The Cardinals are Ready to Take Flight

CHARLOTTE, NC – Why not us? That is a mantra every overlooked football team embraces. The Phillip O. Berry Academy Cardinals want to shock the conference this season.

High school football is a sport built around loyalty, consistency and a bond built in battle. Things that are all hard to come by for a new head coach joining a program days before training camp.

This was the situation Chris Redding and the Berry Cardinals found themselves in last season.

Redding felt compelled to put everything on himself. With the first chance at a full offseason, he learned the benefits of stepping back, leaving certain things to the leaders.

“I feel like it was more arguing than teamwork you know. I feel like every time someone made a mistake instead of helping him out uplifting him it was more of like getting on him about it. But I feel like we should all come together as a team, find out the problem, and fix it,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Zyhir Williams.

Last season, practice was viewed by the players as punishment, this year a reward.

“So we have changed the narrative right. You don’t have to be here, if you don’t want to be here don’t be here. You get to be here, you get the opportunity to put on our new red helmets, our new red jersey but that’s earned right and I think that whole mindset shift is these kids love it,” said Coach Redding.

“The hunger. Like last year we were really hungry but this year it seems like we are more determined, more organized and more well played and more well rounded,” said junior wide receiver and defensive back Jaidyn McKinnon.

With a culture built on desire and dedication, Redding is seeing things in a brand new perspective.

“I came out on Monday morning and I saw 87 kids on the football field and I smiled because this time last year we weren’t even close. Now we’ve got a shot,” said Redding.

The Cardinals kick there season off at home against the East Mecklenburg Eagles on Friday, August 18, 2023.