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Chuck Carree - On family holiday, two coaches with history shine


Wallace-Rose Hill coach Joey Price coached South Columbus coach Jake Fonvielle as a player and Fonvielle served on Price's staff for eight years. (Photo by StarNews file photo)


Thanksgiving provides high school football playoff participants a break from school. It also means early morning walk-through practices on the eve of regional championship games.

Participants feel blessed because the field has dwindled to 32 statewide. Only South Columbus and Wallace-Rose Hill remain from this area.

The Bulldogs play host to Ayden-Grifton for a berth in next week's Class 1AA championship game, while the Stallions visit Tarboro, winner of the past two state 2A titles.

With emphasis on family gatherings over the holiday, perhaps it is fitting the Stallions and Bulldogs are the only ones left.

The programs are mirror-images and virtual kinfolks.

"I told my wife, the mentor and the pupil are still going,'' said South Columbus coach Jake Fonvielle, who succeeded Joey Price after he left for Wallace-Rose Hill.

Price is the teacher – serving as defensive coordinator for two seasons when Fonvielle played with the Stallions. Then Fonvielle served as one of Price's assistants for eight years.

"Anytime you take over a program going good, you feel like there is a little added pressure to keep it going and not let it die,'' Price said. "Obviously, Jake has done that.''

Price says it speaks volumes to Fonvielle and the players' dedication. Fonvielle also is grateful to Price for educating him as both a coach and athletic director.

Now Fonvielle is calling on those lessons he learned to focus his team's preparation heading into the state semifinals.

"At this time of the year, everyone is playing well, especially your offensive and defensive lines,'' Fonvielle said. "Your kids are about as good as they are going to be.

"So it pretty much comes down to the basics; the little things and making sure on fourth and short you are sealing off the gaps like you should be and you are staying low and coming off defensively the way you need.''

The tutor appears on top of his game, too. But Price has stayed humble; he was once the pupil and still considers himself a student of the game.

They come from the coaching tree of Jack Holley, Fonvielle's coach and Price's teacher at South Columbus. He retired with 412 all-time victories to rank No. 1 in North Carolina and seventh nationally, according to ESPNHS.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but we tweak it all the time,'' Price said "Both Jake and I do some things different, but the basic premise of how we administer discipline, connect with kids and conduct weight training is the same as Coach Holley taught us.''

Happy Thanksgiving.



Staff writer Chuck Carree can be reached at 343-2262 or Chuck. Carree@StarNewsOnline.com.