Kafina takes over as Cane Bay defensive coordinator
New defensive coordinator Jody Kafina sees Cane Bay High School as a place destined for bigger and better things on the gridiron.
First, the program is relatively new.
Second, the school has tremendous potential for growth.
Third, he’s impressed with the school itself and the other members of the football coaching staff.
“I’m fired up about it,” the 45-year-old Kafina said. “It’s an awesome opportunity. It’s pretty much a brand new program. The school is only going into its sixth year. It’s almost like starting with a clean slate.
“My wife and I agree that we love Cane Bay. This is a place that you could retire.”
Kafina spent the last two years as the head coach at Pinewood Prep, where success has traditionally been hard to come by on the football field. Kafina’s teams won three games in two years but he said his kids played hard.
This season will be his 21st as a high school coach.
Kafina first came to the Lowcountry as the offensive line coach at Charleston Southern in 1999. He spent three years with the Buccaneers and has also coached locally at Fort Dorchester (2003-05) and Summerville (2006-10).
As a player, Kafina was an all-South Atlantic Conference performer as the center for Gardner-Webb in 1992.
In a bit of a twist, Kafina is taking the keys to the defense from the program’s head man, Russell Zehr. Zehr is moving over to assist with the offensive side of the ball.
“He knows a lot of football,” Zehr said. “We’ve been looking at changing up our defense and if I was going to turn it over to somebody else I wanted to turn it over to somebody with experience. I’m going to be there but I’m not going to be looking over his shoulder.”
That’s not something Kafina said he’s even thinking about anyway.
“Good coaching staffs work together and make decisions together all the time,” he said.
Last season, Cane Bay allowed 326 points (27.2 PPG).
Kafina’s first group of players will be more athletic than lineman-types. Cane Bay is likely moving away from a four-man front to a 3-4.
The emphasis is on the linebackers being versatile, being able to slant into the gaps but also being able to back up into coverage on passing downs. Cane Bay has those types of players in bunches.
“We’re going to be aggressive,” Kafina said. “I’ve been very pleased with the summer program. The kids are in shape and they are strong. I’m excited about our play-making ability.”
The secondary figures to be stronger than it has been too, Kafina said.
“Talking with Coach (Sean) Krupla and Coach (Tim) Wash, this could be the best secondary they’ve had since they’ve been there. They’re untested but they had a good summer.”
Cane Bay is set to open the season Aug. 29 at Summerville.
Last season, the Cobras finished 6-6 in their first season as a Class AAAA team.
Kafina will be a career and technologies teacher at CBHS.