2023 Post-season interview with West Carter head coach Daniel Barker


Well-known member
Name: Daniel Barker

School: West Carter

Position: Head Coach

Heading into the 2022 season, what were your biggest concerns?
After losing 13 seniors, (on top of large senior classes graduating after 2019 and 2020), we knew we would be young and inexperienced. Due to injuries and other issues, we ended up being even younger than we thought we might be.

What was the most challenging part of the 2022 season?
Losing a player is the worst thing that any team can go through. Losing a beloved senior, along with another classmate in the middle of our season was something that high school kids shouldn’t have to deal with. Our kids really did a great job trying to honor them but it’s something that really puts into perspective Football and team sports in general. We will always remember Brent King as a great person who was a friend to every he came in contact with.

After spring ball and two days, which player or players stuck out to you? Why?

We really felt like Senior Bradyn Flener would have a great season, and until his injury, he really was a great player for us. Came back at the end of the season and gave us his usual physical play that we all loved to see from him.

We also felt like our QBs were young but we’d see a lot of growth from game one until the end of the season. They did, and I was proud of the way they continued to work even as we struggled for much of the season.

What were the two or three main goals you set for the 2022 team? Also, did they hit those goals?
We wanted to be a great tackling team, and due to our youth we never really got there. We did get much better from week 1 until the playoffs. I feel like the guys we have back have been through the fire and will be much improved defensively and offensively.
Our main goal is always to win our district. We weren’t able to do that in 2022, which we use as motivation in the weight room now.

What were the high and low points of the 2022 season?

The high point for us was winning on senior night to earn our way into the playoffs. Our kids had to finish the game without Cole Crampton, a great RB who is among the school's all-time leading rushers. I thought it was the most complete game of the season.

If anything, what would you go back and change from the 2022 season?

We’d probably have started out a little simpler to try to get our kids comfortable with the speed of the varsity game. We played a bunch of freshmen and Sophomores and our juniors and seniors included guys in new or expanded roles.

What did you learn most about your players during the 2022 season?

I knew our kids were tough, but with all the adversity we faced, we learned just how tough we were. Going 2-9 for a team used to winning 9-10 games can bring out a lot of bad things in a program, but our kids never let that happen. They kept showing up, worked hard, and got better. Not a lot of excuses, just worked to get better.

I have been told a coach never stops learning. So, with that in mind, what was the one lesson you learned from the 2022 season that will help make you a better coach in 2023?

2022 gave me better perspective as a coach and as a person. When a team deals with the loss of a teammate, another teammate airlifted to the hospital mid-game, loses more than you’re used to you find yourself focusing on what really matters with sports. Focusing on our kids and helping them, along with maintaining discipline and teaching. It is never just wins and losses, but in a season like we had you’re reminded why we do this.

If you could sum up the 2022 season in one word, what would that be?


Can you tell the readers which seniors from last year's team will be attending college and which colleges they will be attending?

At this time our kids are largely undecided about college.