For some the sting of how last season ended still lingers, others will never forget. Hurricane fall a yard and a point short of shocking #1 Huntington in the 2nd round of the playoffs falling to the Highlanders 28-27.
A win tonight at unbeaten #2 Huntington would go along way to erasing those bitter memories for the #12 Redskins (3-3).
The first memory that needs to exorcised from Hurricane's mind is the painful and disappointing loss they suffered last Friday against GW.
"Our backs are against the wall," LB J.T. Cooper told the Huntington Herald Dispatch. Perhaps that is how the Redskins like it. Coming off two tough defeats against # 1 Spring Valley and #5 Capitol earlier this year and falling to 1-2 on the season, Hurricane played their best game and trounced #14 Cabell Midland.
"If the team that played Cabell Midland shows up tonight then we'll be in it," Head Coach Jeremy Taylor told the Dispatch.
When facing Huntington the greatest challenge is competing against their offensive line, and perhaps the state's best Lineman in Darnell Wright. "Our line is a big part of what we do," said Billy Seals the Highlanders head coach. Whether it is Ty Wilcoxon (104-832-9 TDs) who got banked up last week at South Charleston, or Diallo Mitchell who stepped in for Wilcoxon and rushed for over 125 in less than a full game of action, Huntington will run the ball as their 339 yards rushed per game average attest.
Cooper jokes that "Billy Seals would have over 100 yards rushing behind that line." For his part Seals says that the Redskins defense is "fundamentally sound, and Cooper at linebacker is really good." The Highlander coach may be correct on his assessment, as according to Coalfield and Co. Cooper's 69 tackles rank him fourth in the entire state of West Virginia.
On offense Hurricane features RB Christian Hill (171-951-5) the 2nd leading rusher in the MSAC. "He is as good as anyone in West Virginia at running back," Seals said. He ran for 1700 yards last year and he makes things go for them, if he has a good night they have a chance to win."
So you're saying there's a chance?
Hurricane must win the turnover battle, slow the Highlanders run game, and get something out of their passing game. If Nathan Roy (22-49-245-5-0) can find his deep threats a time or two, perhaps the Hurricane offense will resemble what we saw when they put up 40 points against Cabell Midland.
The Hurricane defense thus far the season; put up the best effort of any defense has against Spring Valley, frustrated Capitol, stifled Midland, and held GW's Grant Wells without a TD pass and under 200 yards passing.
The Redskins Achilles heel has been leaving points on the field and being generous in handing their opponents points. If they have a chance tonight they must play a clean game and win the special teams battle.
A large part of that battle will between the teams outstanding kickers, Isiah Carpenter of Huntington and Hurricane's Tim McCutchen. "He and Carpenter are the two best kickers in the state, Seals commented. "These guys impact field position, people underestimate how important that is." Extremely important indeed, if Hurricane want to win this game they must win this battle.
Notes: Hurricane has not defeated Huntington since their 2010 53-28 victory over the Highlanders. Huntington has won the last 6 meetings and beat Hurricane twice last year and did the same in 2014. Huntington's 6 game win streak against the Redskins now have them leading the series, which began in 1999 9-7.
Hill comes into tonight's action trailing the MSAC rushing leader, Cabell Midland's Ivan Vaughn by 5 yards.
Cameron Kimble's 65 tackles place him in WV top ten tacklers.
Prediction: Huntington is bigger, faster, and just better than Hurricane and they know it..........
But perhaps we catch them looking ahead to Capitol and taking the Redskins for granted.....
if the Skins play a good clean game they Can win this game......
memory partial erased.......
Hurricane 24 Huntington 21