ELKINS, W.Va. – There is no way to describe the 2021 Elkins football team other than ‘new’.
It’s a new year, a new team, a new coach, and a new home field.
“I grew up playing on Wimer (Stadium), but this is a new start and I think we can do a lot with it,” said Tommy Williams, the Tigers senior fullback and linebacker.
“Everything is new. Every position is open. We have four guys going out for quarterback, none of them played there last year,” said new head coach, Jimmy Hankins. “So, it’s an exciting thing every day. You don’t know what you’re going to expect when you come out here. But it’s been a good thing so far.”
Hankins joins the Tigers after nine seasons as an assistant at Lewis County.
The 2020 Tigers won the first playoff game in program history. The senior-laden group made school history last season, but then all graduated, leaving behind just eight returning players, just 51 returning rushing yards, and zero returning points.
Yeah, it’s a new Tigers team this season.
“We started the week after (July) 4th, and basically have been on install ever since,” said Hankins. “So, it’s been like a five, six week process now of just putting things in, teaching fundamentals – stance and start and steps and all that stuff. We’re coming along pretty good, I like where we’re at right now.”
The Tigers roster will be made up of just ten upperclassmen. The leading returning rusher from last year is Isavir Sweezy.
“We always get talked down, because we always have nothing to start with. So, we got to make it as we go, and then get where we can,” said Sweezy.
Sweezy is one of just a handful of seniors that will look to teach this young group of tiger cubs how to achieve the unexpected.
“We’re telling everybody how it is, and how hard you have to work to make everybody’s goal come true,” said Williams. “Just how to work out and work as hard as you can, and make the playoffs again.”
All of the changes surrounding this program will make the 2021 season historic.
It’ll be the first season on the current football field, and the first season in the Hankins Era, which will get started on August 27 against Liberty.