Hanahan Hawks changing up offensive attack strategy
Friday kicks off the high school football season for many teams. It is referred to “Week 0” because the traditional start of the football season is the following week. The Hanahan High School football team will be idle Friday.
The extra week of preparation might make first-year head coach David Morbitzer’s job a little easier. Or, it can make his job more difficult.
The Hawks have intense quarterback competition, which might be called a quarterback controversy at the collegiate and professional levels. Daniel Island resident Jake Ward is the incumbent while Mac Blakeney is the challenger. Morbitzer said the decision to name a starter might come as late as the eve of the season-opener when the Hawks travel to Myrtle Beach.
“Jake has a little more speed and has the experience of a veteran,” said Morbitzer, who spent 10 years as an assistant at Hanahan. “Mac has a good arm and can make the passes downfield. I’m still making the decision. I haven’t decided.”
Morbitzer replaces Charlie Patterson, who resigned after 10 years at the helm. He won 71 games and had a stretch where he led the Hawks to five region crowns in six years, losing just one league game during the stretch. But the Hawks seemed to suffer some bad fate the last two seasons as they went 7-16 in Patterson’s final two seasons.
“It was good to get through camp,” Morbitzer said. “The players have a sense of what we’re trying to accomplish. The offense is moving along and the defense has bought into what we are trying to accomplish.”
Morbitzer is changing the way the Hawks attack on offense. He’s noticed traditionally strong local teams such as Cane Bay and Timberland use a power running game. Look for the Hawks to employ a north-south downhill running back although one of the top running backs in the state graduated. That was Quincy Mitchell, an all-state selection in both track and football. He was the state champ in the 100-meter dash and rushed for 1,500 yards his final season.
Gale Ball will replace Mitchell in the backfield. He’s also a sprinter but might be a step slower than his predecessor. He was fast enough to break off a couple of 60-yard runs in scrimmages.
Luke Mills and Hunter Mills (no relation) will split time at the fullback position. Both players are tough and can get the three yards for a first down to keep the chains moving. Both will also start at linebacker in the Hawks’ 3-4 scheme.
Mitchell was the biggest loss on offense. The biggest loss on defense was Cooper Dawson, a defensive end who was poised for a big year. The 6-5, 260-pounder suffered a knee injury at a Clemson football camp and will miss the season.
Todrey Drayton will be a force at the nose guard. He’s 285 pounds and strong. He’s squatted close to 500 pounds and will clog the middle of the line.
Another mammoth player is 6-6 lineman Andre Brewington, who has great mobility despite tipping the scales at 280 pounds.
Tackle Matt Murray and guards Kevin Johnson and Kevy Bell are returning starters on the offensive line.