LOST CREEK, W.Va. – As we continue our 2020 high school football previews series, we turn our attention to the South Harrison Hawks.
South Harrison returned to the playoffs in 2019 after a one-yer postseason absence. But the Hawks have graduated a number of key seniors since last season’s end, including a trio of collegiate football players.
“You can never replace those guys when they leave, somebody else just has to step up,” said South Harrison head coach Chris Underwood. “People have stepped into some roles that they’ve never played before.”
Replacing the likes of Landon McFadden and Jaren Robinson will be a largely young group of players.
The Hawks have just six seniors on this year’s roster, and only two have started a game at the varsity level before.
One senior is newcomer Justin Herrod.
justin herrod : “I remember going to a game, and I remember watching. I was like, ‘Man, I really miss this game.’ Because, I played in middle school and I was like, ‘Man, I really miss this sport a lot,'” Herrod said about not playing high school football until now, his senior year.
“I seen on the field that they were the all-stars, they could play and they were leaders, and you could tell they all came together as a team and they played ball. And that’s what we need to do this year, and we just need to follow in their footsteps,” he added about the leadership he saw out of the seniors on last year’s team.
The Hawks, like a number of Single-A programs around the state, are smaller in roster size than they were a year ago. But that means younger players have an opportunity to get playing time right away.
That includes sophomore quarterback Caden Davis.
“Those younger kids have stepped up and embraced the roles in which they need to contribute to where they’re at right now,” said Underwood.
But older players like Hunter Bunch and Kaden Ryan will be expected to lead the way, and set the example.
South Harrison opens the season on Friday, Sept. 4 at home against Liberty.