If there was a reoccurring theme at the first day of fall camp for the Hatton Hornets, it was toughness. Maybe the word wasn’t thrown around a lot, but it was for sure the underlying message of the practice.
It’s fitting really, because for Hatton to improve on their 6-4 record last year by making the playoffs, they’re going to have to outtough opponents.
“It’s 100% true. The game has changed so much, we don’t do all three practices a day, bull in the ring or all that other garbage anymore. You have to be smart, but most importantly we have to be in shape,” Bowling said. “We’ve got to figure out who we are mentally, push ourselves to figure out if we’re going to be able to compete in the fourth quarter.”
With two weeks of practice before the week of the jamboree, and three before game week, the practices are wide open from a position standpoint.
“The offensive and defensive coordinators informed the kids that, we had a depth chart going in, but no spot is safe,” he said. “I don’t think there is any substitution for competition. I think some kids that came in today that thought their spot was secure had their eyes opened a little.”
One of the most interesting battles to come up has been at the quarterback spot. Coming out of spring, it seemed set that Joseph Crumpton would be the guy. However, a player that decided to play after spring, Trey Steadman, and a couple transfers, has added a little competition. Crumpton still holds the edge, but given that he is also a starting linebacker, a spot he has manned for three years, not having to use him every snap on offense and defense wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
“We have to look as a whole, what is best for the team. Joseph is a three-year starter at linebacker. If he’s playing there and taking every snap at quarterback, not saying he would, but you worry about him mentally hitting a wall,” Bowling said. “If there’s somebody that can step up and take that stress off him, then that’s what we’re looking for. We have to have a winner, someone that can take command of a huddle and demand that respect. Whether it’s an eighth grader or a senior, I really don’t care. Joseph has proven he can do that, but if we can have someone else prove they can do that, then so be it.”
Hatton runs a wing t offense, so passing the ball isn’t a big part. In addition to the leadership qualities, finding someone that can facilitate the ball, as well as someone that can use athleticism, maybe on option plays, would be a plus as well.
Hatton will take on Lawrence County August 23 in a jamboree. They will open their season at home against West Morgan August 30.