It’s that time of year when spring games start running rampant, allowing local football die hards to get a small taste of what is to come this fall.
Hatton was the first team from Lawrence County to play theirs, hosting Cherokee Monday night.
For all intensive purposes, it was a big success.
The Hornets rolled to a 28-0 lead in the first half, which is the varsity portion, and finished with a 44-6 win.
Head coach Denton Bowling, who’s been coaching the Hornet’s top tier softball program, played the role of an observer Monday night, observing from the press box and allowing his assistant coaches to take over the reigns.
“I’ve been able to be out there a few days (of practice) and I’ve played catch up with some of the coaches in the morning. That’s just what we have to do here,” said Bowling. “Hats off to them and coach (Zane) Crumbley for stepping up and doing a great job.”
It was a small sample size, but Bowling still liked what he saw from his team Monday night.
“Seeing what we’ve got, we’ve done well in the weight room. I think that was evident tonight and I wanted to see where we stood,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of depth and that part could be crucial if we go through the injury situation that we went through last year.”
Hatton’s varsity dominated in the first half. Ridge Harrison scored the first touchdown on a jet sweep and set up the second touchdown, a 32 yard score from Carter Reed, off a long pass reception.
Quarterback Joseph Crumpton found Jaxon Mitchell for the third score and Nichalos Dunlap scored the final touchdown of the first half.
The Hornets rolled to a final score of 44-6.
One of the best performances came from newcomer Ridge Harrison, a soon to be junior who is playing football for the first time.
The basketball star made big plays on the ground and through the air on offense, as well as making several tackles on defense.
“We don’t put a lot of emphasis on the spring game as far as winning or losing, we just want to get kids on tape against a different color helmet. We have a touch chart that we follow because we want to see kids with the ball in their hands,” Bowling said. “He’s an explosive athlete. He’s a great basketball player and anytime you can bring someone in that’s a multisport athlete it’s big for us. The most impressive part for me was I saw him make two great tackles, and to take a kid who hasn’t really done this before and see him be physical, it’s a good sight to see.”
The Hornets had a couple different players take snaps at the quarterback spot, as they look to try and replace the departed Slade Berryman.
Joseph Crumpton and Kaiden Taylor both took snaps and made big plays. Instead of there being a quarterback battle, the position will be more by committee.
“I don’t know that there’s really a battle. We wanted to see some things and see how they handled situations,” Bowling said. “Joseph completed some passes tonight, he’s probably better in the running game, and Kaiden ran the ball well and he’s probably better in the passing game. Each situation calls for different things and I couldn’t be more pleased with those guys considering they’ve had two weeks to work at it.”
But with all that aside, everyone knows the Hornet’s strength will come in the trenches.
Led by division one prospect Gage Saint, the Hornets are big and strong up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage and it showed Monday night.
“We’ve got to clean some things up because that is going to be our strength but these players and coaches have done a good job,” Bowling said. “We’ve got to be clean and crisp up front and be able to hammer people, and I was pleased to see some things like that tonight.”