By Carl Holcomb
Moorefield Examiner –
East Hardy Football is prepared to slash through the air like lightning to victory with the playoffs being the target again.
The Cougars have dominated opponents with their aerial assault including an undefeated record at home the past three seasons and in solid playoff appearances.
East Hardy outscored opponents 461-139 during the regular season.
East Hardy has 28 players listed on the roster with five returning starters from last year, gearing up for wins.
“Our goals are to win the conference, make the playoffs, then once we’re in the playoffs to keep winning every week until we don’t have anyone left to play,” East Hardy Football Coach Chad Williams stated. “East Hardy Football is culturally built, nothing changes from year to year. We’re just trying to keep the winning culture going.”
Williams enters his seventh season at the helm of the Cougars.
East Hardy quarterbacks have been known for lighting up defenses which include setting state records and the Cougars have senior Cole Collier orchestrating the offensive crescendo.
Last season, Shawn Skovron lit up the sky with 2,156 yards on 115 completions out of 206 with 26 touchdowns, plus an additional 431 rushing yards and 13 TD’s.
East Hardy’s Josh Parker will certainly be missed with his 1,100 plus yards receiving.
Collier has shown great poise in the pocket and has been gaining yards on the ground as well, so the defenses will be kept guessing.
The ground game certainly complimented the aerial pursuit with Levi Beck gathering 1,092 yards on 128 carries with 14 touchdowns.
East Hardy backup quarterbacks Bryce Strawderman and Tyler Smith have proven to be elusive in the backfield.
The Cougars have the arsenal to score at will and this year should be no different.
Opponents should know by now that East Hardy’s offense is the Spread Formation and the weakest link will be found.
“When you spread them out, you keep defenses on their toes. All we’re doing when we spread them out is looking for a mismatch. No matter how you play the spread, we’re going to have you out flanked somewhere. Our guy is better than your guy somewhere on the field. It’s a good offense. It’s a high-powered, fast paced offense. If you’re not scoring 40 or 50 points a game, you’re probably not winning,” Coach Williams commented.
Helping protect Collier will be offensive line blocking by senior center Jordan Dove, Teddy Cassell (10) and Jesse Miller (10) at guard, Hunter Miller (11) at right tackle and left tackle Luke French (9) or Dylan Fogel (10).
“We’re pretty solid on the O-Line for years to come. It’s important not only to protect the quarterback, but to open up holes, to open up running lanes. We did a nice job of that in our scrimmage against Fairmont Senior, our quarterback was never sacked. That D-Line is the best we’ll see all year,” Coach Williams remarked.
East Hardy will have Tyler Murphy, Bryce Strawderman, Tyler Smith, Daniel Vance, and Stephen Hott in working as wide receivers.
“They’re short. We’re throwing to the little guys now, but they can still catch the ball,” Coach Williams noted.
Murphy and Smith have been the quickest and most consistent threats so far, but Strawderman, Hott, and Vance have shown solid speed and smart playmaking.
Smith caught nine passes for 299 yards in the regular season last year.
“Murphy is a burner and worlds improved from last year. Tyler Smith is our leading returning receiver. He made the plays when we needed them. He is always there. Bryce is a returning starter for us. We will work Vance and Hott in there,” Coach Williams remarked…