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HILLSVILLE –– Carroll County High School was obviously sold on Eddie Sloss. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been introduced last week as the school’s varsity football coach. But Sloss was also sold on Carroll County. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be coming.
Having spent most of his adult life in or near Montgomery County, the Cavaliers’ new man has a firm basis from which to form an opinion, and his opinion is a favorable one.
“Whether it was playing football or baseball back in the 80s at Blacksburg, I’ve always had a lot of respect for the community. They were very supportive of their athletics,” said Sloss, who is CCHS’s ninth varsity coach. He replaces Tom Hale, who stepped down this past fall after 15 seasons. “They always seem to have good athletic programs. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the administration, I just like the potential I see there and I think it’s a great fit for me and my family.”
Sloss, 41, and his wife, Ellen, have three daughters, ages 13, 10 and 8. Though he will fulfill his contract for the school year at Montgomery County and may commute at the beginning of his time at Carroll, he said it is in the plans to make his home here.
“That was one of the key components when I was looking at this job,” he said. “Is this community where I can see my family with me, raising my girls? Without a shadow of a doubt I have no problem sending my kids to school there.”
His first orders of business are to assemble a staff and get to know his players. Sloss will meet with the members of last year’s coaching staff in hopes of getting them on board for 2014.
“I want to move forward,” he said. I don’t want to look in the rear-view mirror. I have a lot of respect for those guys. I think they’ve done great job coaching up their kids. They’ve always been physical.”
Sloss also hopes to lure back players who have departed the program.
“But only of they want to play football,” he said. “If they’ve played before but haven’t played recently, I’m going to try to get them to come back, because at one point they wanted to play the game.”
His players will have some familiarity with the playbook their new coach brings with him. Carroll County has run the wing-T offense, or variants thereof, for the past 15 years. That much won’t change.
“We’ll run some version of a wing-T,” he said. “Whether it’s a jet version or some sort of power attack, that’s something I’ve got to look at. Carroll has been a wing-T program and whoever has coached them has done a good job with their fundamentals and techniques. I don’t want to fix something that’s not broken when it comes to that phase of the game.”
Defensively, Sloss’ Cavaliers will focus on stopping the run with some embodiment of an eight-man front.
“We want to be sound defensively and put an emphasis on the fundamentals – tackling, alignment, getting to the football,” he said.
Sloss has spent his fair share of time with the current River Ridge District membership. Having worked briefly at Patrick Henry, he was an assistant at Blacksburg for nine years and spent the 2013 season at Christiansburg. Carroll County received a rude welcome into the RRD, going winless in its first season in the league, but Sloss doesn’t share the dim view of the district that many others might hold.
“I don’t think there’s a team at the top that can look down and say, ‘We’ve got everybody,’ ” he said. “All you can do is embrace the schedule, embrace the competition. I know we’re in a tough district and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather play in a tough district and have some stiff competition because when we make the playoffs, we’ve already played some of the best teams in the state. Just embrace the competition and ask, ‘What do we have to do to beat those guys?’ There are some great teams with some great traditions, but I think it’s fair game.”