HHS hosts Woodrow Wilson on Friday
HUNTINGTON — Huntington High football coach Billy Seals is hoping for a bit of normalcy in his life on Friday night.
After all, two out of his first three contests have started after 9:30 p.m. and ended after midnight.
On Friday, Seals gets a potential rarity in 2018 with a home game that should have a traditional start time of 7:30 p.m. when the Highlanders take on Woodrow Wilson (2-1) at Bob Sang Stadium. Huntington High (3-0) is tied with Spring Valley in the Class AAA state ratings.
“These midnight endings are killing me,” Seals said after a 42-21 win over George Washington last week. “Hopefully next week, we don’t have any lightning and we can get home at a decent hour.”
While the start time hasn’t offered rhythm for the Highlanders much this season, last week’s win over the Patriots offered a chance for the offense to get into a better groove than what it had been in its first two wins over Belfry (Ky.) and Riverside.
Coming into the season, the offensive line was expected to be the strength of Huntington High (3-0), but the first two weeks had produced lackluster efforts, according to Seals.
Against George Washington, however, the Highlanders rolled up 467 yards rushing — 250 of it from running back Ty Wilcoxon, who eclipsed the 200-yard mark in the first half.
“They were challenged after the way they played those first two games,” Seals said. “They are a veteran group and we expected them to perform like one. It was good to see them put it together like that and move the ball.”
Led by Darnell Wright, the nation’s top college offensive tackle prospect for the Class of 2019, the unit hopes to again make the opposition uncomfortable
Life in an unpleasant environment is no stranger for the Flying Eagles, either, as they continue on a stretch that has them playing four of their first five games on the road.
Woodrow Wilson opened the season with a pair of convincing wins over Riverside and Greenbrier East, but fell in the home opener last week to Parkersburg, 28-7. The Flying Eagles started off strong, getting a 2-yard touchdown run from Micah Hancock to take a 7-0 lead, but could not slow down the Big Reds’ as Parkersburg rolled up 476 yards of offense in a balanced attack. Hancock leads the Woodrow Wilson offensive attack.
“You have to know where he’s at all times,” Seals said about Hancock. “He’s big, got good hands. Everything runs through him. If he has a big night, they tend to play much better.”
Defensively, Woodrow Wilson (2-1) struggled against the pass as Parkersburg’s Jake Johnson finished 16 of 23 for 247 yards and two touchdown passes to wide receiver Brenton Strange, who returned from injury to haul in seven passes for 162 yards and the two scores.
This week, Woodrow Wilson’s job gets no easier as the Flying Eagles face the balanced attack of the Highlanders, led by the rushing of Wilcoxon and the passing of Tajhan Blackwell, who has a pair of strong receivers in Kris Brown and Bryce Damous to target.
Seals said he wants to see his passing attack improve on its first three performances.
“We have to be better at throwing the football,” Seals said. “We’d love to throw the football somewhere between 18 and 22 times a game. We want to be as close to 50-50 as we can. We’ve got to go out and play good, solid Huntington football.”