Hornets aim for second state title in three years in 2018

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Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

Continuing Beauregard’s gridiron dominance is the mission of Coach Rob Carter and his Hornet squad as they enter the 2018 season.
Two seasons removed from winning both the school’s and Lee County’s first-ever state championship in football, the Hornets will strive to return to high school football’s biggest stage in 2018, though without key pieces like star running back La’damian Webb and tackling machine/stud middle linebacker Hunter Feaster.
Following is a unit-by-unit breakdown of the Hornets, with information on key departures, returnees and newcomers to watch during the coming season.
Offense
Defenses across Beauregard’s region can all take a collective sigh of relief knowing that Webb will not be a fixture in the Hornet backfield. During his three years as a starter, he rushed for a total of 6,750 yards, maintained a career rushing average of 10.2 yards per carry and scored 101 total touchdowns.
“You can’t replace someone like Webb. But you don’t go to replace any kid when they leave,” Carter said. “You got other kids who bring different talents … and as someone who’s been in this profession awhile, I know as a coach that we have to move on and work with what we got.”
The Hornets also lose Webb’s backup Jacob Callaway to graduation, but will have a three-man race in Kyle Hugley, Ashton Moss and LaDarius Ray vying for time and carries at running back.
Signal caller Jaichis Holmes also graduated, but longtime backup Quatavious Seroyer and senior transfer Sam Harris from Lee-Scott Academy bring experience and knowledge of the position to the table as they battle in fall camp.
Lean, lightning-fast receiver Isaiah McKissic returns, along with Jared McDonald and Antavious Martin. Their mixture of speed and height will be able to stretch the field vertically and cause mismatch issues for opposing secondaries.
In the Hornets’ spread attack, there is no designated tight end, but Carter said there is solid competition for the T-back position, a hybrid tight end/fullback role.
The offensive line returns several key cogs, including tackle Drew Copeland and guard Cole Sansone, who Carter said might see time at center. Because of depth, some lineman will be expected to play both ways or rotate throughout games.
Carter said fans can expect a more balanced attack this fall as they break in new players at running back.
Defense
The Hornets will break in a new defensive coordinator with Shane Lake, who was hired to replace Mike Glisson after he accepted the head coach opening at Smiths Station High School.
Lake, a Beauregard alum, will continue the Hornet’s defensive philosophy of playing assignment-sound football, according to Carter.
“He’s been under me since I got here, and he’s just done a great job. He’s learned from two good previous (defensive) coordinators, and I promise you, he wrote everything down,” Carter said. “He’s a very organized guy and very dedicated to improving these kids and I believe he’s going to do a great job.”
Lake will inherit a defense with a stellar secondary featuring the likes of McDonald and Martin at safety.
Callaway’s and Feaster’s departures leave a hole in the linebacking corps, but Carter said the hard-hitting Keon Cochran will maintain a tenacious presence from his mike position.
Six-foot, two-inch, 255-pound Quintavious Whitlow will be a key cog on the defensive line, along with noseguard Tyler Torbert who Carter said will contribute a major push from the Hornet’s front four.
Special teams
Samuel Mendoza and an unnamed German exchange student will vie for kicking duties this fall.
McKissic will handle punting duties, and Martin and McDonald will serve as the key return men.
Schedule
Reclassified to the AHSAA’s 5A Region 2, Beauregard will face a challenging schedule.
Overall, their opponents compiled a 62-37 overall record, and eight of the 10 teams advanced to the playoffs last season.
Carter said he and his team’s main focus is their Aug. 24 season opener v. Benjamin Russell, a longtime foe and consistent program that will test the mettle of his players from the opening snap.
“Benjamin Russell is constantly putting together some very good football teams. It’s always been very physical games and I don’t expect anything less,” Carter said. “We will take things one week at a time … but our ultimate goal like it is every season is to win the region and win the state title. Having won it all in (2016), we have a proven track record that we can get to the mountaintop.”
The Hornet’s schedule is split evenly, with five home and five away games. Below is Beauregard’s full schedule:
Aug. 24 – @ Benjamin Russell
Aug. 31 – v. Eufaula
Sept. 7 – @ Valley
Sept. 14 – v. Rehobeth
Sept. 21 – @ Charles Henderson
Sept. 28 – v. Montgomery Catholic
Oct. 12 – v. Greenville
Oct. 19 – @ Carroll
Oct. 26 – v. Tallassee.
For more information or updates on Beauregard athletics, visit www.lee.k12.al.us/Domain/9.

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