HURRICANE, W.Va. — For Hurricane, making the playoffs hasn’t been the issue – the Redskins have been postseason bound seven of the last nine years.
What has plagued Hurricane, however, is making a deep run once it gets to the playoffs. In each of those seven appearances, the Redskins have not advanced past the quarterfinal round.
“I expect to be in the playoffs,” second year head coach Jeremy Taylor said. “We have too much talent not to be. Our kids have been working real hard all summer and spring.
“At Hurricane, teams over the past 10 years expect to go to the playoffs,” Taylor continued. “Unfortunately, they are also expected to lose in the first round, which is what happened last year. The expectation is to actually make a run in the playoffs this year.”
However, Hurricane’s fortunes could change this season as it returns second team all-state quarterback Austin Hensley. And as Hensley has matured as a quarterback heading into his senior year, so has his role within the team.
“His sophomore year, he was expected to just not lose the game — turn around and hand the ball off to some good running backs,” Taylor said. “Last year, he was thrusted into a role of having to win some games. More often than not, he was able to do that. This year, we’re expecting some big things from him. I truly believe he was the best quarterback in the state last year.”
Taylor says Hensley has been getting some looks from some Division I programs, specifically several MAC schools.
“I think Austin is definitely a Division I quarterback,” Taylor said. “He’s got a cannon for an arm and he’s smart. He’s a kid that once he gets into a college program, and is one-on-one with a quality quarterbacks coach he’s going to flourish.”
Last season, Hensley threw for 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns. Aside from Hensley, the Redskins return special mention all-state running back Zach Pate as well.
“He’s our all-purpose guy,” Taylor said. “Last year, I called him a poor man’s Ryan Switzer. He didn’t quite have the speed Ryan had, but he had the moves. He catches everything. Austin and Zach work really together. If Austin throws it to Zach, he knows he’s going to catch it.”
For the Redskins to be in the postseason and potentially a title contender, they will have to navigate through a difficult MSAC schedule.
The slate has Hurricane opening up with Huntington at home. In the middle of the season, the Redskins have back-to-back road games with George Washington and Cabell Midland. Hurricane finishes the year on the road as well with dates at Capital and Spring Valley.
“In the big picture in this conference, it’s hard to go undefeated with those quality teams,” Taylor said. “You just got to win your home games, win the games you’re supposed to win. The kids know there are some good teams in the conference, but I think they know they are pretty good too.”
2013 Football Schedule
|5||09/27/13 07:30PM||A||CABELL MIDLAND||-|
|7||10/11/13 07:30PM||A||GEORGE WASHINGTON||-|
|8||10/18/13 07:30PM||H||ST. ALBANS||-|
|11||11/08/13 07:30PM||A||SPRING VALLEY||-|
- Wes McKinney