Hamshire-Fannett kickin’ at the door in 2019
The late "Bum" Phillips once said after a tough playoff loss to the Pittsburg Steelers "this year we knocked on the door, next year we're gonna to kick it in". The Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns have the same feeling coming into the 2019 season after finishing fourth last year in District 10-4A.
H-F had two tough losses last season to intra-district rivals Liberty (35-38) and Silsbee (27-28) and even took district champion West Orange-Stark to the fourth quarter before losing 10-34. The Longhorns return 18 lettermen and seven starters on both sides of the ball, they are primed for a district title run.
"We bring a lot of depth this year," said second year coach Mark Waggoner.
"It's a tough district, the main thing is the 'buy in' is there. Last year we crossed some hurdles in playing Silsbee, West Orange-Stark, and Liberty. We're over the doubts and expectations are high."
Leading the charge will be returning district offensive player of the year Marcus Morris. The senior quarterback had 1,000 yard seasons in passing and rushing and will have weapons in WR's Garrett Picou (2022) and Tahji Edwards (2020). The Longhorns also bring back a deep front line led by three year starting center Layne Berry.
"Marcus is our leader, he's a terrific kid, very coachable," said Waggoner.
"We bring back seven starters on offense, we'll be better at wide receiver and our line is a question mark but we have more depth at that position."
Defensively H-F is led by junior safeties Evan Viator (FS, 103 tackles, 4 INTs) and Anakin Hall (SS, 99 tackles) who lead a pack determined to stop the ball in 2019.
"We've got Mason Stutes stepping in at linebacker, Blake Briggs is going to join the D-Line, we're going to move Kyle Saurage to inside linebacker. The defense is going to be pretty outstanding."
The test for H-F will be the last three weeks where they play at Liberty (10/18), host Silsbee (11/01), and travel to West Orange-Stark (11/08).
The door is cracked open, will it be kicked in or slammed shut?
PODCAST: Mark Waggoner of Hamshire-Fannett Football