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Prep football notes: Offense coming around for Hurricane

CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail
Hurricane receiver Dakota Williams gains yardage against George Washington last year.

For much of the three-week summer practice period and the first two weeks of preseason drills, Hurricane’s offense was stuck in neutral.

Much of that came from the fact that the Redskins return just two starters on the offensive side of the ball, but welcomed back nine starters on defense.

However, coach Jeremy Taylor noted earlier this week that his offense is “coming around a little bit.’’ The team held an officiated intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday and Taylor saw some encouraging signs from his rebuilding attack.

“We gave some of our kids the opportunity to go against the projected starters,’’ Taylor said, “because we don’t have a lot of kids who go both ways. We wanted to surround them with good players and see if they can react. We found out we had a little bit better team.

“It was all situational stuff — four minutes left on the clock, get three first downs and let the clock run out. Prepare a few things in practice that you might do in a game. The offense didn’t look too bad tonight. We were able to run the ball — we’ve got two pretty good running backs to power it up in there — and we’ve got three real good receivers who are able to make plays.’’

Hurricane’s top weapons on offense figure to be receivers Dakota Williams and Curon Cordon, along with running back Christian Hill.

GW’s two-way Tanner

Tanner Williams means a lot to George Washington on defense.

Heck, the linebacker had a hand in 153 tackles last year, 30 of them for lost yardage, and was selected to the Class AAA all-state second team.

But it appears as if Williams will also have to play a lot on the offensive line this season, owing to the Patriots’ loss of four seniors from last year’s front wall.

Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said he’s not really worried about sapping Williams’ energy to where it affects his defensive prowess.

“Not really,’’ Edwards said. “My thinking is yeah, he’s going to get tired, but my goodness, he’s a 17-year-old kid.

“Now, we’re hoping we don’t have to play him 60 downs [on offense] — but maybe he can play 35, 40. We’re hoping we can get some other guys moving along a little bit.’’

Rules changes

Two new rules changes — one involving blindside blocks, the other pass interference — are things high school fans may notice this season.

Blindside blocks are now illegal unless done with open hands, so all those crowd-pleasing blowup blocks seen mostly during punt and interception returns when runners reverse their field, are now personal fouls with a 15-yard penalty — unless the open-hand technique is used.

The National Federation of High Schools Football Rules Committee notes that a blindside block “involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.’’

The second change stipulates that it’s no longer pass interference if a defender face guards a potential receiver while the ball is in the air — as long as the defender doesn’t make contact. In the past, if a defensive back wasn’t looking for the ball and was simply shielding the receiver, it was pass interference.

Making first contact

For the second straight season, Winfield was the Kanawha Valley’s first team to get in live contract drills.

The Generals hit the practice field at midnight late Monday/early Tuesday on the first day the SSAC allows such contact.

“It’s fun, and the kids get excited about it,’’ said coach Craig Snyder. “Coach [Bruce] McGrew did that in 1997 when he was head coach and I was an assistant.

“I was working on our schedule in the spring and I asked the seniors, ‘Did you like it? Do you want to keep doing it?’ If they’d said they’d rather sleep in, we’d have come in at 8 o’clock.’’

Huskies numbers up

Following the aftermath of the June 2016 floods, Herbert Hoover saw a dip in its turnout for the football team, but the numbers have gone back up this year.

For their final preseason scrimmage a year ago, the Huskies dressed just 29 players, and battled lower-than-usual numbers all season.

However, the regular turnout has been around 41 so far this month, according to coach Tim Meyer.

“It’s not too bad — it’s more than last year,’’ Meyer said, “and more than two years before.

“I remember standing on the sideline of our second playoff game [in 2015] against Tolsia, counting the kids we had dressed. It was 27. Football’s a long season, and it can take a toll on you.’’

Contact Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RickRyanWV.

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