California at Hallsville FNF Week Five
|8 / 22||Fayette||Away||Win||54 - 6|
|8 / 29||Salisbury||Home||Win||37 - 34|
|9 / 5||Southern Boone||Home||Win||34 - 14|
|9 / 12||Blair Oaks||Away||Win||42 - 28|
|9 / 19||California||Home||Loss||14 - 68|
|9 / 26||Warsaw||Home||Win||61 - 0|
|10 / 3||Versailles||Away||Win||49 - 6|
|10 / 10||Eldon||Away||Win||38 - 15|
|10 / 17||Osage||Home||Loss||20 - 38|
|10 / 24||Tolton||Home||Win||21 - 17|
|10 / 31||South Callaway||Away||Loss||0 - 61|
Hallsville is coming off a solid 6-4 regular season in 2013, and they'll try to keep the momentum moving forward this year with a new head coach, Ty Harrison. Players seem excited to play for Harrison and he has to be excited to get a crack at coaching a program like Hallsville.
With 17 starters returning, there's no reason Hallsville shouldn't have another successful year. Quarterback Joey Forge is coming off a season in which he passed for over 1,300 yards and 9 touchdowns. He's a dual-threat who also carried the ball 79 times. Look for him to make the most of his senior year and Coach Harrison is certainly counting on him to be a leader. His favorite targets figure to be senior wide receivers Kyle Borland (5-11, 165), Josh Todd (5-10, 165) and Brendan Smith (5-10, 160). Alex Peterson (5-10, 165), Taylor Vincent (6-2, 170) both juniors will also be in the mix. None of them saw a lot of consistent playing time last season, so Coach Harrison is counting on them to step up in 2014. All five have worked hard in the off-season and are excited to make their mark in Hallsville's spread offense. Senior Gabe Sheffield (6-2, 200) will start at tight end and should catch a few passes of his own.
The offense, however, will be led by a running attack featuring tailback Skyler Creed (5-10, 175). He is coming off an outstanding season in which he ran for nearly 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 260 yards. He is certainly one of the best players, if not the best, in the Tri-County Conference. The idea that he could be even better in 2014 has to strike fear in the hearts of opposing defenses and coaches. Other teams need also to be aware of power runner Austin Cochran (5-11, 215), a senior, out of the backfield.
Up front, Hallsville has an experienced offensive line, which is a big strength. Seniors Dillon Johnson (5- 10, 195), Alex Nelson (5-11, 250) and Mason McCaleb (6-3, 245) started last season and will again this year. Nelson was even named as an honorable mention to the All-Conference team. Jacob Wilhoite (5-9, 175) showed he can play on the line during summer workouts.
Coach Harrison said the offensive players have been "quick-learning" thus far, which he is obviously pleased with.
On the other side of the ball, Hallsville has a talented defense. In the defensive backfield, Creed will star when he's not carrying the ball. Last year he had an impressive 71 tackles and three interceptions on his way to being named 2nd team All-Conference. Fellow senior Kyle Borland was also named 2nd team All-Conference after recording 52 tackles and 3 interceptions at defensive back. They are a talented pair who will certainly keep opponents' passing attacks in check. Smith and Peterson are also expected to start at defensive back when they're not playing wide receiver. Like quite a few high school teams, Hallsville has plenty of two way players, so they must avoid injuries, because losing one player means losing two starters.
The linebacking corps will be led by senior Josh Todd (5-10, 165), who named honorable mention All-Conference last season after recording 66 tackles and an interception. Austin Cochran will also start at linebacker after recording 44 tackles there last season, as will junior Collin Drummond (5-11, 235). Drummond had an outstanding season in 2013, recording 117 tackles and 4 sacks before being deservedly named 2nd team All-Conference. Junior Garrett Vincent (5-9, 195) will also see some playing time at linebacker.
Up front, the defensive line will be led by three seniors: Dillon Johnson, Alex Nelson and Mason McCaleb. Johnson had 35 tackles and 3 sacks last season, while Nelson and McCaleb combined for 53 tackles. Junior Logan Lindsey will start at defensive end after a solid season in which he recorded 50 tackles and a sack. "I'm pleased that we bring back nine starters - experience is key," Coach Harrison said.
Hallsville should have another good season, though they play in a difficult conference, with the likes of Blair Oaks, California and Osage. However, with so much experience, look at them to improve upon last season's record.
Pigskin's Pick: 6-3