How’d they do it?
Eastern Regional Champions.
Not an easy title to earn and as Northampton-West will discover next year, an even harder title to defend.
That however is a problem for next season’s squad and this year’s team should enjoy their success.
I have one question though…how did they do it?
This is not the first talented football team Diego Hasty has ever coached.
The team two years ago with Darreous Moody and Andre Williams was as talented as I have seen in the 1-A ranks in years.
What exactly was different about this year’s squad?
There are some that would argue (and would have valid points) that Randy Turner and Titus &uot;TJ&uot; Lee made the difference.
That would seem the obvious choice given their above average stats for the season.
I have many times admitted in these very pages my amazement in regards to the play and leadership displayed by both of those young men.
They are stellar athletes (I heard that Titus was also a heck of a baseball player) with even better attitudes.
While I seriously doubt that Northampton-West would have advanced so far in the playoffs without the help of these gentlemen, I am certain they would not have even gotten there if not for the play of their offensive line.
Those of us that saw the Hurricanes play this season witnessed them time and time again run the ball between the tackles when yardage was really needed.
How many other teams, especially playing 1-A football, turned to their running game in third and long situations?
Once again, part of that credit needs to be given to the outstanding play of Lee and the other West running backs.
But most should be given to offensive linemen Joe Huff, Trovis Banks, Olandas Powell, Cedric Lassiter, Desmond Roberts and tight ends Aljerald Butcher and Marquette Branch.
Head coaches and offensive coordinators across the state dream of being able to shift between multiple formations at will.
Hasty, the Hurricanes’ head coach, was able to shift between a five wide run-and-gun and smash-mouth seven-man front.
Those that know football should recognize these two formations as extreme opposites of each other.
This kept many a defensive coordinator up at night trying to figure out a way to stop the potent NHW offense.
Coach Hasty was able to do this not because he had a talented quarterback or an exceptional running back, but because he was coaching an offensive line that was as good at pass blocking as they were at run blocking.
It is a rare ability that coaches dream of and players seldom experience.
The Hurricanes offensive line not only had this rare ability but used it to dominate many of their opponents.
Fans in Northampton County will remember this season and talk about players like Lee and Turner for years to come.
As well they should.
I’m willing to bet however, when Lee and Turner talk about this season 10 years from now, they won’t talk about how fast they were or how many touchdowns they scored.
They will instead talk about Huff’s ability to pancake block at will or one of Robert’s vicious blocks on a linebacker.
They will remember the O-Line as one of the state’s best, and so will we.
I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya next week!