HHS looks to keep improving

September 6, 2018

HUNTINGTON — George Washington and Huntington High’s football teams have questions to answer heading into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Mountain State Athletic Conference game at Bob Sang Field.

George Washington (1-1) was defeated a week ago by the Ashland Tomcats who withstood the passing attack of Grant Wells and the Patriots to come away with a 50-28 win.

Huntington High has won both of its first two games over Belfry and Riverside, yet head coach Billy Seals has been critical of his team’s play.

“We haven’t played up to potential,” Seals said.

“We went through the motions last week at Riverside. I haven’t seen that out of a Huntington High team in a long time. But here we sit at 2-0.”

Seals is aware of the challenge the Highlanders face heading into Week 3.

The Patriots come to town with Wells who despite the loss passed for 379 yards and three touchdowns against the Tomcats, plus he rushed for 112 yards and scored a touchdown.

Seals described Wells as an intelligent quarterback, good at making quick decisions in addition to being a great passer.

“We can’t simulate what he does or what his receivers do in practice,” Seals said.

“Our guys are working hard, though, and we’ve got to make sure we don’t give up any big plays.”

Ashland attacked George Washington with a strong rushing game that kept the Patriots offense on the sideline and allowed the Tomcats to put points on the scoreboard.

Controlling the time of possession has worked for the Highlanders in both wins so far.

Against Belfry, Huntington had the ball seven minutes more than the Pirates. The Highlanders had a similar advantage over Riverside last Friday.

“We can win if we can limit (Wells’) touches,” Seals said. “But we understand we’re not going to change what we do.”

What Huntington has done in its two wins is to give the ball to senior running back Ty Wilcoxon, a transfer from Fairland who has been the feature back for Huntington so far. Wilcoxon carried the ball 18 times for 122 yards with a TD in the 17-9 win over Belfry and carried 27 times for 218 yards and three TDs against Riverside.

Tajhan Blackwell and Diallo Mitchell will help the ground game as well. Blackwell, the quarterback, threw 14 passes against Belfry

and 15 against Riverside, completing five times each game.

Blackwell’s featured target against the Pirates was Bryce Damous who caught three passes for 56 yards, but five different receivers, including Damous, each caught a pass against the Warriors.

Another player who may factor in Huntington’s future success will be tight end Stephen Perrine who has been a key figure in huddles and in the locker room to pick up the Highlanders emotionally.

Seals said Perrine, a senior, has been the emotional leader the team has needed in practice this week and Huntington’s performance has improved, in its coach’s eyes.

“In huddle and in practices, the emotions run pretty high,” Perrine said. “I try to be one to pat a guy on his helmet and stay positive to keep guys from turning on each other.”

Seals said Huntington’s practices have been good this week.

The Highlanders will have to prove it this week with a big test coming to town in Wells.

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