Can Hurricane repeat its 2017 upset?
HUNTINGTON — Hurricane is on the road Friday for a 2018 rematch with Spring Valley.
Last season, Spring Valley went to Hurricane and the Redskins shocked the Timberwolves, 41-21. Hurricane rushed for more than 200 yards and took advantage of its passing game led by quarterback Nathan Roy.
Both teams enter Friday’s 7:30 game at Spring Valley’s Wolves Den at 1-0 after picking up opening wins against Class AA opponents. Hurricane won its “War on 34” rivalry against Winfield, 24-13, while Spring Valley easily handled Wayne, 49-8.
Hurricane head coach Jeremy Taylor used multiple quarterbacks in the Redskins’ defeat of Winfield, and said junior Austin Womack will get the start and take most of the snaps against the Timberwolves.
Womack completed 7 of 12 passes for 124 yards against Winfield. Roy, a senior who started last season, completed 4 of 8 attempts for 21 yards.
″(Womack) was the player of the game (vs. Winfield),” Taylor said. “He threw one interception, and if that pass had been 6 inches higher he would have had another touchdown. I was looking at putting Womack in about the third series, but Roy was short on two passes in a row so I felt like I had to make a switch.”
Womack could be a big factor in Friday’s matchup.
Taylor highlighted three things he said were key to defeating the Timberwolves. The first thing is passing over top of the Spring Valley defense, a strategy that paid off for the Redskins last year. “You got to get up on them quick,” he said.
The second thing is getting creative with the play calling, and third on his list was making Spring Valley drive the length of the field.
“You don’t have to score every play,” Taylor said. “But you got to get a first down, maybe two, and when you punt make sure your special teams wrap them up. Make them drive 80 yards as often as you can.”
At the same time, Taylor is realistic about the chance that Hurricane, ranked No. 10 in the latest Metronews Class AAA poll, can pull the upset over No. 4 Spring Valley.
“They have three Power Five (college) linemen,” he said. “I’ve watched them on film and I think they’re the best team in the state. Better than Martinsburg. We just need to worry about ourselves.”
Among the worries Hurricane will have is keeping players hydrated, an issue that arose in the first week contest when the Redskins had to substitute players with limited playing experience into a close game because of the heat.
One player who didn’t struggle was Hurricane junior running back Christian Hill who carried the ball 26 times for 186 yards in the win over Winfield. In the 2017 game against Spring Valley, Hill rushed for more than 100 yards accounting for more than half of the Redskins’ total.
Taylor called Hill “the best running back in the state” and he will be needed.