Well, it didn't really take long for Freedom High to find a new football coach. Afterall, the Patriots have a strong tradition, and they've won 43 games, which includes four consecutive 10-win seasons, in the last four years.




Blair Hardin rocked the football world when he left Freedom in early June to become the newe football coach and assistant Athletic Director at North Myrtle Beach High School in South Carolina. But despite the shock, the Patriots, following a short search, have found their man. Brandon Allen, who graduated from Pisgah High and played college football at Mars Hill, was named Freedom's new head coach Monday afternoon.


He becomes only the tenth head coach in the school's 42-year history. Allen, who spent the last two years at Tuscola, got his start as as defensive coordinator at Mountain Heritage. He spent four years with the Cougars as defensive coordinator. He moved to Tuscola and was the team's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2007-10.


During his stay, the Mountaineers were 35-17-1 and advanced to the NCHSAA Class 3A state semifinals in 2009. In 2010, Allen accepted his first head coaching job at North Buncombe where the Blackhawks went 1-10. He moved back to Waynesville and led Tuscola to a 3-8 record in 2012 and an 8-4 record last fall.


Allen will meet with the team on July 7, but he will officially begin his duties as football coach on Tuesday. His biggest challenge will be putting a coaching staff together. The only coach to leave was wide receivers coach Zach Johnson, who will join Hardin at North Myrtle. The $64,000 question remains, just how many of the remaining assistants will return this fall.


The Patriots are coming off their first conference championship in nine years, and they also earned their first-ever No.1 seed in the state playoffs last season. And Allen inherits a veteran team that returns 15 starters, including nine on defense.


The Patriots open the season at East Burke on August 22.