For a defensive lineman at a Class AAA school, Breece Hoff isn’t all that big — 6-foot tall and 170 pounds. But he certainly provides a big impact for Capital’s football team.
Hoff has turned in a school-record 14 quarterback sacks for the Cougars, who visit University on Friday night in the playoff quarterfinals in Morgantown.
That’s just part of the havoc Hoff has wreaked on opposing defenses this season, and he does it all his own way.
Rather than take his position in a three-point or four-point stance at the line of scrimmage, Hoff plays a standup defensive end and charges into the backfield at almost every snap, weaving his way past behemoths often more than 100 pounds heavier than himself.
“They’re big sometimes,’’ Hoff said, “but you’ve just got to use your speed and use the right technique, and everything works out.’’
Speed is a commodity Hoff flashes on almost every down. He’s fast enough to run sprints for Capital’s track team, and placed fifth in the finals of the 100-meter dash at last year’s state meet.
“He’s extremely fast and strong,’’ said Cougars coach Jon Carpenter. “He doesn’t get pushed around, even when we play against the big teams. He’s like a bull in a china shop — goes hard all the time, and sticks his head in there all the time.’’
Hoff is second to senior linebacker Chase Goldsmith in total tackles, but tops the team in tackles for loss with 26 1/2, resulting in minus-161 yards for opponents.
“It helps the rest of the defense,’’ Carpenter said. “He’s crazy, but he gets after the quarterback for sure.
“He’s stronger than you think. He bench presses 300 pounds. He just doesn’t have any meat on his bones. He’s kind of like Barney Fife — he’s wiry.’’
When Mingo Central quarterback and Kennedy Award winner Jeremy Dillon signed his letter of intent with Marshall’s basketball program last week, it most likely meant he’ll be done with football after this season.
The 6-foot-4 Dillon, also a top-notch basketball talent, has played so well in his short stint as Miners quarterback that many felt he could also play that position at the Division I level.
“I believe this does [rule out football],’’ said Miners coach Joey Fields. “He didn’t get any big-time offer he was wanting [for football]. But he can play. I believe he can walk on anywhere in the country and would be playing before he left because he’s that type of competitor. He has so much ability and can play so many positions. He was up to 217 pounds in the summer and is about 203 now. He could put on weight and change positions.’’
Fields thinks Dillon took a mature approach in his decision to stick with basketball.
“In basketball, his spot was going to be on the floor competing as soon as he gets there,’’ Fields said. “If he goes somewhere to play football, he’s probably red-shirted a year. And being at Marshall, he’s close to home, and his friends and family mean a lot to him. He also has a good relationship with Mark Cline [the Herd’s assistant coach, a native of Williamson].’’
Fisher catching on
Prior to this season, Brian Fisher was known more at Winfield for his work on the basketball court, and not as a receiver on the school’s football team despite being a third-year starter.
Yeah, he caught 18 passes for the Generals a year ago, but none of them went for touchdowns. He’s sure making up for lost time as Winfield surges into the Class AA quarterfinals at Bridgeport on Friday.
Fisher ranks among West Virginia’s leaders in TD receptions with 13, and has caught at least one scoring pass in each of his last four games. He snagged four TD receptions against Nitro, three against Poca and two against Mingo Central.
For the season, 13 of his 24 receptions have gone for scores and he averages 17.6 yards per catch.
“Brian is a very good athlete,’’ said Generals coach Craig Snyder. “Last year, he was in the shadow of Chris Farha a little bit, but that catch-to-touchdown ratio of his is pretty awesome.
“He’s an excellent blocker, too. He’s more than just a kid who catches the ball. Blocking drills are the first thing we do every day in practice. It’s the most important part of the run game — everybody has to block. When we first started running out of the Ram formation, we told the kids you have to have something to you [to be a good blocker]. It’s all about aggressiveness.’’
7 p.m. kickoffs coming?
With nearly half the schools in West Virginia now kicking off their home games at 7 p.m., it may just be a matter of time before the SSAC allows teams to start playoff games at 7 instead of the traditional 7:30 for Friday or Saturday night postseason contests.
Bernie Dolan, executive director of the SSAC, said the organization’s long-existing bylaws mandate kickoffs at 7:30 for night playoff games, but indicated that the SSAC coaches committee is expected to discuss the issue in the off-season.
As of now, the only playoff games with 7 p.m. kickoffs are at the Super Six in Wheeling — the Class AA finals on Dec. 1 and the Class A title game Dec. 2.
A few years ago, the coaches committee did add the possibility of staging games at 1:30 p.m. Friday during Thanksgiving week only.
n Martinsburg has outscored opponents 230-7 in the first quarter this season (through 11 games), and 431-37 in the first half.
n Huntington expects receiver Mikal Dawson to play Saturday after he sat out last week with flu-like symptoms.
n Hurricane place-kicker Timothy McCutchen is a perfect 37 of 37 on extra points and 8 of 13 on field goals.