High School Football Preview
HAWKS RETURN WITH 1,500 YD PASSING QUARTERBACK, LOOK TO REBUILD ON DEFENSE
The Hanahan Hawks remain in Class AAA for the 2016 football season, but will play in a new region.
Coach Charlie Patterson and his squad are hoping the results will remain the same.
The Hawks went 8-3 last autumn and won the Region 8-AAA championship. The Hawks have one of the best region records in the state the past six years, posting a 29-1 record.
This year, the Hawks will face a major region roadmap. Bishop England, Lake Marion, Timberland, Oceanside Academy and Manning will join the Hawks as members of the new Region 8-AAA. Timberland, BE and Manning all have recent state championships attached to their respective resumes. Oceanside Academy, located in Mount Pleasant, is a new school.
Patterson will talk to his team about his team’s success in region play once league play begins.
“But at some point, it’s time to move beyond that,” Patterson, said.
Patterson is in his ninth season at the helm of the program. He replaced Jeff Cruce as coach, and admitted it took the Hawks a couple of seasons to adjust and buy into his program. Since the first couple rocky seasons, the Hawks have been elite.
“A lot of people questioned whether we could compete in (Class) AAA when we made the move a few years ago,” Patterson said. “Midway through my third year, things started to click. We haven’t reached our ultimate goal of playing in the state championship. But we’ve had teams capable of doing just that. But anything can happen when you get into the playoffs.”
If defense wins championships, 2016 might just be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, who return only three starters on defense.
But Patterson has seen an improvement during fall practice and scrimmages.
The 2015 team featured some great football – and track and field – athletes. Gone are WR Samuel Denmark, LB Tre Smalls and DL Dominique Green. All three were all-state in two sports.
Six starters return on offense, including quarterback Victor Colbert, who passed for 1,500 yards last year.
“Victor has worked hard,” Patterson said. “He’s worked hard and has put a lot of time in during the offseason. He just has to continue to make good decisions.”
Patterson has coached two elite wide receivers at Hanahan: Denmark and Chris Brown, who went on to star at Notre Dame and is now trying to earn a spot on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster.
This year, the Hawks will count on three wide receivers to get the job done: Jamie Watson, Aaron Manley, and Javante Grant.
Jerry Bailey has been steady at running back, while Quincy Mitchell has all the potential to be a star at the position. He’s also a returning starter on defense.
Two offensive linemen in DeAngelo Bailey and Devitt Lor return as starters. They must help the inexperienced lineman mature.
Watson will also play defense. Defensive end Tyler Duncan, at 6-2, 250, has the potential to be all-region.
The Hawks kick off the season at home Friday against May River, a new school located in Bluffton.
BE'S SCHEDULE IS LOADED WITH TOUGH OPPOSITION AND RIVALS
John Cantey has been connected to the Bishop England football program all 42 years of his life.
His father, Jack, is a high school football coaching legend in South Carolina. Cantey was on the sidelines just about the time he could walk, helping keep track of the football and handing out water bottles to thirsty players. No, he didn’t recommend any plays to pops.
He also played quarterback at BE and graduated in 1992. He soon became an assistant, and finally was named head coach back in 2008.
Since then, he’s made a name for himself and could retire with the distinction of being one-half of the greatest father-son coaching combos in state history.
Cantey is the second longest tenured football coach at BE and is second in all-time wins with a 63-33 record in eight years at the school. The biggest feather in the younger Cantey’s cap is two state championships, including 2011, the first in the school’s proud history. His team repeated the accomplishment the following year.
But Cantey has little time to reflect as the Bishops move up to Class AAA this season. The schedule is loaded with tough opposition and rivals.
First up is Friday’s season opener against Christ Church, a team that has won three state championships in four years from 2011-14.
“Our schools kind of mirror each other in the Upper State and Lower State, Cantey said. “Coach (Dean) Frost and I have been trying to set this game up for a while. Both schools have that tradition factor.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier. Class AAAA power West Ashley is on the slate as is Class AAA power Hanahan. Don’t forget about Porter-Gaud, half of the rivalry in the city’s “Holy War.”
Past BE teams have been noted for their discipline, defense and option offense. Look for more of the same in ’16.
Leo “The lefty” Albano is back at quarterback and he has the numbers and confidence of his coaches.
Last fall, Albano led the team with 1,035 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns while rushing for more than 700 yards, adding another 11 TDs on the ground.
“He’s got that experience, and we trust him,” Cantey said. “We let him call the plays at the line of scrimmage during Sertoma. He’s got a good feel for the offense and knows what to look for from opposing defense. He allows us to be able to run a no-huddle offense.”
Running back isn’t so settled after graduation and a transfer meant the loss of another 1,500 yards.
Look for Ian Butler, Zach Pampu and Christian Greavu to get the majority of the carries along with Carter Kilgore, a prototypical fullback. They should benefit from an offensive line that has plenty of experienced players.
Key defensive players include Jaylen Stoney, Jack Grooms, Andrew Pizzo, Eric Vettle and Evan Phillips.
Cantey said his team has a lot of unsung heroes, much like the two teams who won state titles.
“We had one person sign a Division I scholarship and that was DeÁngelo Stephenson,” Cantey said. “We didn’t have those superstars.”