By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – East Lincoln coach Mike Byus followed an unbeaten run to a state championship by being named The Associated Press high school football coach of the year for North Carolina for the 2012 season.
Byus led the school to its first state title in football, completing the run with a win against three-time defending champion Tarboro in the Class 2-A final.
“The right place, the right time, the right group of kids combined with the right coaching staff,” Byus said. “If you do something like this, obviously you get a break here and there. You can't do something like that without getting the breaks to bounce your way a few times.”
Byus earned 10 of a possible 17 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Tuesday. Matthews Butler's Brian Hales was second with three votes after guiding the Bulldogs (15-0) to a third 4-AA championship in four seasons.
Madison County's Mark Gosnell was third with two votes – the only other coach to receive more than one vote – after guiding the program to a school-record 13 victories.
Byus, 51, is in his eighth season at East Lincoln (16-0), which averaged nearly 41 points per game and won games by an average margin of 24 points. The team continued to thrive all season, even after losing senior quarterback Garrett Young for two games due to a knee injury.
East Lincoln trailed only three times all season, the last coming in the 2-A final before scoring the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
East Lincoln led Tarboro 17-6 at half of the state final before giving up 14 straight points in the third quarter and falling behind. But the Mustangs responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Young's 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Brock with 7:55 left and ultimately gave East Lincoln the championship.
Byus credited his players, saying they always put in the work to prepare for any opponent.
“I talked to them all year about reaching their ceiling,” Byus said. “I said, `Guys, I don't know how good we can be, but I want you to be as good as you can be.’ … So after the (final) game, my quarterback came up to me and said, `Hey coach, did we reach our ceiling?' I said, `I think we pretty much did about all we could do.“’ AP-WF-12-18-12 2115GMT
The voting breakdown for the 2012 Associated Press prep football coach of the year for North Carolina, as cast by 17 sports writers around the state.
Mike Byus, East Lincoln (10)
Brian Hales, Matthews Butler (3)
Mark Gosnell, Madison County (2)
Jeff Craddock, Tarboro (1)Carson Gowan, McDowell County (1)
Winners of The Associated Press prep football coach of the year award for North Carolina:
2012–Mike Byus, East Lincoln
2011–Jim Bob Bryant, Havelock
2010–Scott Young, West Rowan
2009–Joey Price, Wallace-Rose Hill
2008–Scott Young, West Rowan
2007–Ken Avent Jr., Warsaw Kenan
2006–Chris Norman, Shelby
2005–Danny Wilkins, Asheville
2004–Greg Thomas, Greenville Rose
2003–Roy Kirby, Shelby Crest
2002–DeWayne Kellum, Chocowinity Southside
2001–Bob Lewis, Clinton
2000–(tie) Rick Brown, Durham Jordan; Tom Knotts, Charlotte Independence
1999–Harold Robinson, Williamston
1998–Daryl Barnes, Richmond County
1997–Daryl Barnes, Richmond County
1996–David Elder, Hickory
1995–Allen Brown, Thomasville
1994–Anthony Price, Durham
1993–Ken Browning, Northern Durham
1992–Ken Browning, Northern Durham
1991–(tie) David Gutshall, Burlington Cummings; Walter Barnhill, Hoke County
1990–Ray Davis, Southern Nash
1989–Bobby Poss, Hope Mills South View
1988–Jim Taylor, Shelby
1987–(tie) Clyde Parrish, Red Springs; Jim Biggerstaff, Belmont South Point
1986–Mickey Bridgers, Northern Nash
1985–Denny Hicks, Kings Mountain
1984–Marion Kirby, Greensboro Page1983–Glenn Sasser, Charlotte Myers Park