The job of rebuilding the Guilford Vikings began last year with the hiring of Bruce Bazsali as head coach. It will continue this year with Bazsali now assisting Denny Diduch. The two coaches have plenty of talent to work with.
Diduch traded in his Forreston Cardinal red and black for Guilford blue.
“I’ve got to switch over my wardrobe and about everything in my house now is blue.”
Diduch was the head coach at Forreston the last ten years. Two of his Forreston teams won 1A state championships. Diduch is doing things the ‘Viking Way’ now and the ‘Bruce Bazsali Way’. He is sticking with Bazsali’s spread offense.
“Obviously what coach Bazsali is running on offense has worked throughout his career, so I’d be an egomaniac to try to think that my system would be better,” says Diduch. Diduch just replaced Bazsali as head coach on Wednesday after Bazsali relinquished the top job due to health reasons. Bazsali is taking on a more limited role as an assistant.
Bazsali’s presence was one of the main reasons Diduch left Forreston for Guilford.
“When a 73 year old guy has so much energy and gets you excited…I thought that was a chance for me to be challenged as a coach and as a person,” says Diduch.
As for the team, promising senior Nazarus Richardson takes over at quarterback this year.
“He’s an elite athlete,” says Diduch. “If we did some kind of combine-type thing he’s going to stand out. I’ll be honest with you as we get going I think there’s so much more that he can accomplish. We’re going to keep it simple here early so he can be an athlete and lead his team to victory.”
“Nazarus is looking good right now,” says receiver Dontai Patrick Jr. “He’s got speed. He’s throwing the ball real good. He’s going to be real good!”
Two more athletes who will carry the ball a lot this season are seniors Demarcus Barksdale and Derick Lowery.
The biggest question mark for the Vikings on offense is a young line, but they do have 6’2 270 pound Amir Singletary back on that unit. He’ll also be a force in the middle of the defensive line. Justin Shenemen will also be a key player in the trenches.
Singletary believes the Vikings are headed for a strong season. “I think we’re definitely going to be a playoff team. We’re better than we were last year around this time. We’re still a building program, but I think we’re going to be better.”
“Right now it’s just about consistency of effort,” says Diduch. “There’s a ton of talent on this team.”