Trojans are looking for a little payback in opener against Alba-Golden
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Aug. 30, 2007 - CUMBY - For the Cumby Trojans, revenge is on their minds heading into the season opener against the Alba-Golden Panthers Friday night at Trojan Field.
After a 7-6 loss to the Panthers last season in the opener, the Trojans went on to finish the season at 4-6 and lost three games by a total of four points.
"Last year, we moved the ball up and down the field against them and had twice as many yards against them and lost 7-6," Cumby head coach Kent Hawthorne said. "We had 16 penalties, and the one thing I have noticed with this bunch is they don't make the same mistakes that we have made in the past."
This year, the Panthers return Top 100 junior running back Ryan Young (5-10, 180 pounds, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash) - who ran for 1,890 yards and 15 touchdowns last year - and Hawthorne said Young is their main focus Friday night.
"We went and scouted them last Friday night. They have a kid named Ryan Young that can go at any minute," the coach said. "He is fast and elusive and he sets his blocks up really well. He also is a good cutback runner, good receiver and a good defensive back.
"I told our kids that he is the best back that we will see all year long. This team is beatable, and if we can stop Ryan then we feel like we have a good chance against them."
He said defensively the front seven needs to step up and contain the running style of Young and the passing of quarterback Austin Frye.
"I think we are sitting pretty good right now. I like our chances a lot this week and defense has been a big area of work," Hawthorne said.
"We hope the secondary won't be a factor in the game Friday night. We hope our lineman and linebackers can contain them at the line and hold on with everything they've got. Our secondary is about as experienced as we have ever been and hopefully we will be in the right place."
Hawthorne said going into the season opener, the players have been working hard during practices and during the first two scrimmages and now it is time to show up and play.
"The kids have been working hard. We are healthy at the moment and we would love to have more practices to work the kinks out and work on special teams getting lined up but time is up," the coach said. "We have got to show up and play, and I think we are ahead in some ways with this bunch.
"They are really eager to learn and are taking things seriously. We care about these kids, they are fun to work with, and we are excited about it starting off."
Offensively, the Trojans will open the season with sophomore quarterback Brixx Hawthorne, who is coming off a freshman season of nearly 600 yards and seven TDs rushing while throwing for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had a 47.8-yard per punt average.
With the first game of the year at home, Hawthorne knows a win in this game could set the team up in the right direction for the remainder of the year.
"All games are important to us, but the first game is very important because we would like to set the tone for the season," he said. "We are going to start seven sophomores this year and we hope that we can win those tight games this year."