As reported March 1 by Dunn Area Sports, Cory Barnes will be the new football coach at Midway. The hire was approved by the Sampson County School Board on Monday.
Midway principal Monty Strickland interviewed approximately 10 candidates from a field of about 40 applicants.
“He’s very eager,” Strickland said. “He went through a really intense interview process and came out as the person we’re looking for. We’re excited to have him be a Midway Raider.”
Strickland said Barnes would join the faculty at Midway on May 1.
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.
“I’m excited to be the new head football coach at Midway,” Barnes said. “I can’t wait to get started. I am ready to meet the players and get spring workouts started.
“We are going to play a fast brand of football that will excite the players and fans.
“This is a good move for my family to get back to that area. I couldn’t be more proud to be just the seventh football coach in Midway history. Go Raiders!”
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.