Huntington’s blockers making backs look good
HUNTINGTON — Not just anyone can carry the football for Huntington High, but at times it appears that way.
The Highlanders’ ground game hasn’t deteriorated in the least even after the graduation of Jadon Hayes, the school’s all-time leading rusher. Hayes stars at Arizona Western Junior College and has been replaced by senior Ty Wilcoxon, who transferred from Fairland, and junior Diallo Mitchell at tailback. The Highlanders average 339 yards rushing per game thanks in great part to an offensive line that features four seniors and one junior and that includes major college prospects Darnell Wright and Max Howell.
Huntington High (5-0), second rated in Class AAA in the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ratings, takes its vaunted ground game into Friday’s 7:30p.m. Homecoming contest against No. 12 Hurricane (3-3).
“Our offensive line is a big part of it,” Highlanders coach Billy Seals said. “Not to slight Jadon, Ty, Diallo and
Chris Rogers (Rogers played last season). They’ve done a great job running the football. You look at what Ty, who had not been in our system, and Diallo, who had not played high school football, have done and it speaks volume about our offensive line.”
Hurricane held Woodrow Wilson to just 70 yards on 34 carries two weeks ago in a 14-6 victory. A week earlier, the Redskins gave up 236 yards rushing to Cabell Midland when the Knights ran the ball 48 times. Last week, Hurricane lost 24-14 to pass-happy George Washington.
Seals said he is impressed with Hurricane.
(J.T.) Cooper at linebacker is really good,” Seals said, assessing the Redskins’ defense. “They’re fundamentally sound.”
Hurricane features a standout runner of its own in junior Christian Hill, who ran for 147 yards against Cabell Midland and 132 vs. Woodrow Wilson.
“Christian Hill is as good as anyone in West Virginia at running back,” Seals said. “He ran for 1,700 yards last year and he makes things go for them. If he has a big night, they have a chance to win. Their offensive line is really good and their receivers are good.”
Both teams feature outstanding kickers, the Highlanders with Isaiah Carpenter and the Redskins in Timothy McCutchhen. Both frequently put kickoffs through the end zone and are key factors in field position, as well as scoring on field goals and extra points.
“He and Carpenter probably are the two best kickers in the state,” Seals said of McCutchen. “Both those guys impact field position. People underestimate how important that is.”
HURRICANE (3-3) AT HUNTINGTON (5-0)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
RADIO: ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM