Cory Barnes will be the new football coach at Midway, pending official approval by the Sampson County School Board later this month.
Midway principal Monty Strickland made the recommendation to the county’s human resources department this week after interviewing approximately 10 candidates from a field of about 40 applicants.
Strickland did not disclose his choice in a conversation Wednesday, but Dunn Area Sports subsequently confirmed a thread on HighSchoolOT.com that stated in effect that Barnes had accepted an offer from the Raiders.
Barnes has been on the North Johnston staff for the last four years, the last two as offensive coordinator.
He played quarterback at Triton and helped when Ashley Ennis was coaching the Hawks. Barnes went to North Johnston when Ennis became head football coach and athletic director for the Panthers after the 2013 season.
The Midway position opened up after Jason Fussell resigned following the 2017 season. The Raiders were 3-8 overall in Fussell’s fourth season and 1-5 in the East Central 2-A Conference, which included NCHSAA 2-A champion Wallace-Rose Hill and 2-AA runner-up East Duplin.
Fussell is continuing to coach baseball and teach physical education at Midway. Spending more time with his family was one his objectives in stepping away from the head coaching responsibilities in football.
Strickland noted that Tim Jackson has been overseeing offseason weight lifting for the Raiders.
Barnes has been part of improvement at North Johnston. The Panthers were winless in the season before Barnes accompanied Ennis to the program. North was 1-10 overall and 0-5 in league play in 2014. That improved to 5-6 and 1-4 in 2015.
Ennis joined the staff at South Johnston, his alma mater, in 2016. With Barnes becoming offensive coordinator in 2016, the Panthers were 7-5 overall and 3-2 in conference.
North was 5-6 overall and 1-4 in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference in 2017.
The Panthers averaged 148.9 yards rushing last season and 153.1 yards passing.