Coach John Sala
In a lot of ways, Louisburg College Head Football Coach John Sala sounds like the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind having for a next door neighbor.
The kind of guy who’d loan you his lawnmower if yours was broken, or that dude next door who wouldn’t sweat it if you still had his chain saw after, oh … say, a couple of years.
The second-year Hurricanes coach doesn’t seem like the type guy who’d worry so much about material things, because he’s too busy caring about stuff that has a longer lasting effect on people’s lives.
“My personal philosophy is doing things the right way by the kids,” said Sala, who has coached college football for the past 13 seasons – the last seven as head coach.
“If the only things the kids (here) learn is blocking and tackling, that's not good enough.”
While winning is always important in sports, Sala emphasizes to his staff that recruiting good people is the number one priority.
The football program at Louisburg, a Christian-based school located in the hills just north and east of Raleigh-Durham (N.C.), is dedicated to recruiting, developing, and promoting quality young men.
But make no mistake, football is the main reason Sala is there. And he has some players.
Quarterback Karl David Birkenfeld is a 6-3, 215-pound sophomore with a live arm from Yonkers, New York. He’s hitting on 61% of his passes (72-118) for 1,075 yards and 10 TDs.
Sala describes him as “one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country,” who has led the Hurricanes to a 5-1 record so far this year, with a combined win total of 115-8 in the last two games.
“Offensively we run multiple sets, we play smart and run a lot of no-huddle.”
Placekicker Brad Holmes is among the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division III statistical scoring leaders for the 18th ranked Hurricanes.
He’s hit on 21 of 23 PAT attempts, and added seven field goals ... with a long of 44 yards.
Still Sala says there’s another aspect to his team he’s very proud of.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” he said.
“I like our kids. We have a good approach to defense.”
They give up a meager 107 average yards per game, and have intercepted 10 passes on the season.
But while Sala likes the team he'll be bringing to town this weekend, he knows their work is cut out against the unbeaten jags.
“I know they’re fast, I know they’re physical and I know they’re well coached,” he said.