Sessoms looking to revitalize Webb football

·8 min read

Aug. 5—{p dir="ltr"}{span}OXFORD — First impressions shape the way you are viewed and treated, especially as the leader of high school athletes.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}That's why Elijah Sessoms wasted no time making his presence felt as the new head football coach at J.F. Webb. After taking the job in June, the Durham native let it be known that he's in Oxford to make a difference.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"My first day, which was a Monday," Sessoms said, "I wore all black and I told the team it was Black Monday. 'This is the day that Webb football culture has changed.' "{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}The new culture for the Warriors is rooted in tradition and history, something that Sessoms took the time to understand before his arrival.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"Prior to taking the job, I did a lot of research on Webb and Oxford as a whole," he said. "Webb had a lot of winning tradition."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Although the Warriors have not recorded a winning season since 2008, Sessoms wanted to let the team know what Webb has been capable of in the past and what a winning tradition looks like.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"I took the kids into the main lobby and showed the kids their history," Sessoms said. "Webb in the late 90s, 11-win teams, the 2007 loss in the regional final."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Sessoms embraces the winning ways of the old J.F Webb football program and has even coined a slogan to represent the new era in Granville County.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"Our mantra is 'Return to Glory' and that's what we're going to live by. We have a tradition and a history that I want us to tap back into."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}To get back to the winning ways, the Warriors have implemented a spread offense, an attempt to fit the style and strengths of their roster. The new-look attack often features the quarterback in the shotgun formation as the offense "spreads" the opposing defense with multiple wide receiver sets.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Even though change is often avoided, Sessoms' offense is embracing it. He said, "The kids want to fly around and put the ball in the air, while still running the football."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}At the forefront of the transition is senior quarterback Braden Cooper, the leader of the Warrior offense.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"Since I took the job in June, [Cooper] has not missed a day of practice or a meeting," said Sessoms. "Every time I text or call him, he answers the phone and he is excited."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Earning his players' trust was important to the resurgence of Webb football, doing so by understanding his team.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"I'm definitely a players' coach. I can relate to the kids. I'm trying to see the world from their point of view, while still maintaining my style and getting them to buy into the program."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Heading into his first season as a head coach, he understands the process is a marathon and not a sprint.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}"We know it won't be easy and nobody will lay down for us," said the new coach. "We will be tough. We will be physical. And we will play until the final whistle blows."{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}With Sessoms taking over at the helm, he succeeds Lamont Robinson, who resigned earlier this year after two seasons in Oxford.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}A former Southern Durham standout, Sessoms earned a degree in communications from Fayetteville State University, where he spent three seasons as a wide receiver before finishing his career in 2013 at Winston-Salem State under Connell Maynor.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Retiring from playing following a string of injuries, Sessoms wanted to get into coaching the game that he loved. {/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}He returned to his alma mater upon graduation, taking the role of wide receivers coach and head coach of the Spartans' junior varsity team.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}In May of 2022, Sessoms accepted the position of wide receivers coach at Riverside High in Durham before landing the J.F. Webb head coaching job in June.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Professionally, he has most recently served as a qualified intellectual disabilities professional, assisting the intellectual and developmentally disabled at the Beyond Challenges Community in Henderson.{/span} {p dir="ltr"}{span}Sessoms, who officially began his tenure as head coach on Aug. 1, resides in Durham with his girlfriend Jordan Smith and his daughter Islah Sessoms.{/span}

OXFORD — First impressions shape the way you are viewed and treated, especially as the leader of high school athletes.

That's why Elijah Sessoms wasted no time making his presence felt as the new head football coach at J.F. Webb. After taking the job in June, the Durham native let it be known that he's in Oxford to make a difference.

"My first day, which was a Monday," Sessoms said, "I wore all black and I told the team it was Black Monday. 'This is the day that Webb football culture has changed.'"

The new culture for the Warriors is rooted in tradition and history, something that Sessoms took the time to understand before his arrival.

"Prior to taking the job, I did a lot of research on Webb and Oxford as a whole," he said. "Webb had a lot of winning tradition."

Although the Warriors have not recorded a winning season since 2008, Sessoms wanted to let the team know what Webb has been capable of in the past and what a winning tradition looks like.

"I took the kids into the main lobby and showed the kids their history," Sessoms said. "Webb in the late 90s, 11-win teams, the 2007 loss in the regional final."

Sessoms embraces the winning ways of the old J.F Webb football program and has even coined a slogan to represent the new era in Granville County.

"Our mantra is 'Return to Glory' and that's what we're going to live by. We have a tradition and a history that I want us to tap back into."

To get back to the winning ways, the Warriors have implemented a spread offense, an attempt to fit the style and strengths of their roster. The new-look attack often features the quarterback in the shotgun formation as the offense "spreads" the opposing defense with multiple wide receiver sets.

Even though change is often avoided, Sessoms' offense is embracing it.

He said, "The kids want to fly around and put the ball in the air, while still running the football."

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At the forefront of the transition is senior quarterback Braden Cooper, the leader of the Warrior offense.

"Since I took the job in June, [Cooper] has not missed a day of practice or a meeting," said Sessoms. "Every time I text or call him, he answers the phone and he is excited."

Earning his players' trust was important to the resurgence of Webb football, doing so by understanding his team.

"I'm definitely a players' coach. I can relate to the kids. I'm trying to see the world from their point of view, while still maintaining my style and getting them to buy into the program."

Heading into his first season as a head coach, he understands the process is a marathon and not a sprint.

"We know it won't be easy and nobody will lay down for us," said the new coach. "We will be tough. We will be physical. And we will play until the final whistle blows."

With Sessoms taking over at the helm, he succeeds Lamont Robinson, who resigned earlier this year after two seasons in Oxford.

A former Southern Durham standout, Sessoms earned a degree in communications from Fayetteville State University, where he spent three seasons as a wide receiver before finishing his career in 2013 at Winston-Salem State under Connell Maynor.

Retiring from playing following a string of injuries, Sessoms wanted to get into coaching the game that he loved.

He returned to his alma mater upon graduation, taking the role of wide receivers coach and head coach of the Spartans' junior varsity team.

In May of 2022, Sessoms accepted the position of wide receivers coach at Riverside High in Durham before landing the J.F. Webb head coaching job in June.

Professionally, he has most recently served as a qualified intellectual disabilities professional, assisting the intellectual and developmentally disabled at the Beyond Challenges Community in Henderson.

Sessoms, who officially began his tenure as head coach on Aug. 1, resides in Durham with his girlfriend Jordan Smith and his daughter Islah Sessoms.