Hurricane has surged past a lot of its Mountain State Athletic Conference rivals by making use of its two game-breaking receivers — Dakota Williams and Curon Cordon.
Most opponents don’t have enough speed in the secondary to cover both at the same time — but Capital does.
That alone should make for an interesting evening when Capital invades Redskins Stadium in Hurricane on Friday for a battle of Class AAA contenders. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Hurricane (4-1) enters the game holding the No. 6 position in the playoff ratings, one spot ahead of the Cougars (3-2).
Williams leads the MSAC in yards per reception at a whopping 27.9 and has hauled in seven touchdowns. In last week’s win against Spring Valley, Williams had big-play TDs of 79, 37 and 58 yards on passes from quarterback Nathan Roy.
Cordon has snagged five touchdowns this year and also ran 18 yards for a score against Spring Valley and returned a kickoff 81 yards for a TD against Winfield.
Capital coach Jon Carpenter doesn’t think his defense will attempt anything special to combat Hurricane’s dynamic receiving duo.
“I don’t think we can draw anything up different,’’ he said. “We’ll play what we’ve been playing, and see how that goes.’’
Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor notes that Williams and Cordon won’t be able to burn Capital’s secondary the way they do to most defenses.
“It’s the same old Capital,’’ Taylor said. “They’re as fast or faster than we are. A lot of size and a lot of speed. They’ve got talent running everywhere.
“Even when they mess up and you exploit something, they just run you down. Against other teams, it would be a touchdown. Against them, it’s a 25-yard gain. And if they break one, it’s gone.’’
Ah, yes. Not only can Capital run with Hurricane’s receivers, it can also match the Skins in game-changing wideouts with Deishawn Harper and Anthony Pittman. Harper averages 24.4 yards per reception with four TDs for the Cougars, and Pittman averages 21.4 with five scores.
The Cougars’ third talented wideout, K.J. Figures, is expected to miss the game with a shoulder injury.
Capital certainly made the most of its speed in last year’s meeting with Hurricane, racing out to a 33-0 lead after one quarter and settling for a 61-20 victory. Quarterback Kerry Martin Jr. threw for 320 yards and six touchdowns that night and ran six times for 62 yards.
“They were better than we were last year,’’ Taylor said. “They exploited a lot of things we tried to do, and we had a ton of turnovers. This year, we’re not coming in as beat up as the last time we played them, which is always good. If we want to compete with anybody, we have to keep the game within reach and try to pull it out.’’
Hurricane’s pass defense has been one of its strong points this season, allowing only 78 yards per game, and also registering six sacks and three interceptions.
“I told our players that I think we’ve gotten better each week,’’ Taylor said, “and if you want to be a great football team, you’ve got to get better each week.’’
Carpenter said he saw some encouraging signs from his team in its last game, a 24-21 loss at No. 1 Huntington two weeks ago. He hopes the good vibes carry over to the second half of the season.
“That’s always the deal around here,’’ Carpenter said, “how fast can you get them to buy into doing things right? We got a lot of eyes opened that night, so we’ll see if that’s the case.
“We always practice well. We just need to focus in on the little things. If we can major in minor things, we’d be pretty good. That’s the difference in a big game, about eight plays. That’s what decides who wins and loses. A lack of focus on assignments and doing your job shows up on those eight plays. All of them went against us [at Huntington], and it didn’t give us a chance to win.’’
Capital has won 12 of 16 games in a series that began in 1999, and the teams have met every year since 2008. Hurricane won back-to-back decisions in 2001-02 and 2012-13.