to put a plan in that has a vision for the future.

He also stressed the need for a fundamentally sound system.

Throckmorton said he wants to do ‘good things’ at Halifax.

He referenced his local roots and ties to the community. Throckmorton said he is comfortable with that and can use that to his advantage.

The ultimate goal is to see the youth of the community grow and prosper.

Throckmorton, asked to explain the major components of his plan, said, “There’s quite a bit to it.”

He plans to form a staff and hire the best people for the program.

“We’re going to have a vision of looking at the things we maybe need to upgrade, knowing it’s not going to be quick turnaround,” said Throckmorton.

He pointed to facility upgrades, and the need to get more student athletes involved in the program.

He pledged to “bridge the gap between the high school and the middle school as far as football goes.”

Throckmorton also said he plans outreach to the youth leagues, to get more interest with the younger kids playing football, and with the coaches at that level.

Throckmorton wants to be on the same page with all parties involved.

Throckmorton also plans a basic system, which stresses the fundamentals.

“That system will utilize the talents of our players and it’s going to make other players stronger, which will help our overall football program,” said Throckmorton.

Throckmorton said it’s a formidable task to get the high school and middle football programs on the same page.

Throckmorton won’t try to bulldoze his agenda, but hopes to get everyone involved appreciating the big picture.

He said he is not trying to “come in and lay the law down.”

He wants everyone to see how the program can be successful.

“It’s all about being fair and honest and looking at the big picture. The bottom line is, it goes back to, this is for our youngsters here all the way up to the guys playing high school level,” he said.

“We’re all in this together, on the same page, and there’s a lot of history here at Halifax County. Sometimes I think it gets overlooked,” he said.

“Especially in the last few years, there’s been a lot of change around, with coaches and so forth,” said Throckmorton.

Throckmorton said he wants to get a staff put together. HCHS will advertise for new offensive and defensive coordinators, Lewis said.

Throckmorton wants to put the coaching staff in position to be successful.

Throckmorton said he would look at the personnel available and see which systems would be most successful.

He called it a basic tenet to look at the talent involved and to use that to get the best result.

Generally, Throckmorton plans low-risk football, establishing the running game, mixed in with play action and bootlegs. He stressed avoiding turnovers.

“You keep the football and you’re eating the clock up, and keeping it out of the other teams hands, to me, that’s a big plus,” said Throckmorton.

Moreover, Throckmorton said, “Do I like to take risks on offense? Absolutely.”

But he said that depends on the game situations and the personnel. He noted in the past, he’s thrown the ball as much as 25 times per game.

He wants to establish the run game in order to open up passing lanes.

Defensively, Throckmorton hopes to keep opponents from moving the chains, producing consistent three and outs.

“Your best athletes, they’re going to be playing defense, because if you can’t stop anyone, you’re not going to win football games in the overall big picture,” he said.

Stopping the run is a priority.

Throckmorton is still under contract until late May to his current post. But he’s already getting input as much as possible.

He’s also got to get a good staff together. Throckmorton also said, given the choice that he has two or three people, “if they came with me, it would be a great situation. The problem is, those two or three coaches are looking to be head coaches themselves.”

Throckmorton said his expectations in his first season would be “to implement a program that has structure and discipline, that utilizes fundamentally sound techniques, that’s fun and also along with the character lessons that I teach, that all of that together will build a solid foundation for the future to come.”

Throckmorton will also be on staff at Halifax, but that has to happen after he finishes his current contract.

Throckmorton will be 50 in June, going into his 28th year.

Throckmorton knows the contracts for coaches are one-year deals.

“My plan is to be here until I retire.”

The Halifax County native is a 1985 Halifax County High School graduate. Throckmorton was a first team all-western district, all-northwest region and first team all-state selection in 1984 as a member of the western district champion Comet football team.

Throckmorton later worked under Larry Smith as a member of the coaching staff for the state champion Comet football team in 1991. Throckmorton also served as an assistant varsity football coach from July 1990-June 1998.

Throckmorton also served as an assistant coach for wrestling and was a member of the staff when Halifax won the 1994, 1996 and 1997 district wrestling titles.

This past season Throckmorton served as the associate head varsity football coach at Buckingham County High School. He was also the head varsity football coach at Nottoway High School from July 2010-June 2016. He served as an assistant varsity football coach at Nottoway for eight years prior to getting the top post in the Cougars program.

Throckmorton also worked as the head varsity coach at Dinwiddie from July 2001-June 2003 and was an assistant coach at E.C. Glass before moving to Dinwiddie.

He guided the 2014 Nottoway football team to an undefeated James River District title and the Virginia 2A state semifinals.

He was the 2014 James River district 2A football coach of the year and the 2010 Southside district division 3 football coach of the year.

Throckmorton was also a player on the 1987 Ferrum college playoff team and the 1988 National Division III Final four team.

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