HILLSBOROUGH– The dog days of summer provide a definite lull in the normal buzzing of sports activity in every other season. With the unfortunate void, minds tend to wander to the end of August, when the glories of football return.

Although on a national scale, the college and professional games garner nearly all the attention, for some purists, there is nothing better than Friday night lights. Yes, high school football reigns supreme in many regions.

And if you can cast your eyes past the giant in the room that is UNC in these neck of the woods, you may just find a palpable mix of passion and performance on the gridiron that has many locals all fired up!

This time on The Grid, I had the opportunity to chat with Pat Moser, Head football coach down in Hillsborough at Orange High School.

***Listen to the full interview***

Grid-Orange (Coach Moser)

And with the start of the 2013 high school football season just one week away, Coach Moser is busy polishing up his team for a chance at Great 8 conference glory.

And his Panthers squad is the focus of our final preseason column on The Grid. Go ahead and start crying, I know.

Fifth-year Head coach Pat Moser says he’s excited about the 2013 season for his Panthers squad. He says last season’s 12-3 record and run to the state quarterfinals with a win over perennial powerhouse Eastern Alamance has only added to his team’s confidence level.

“It was big for our program. Eastern [Alamance] has been good for quite some time. So for us to be able to beat Eastern Alamance, it allowed us to come of age a little bit with our program,” Moser said.

What’s more, Moser says he really likes this group of young men. And it doesn’t hurt that Orange’s junior varsity team went undefeated last season. Any voids left by graduating seniors would seem to be in good hands.

“We’ve got a good group of kids coming back from last year’s team. We’ve got an undefeated JV team to add to some good returners from our varsity,” Moser said.

Moser spoke like a man not lacking of any confidence in his team’s experience. Their mix of athleticism and experience could be a recipe for winning football this season.

Entering their debut campaign in the new and improved Great 8 conference, Moser says he knows his team has been putting in the hard work the entire offseason in preparation for the week-to-week grind of the power conference, where no one can be taken lightly.

“I don’t think there is any team in the state of North Carolina that has worked any harder than we have in the offseason,” Moser said.

And putting in those long hours and knowing that you have been putting in the effort can only breed more confidence in a group of high school boys. You expect it to pay off—in wins.

Moser says senior quarterback Garrett Cloer will be the ultimate key to the Panthers’ success on the football field this fall. According to Moser, his signal caller must manage the game with intelligence and distribute the ball to the playmakers. He must be a “field general and do enough passing early on to keep the threat there.”

Yes, Coach Moser acknowledged the brutal in store for his team, especially with the conference slate, but Moser says he thinks his kids are up to the challenge.

“They expect to win. And they are a group of winners. […] Our guys are primed and ready to go,” Moser said.

Let’s take the man by his word. We’re ready to go too! And one week from today, we have liftoff. The talk and speculation is over. It is time to settle it on The Grid.