Hancock Hawks aim for big wins in 2013
By Dwayne Bremer
Aug 20, 2013, 18:33
The 2013 Hancock High School Hawks Football Team.
Last year, the Hancock Hawks endured a lot of growing pains en route to a disappointing 2-9 football season.
This year, the Hawks are hoping to turn their fortunes around and bring winning football back to Kiln.
Armed with 19 returning starters, the 2013 Hawks are talented, experienced, and hungry, head Coach Rocky Gaudin said.
"I'm excited and I know the kids are excited," Gaudin said. "Last year was just a tough situation. I came in here and we only had a few weeks to get organized. We are no longer implementing. Now, we are polishing."
The Hawks will begin their 2013 football campaign on Friday when they take on county rival St. Stanislaus. The two schools have not met in three seasons.
Other pre-district games include a trip to East Central and home games against Sumurall and Bay High.
Gaudin said he felt it was important to revise the pre-district schedule.
"Everyone enjoys the rivalry games," he said. "We want it to be everything it should be. Last year, we opened with a team that went to the South State finals. We felt like it was better for us to open our schedule with some familiar teams, who we feel that we can compete against."
Leading the way for the Hawks this year will be junior quarterback Chase Fagan. Fagan started nine games for the Hawks in 2012 and showed a lot of promise.
"Chase is an exciting player," Gaudin said. "He has really worked hard over the off-season. He can pass and run. He fits our offense perfectly."
Fagan will be joined in the backfield by seniors Austin Whavers and Shane Ladner, the Hawks' top two rushers from a year ago.
Alex Feazelle, Carl Gibson and Kevin Pittman will also see carries out of the Hawks' new Wing-T offense.
Gaudin, who is known for running the Wing-T, said he brought back his traditional offense to give his team an identity.
"It's the nature of who I am," Gaudin said. "I want to play smash-mouth, hard-nosed, physical football."
Despite switching to the Wing-T, Gaudin said he believes there will be even amounts of both running and passing.
A big reason why, he said, is the fact that wide receivers D.J. Riley, and senior Logan Perniciar are both returning starters.
"I think it's going to be about 50/50," Gaudin said. "This may be the best passing team I've ever had."
Joining Perniciaro and Riley in the receiving corps will be Branden Steiner, Andrew Munger, and tight end Carson Jordan.
Up front, the Hawks will have a solid offensive line, led by senior center Dillon Malley, who skipped the 2012 campaign to focus on baseball. Joining Malley on the line will be Kyle Barlow, Ryan Furey, Dillon Hess, Mark Ray, Chase Freeman, and Josh Ladner. Several offensive starters will also play defense.
Gaudin said he likes the size of his defensive line, which will consist of Malley, 6'2, 285; Jordan; 6'2 220; Barlow, 6'2, 250; and Mauffrey 6'0, 280. Freeman, Ray and Chris Smith will also see plenty of playing time.
Junior linebacker Geb Frickie, who led the team in tackles and sacks in 2012, will quarterback the defense in 2013.
Other linebackers include Donovan Dawsey, Lane Ladner, Dustin Ferrell, Gibson and Hunter Waltman.
The secondary consists of Whaves, Fezealle, Riley, Shane Ladner, and others.
The kicking duties will be handled by senior Arnel Dujkovic.
After the Hawks complete their pre-district schedule, they will move into a tough Region 3-6A schedule. District opponents include Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, D'Iberville, Hattiesburg, St. Martin, and Harrison Central.
Hancock bye week is Aug. 30, week two of the schedule.
The Hawks will not have their first home game until Sept. 13.
Gaudin said he believes the Hawks will show improvement in 2013.
"Things are coming together very well," Gaudin said. "The kids are working really hard and we have a very good staff in place. You are always nervous before the start of a season, but I think this team will make us proud."