Hawley went 10-3 last year and won the District 3-2A Division I title with a 5-0 mark, but coach Mitch Ables believes his Bearcats will be even stronger this fall. Hawley returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense.
The Bearcats’ strength will be its skill positions, led by wide receiver/defensive back Kason O’Shields and running back/linebacker Austin Cumpton, who are both important two-way performers.
“O’Shields plays a key role on all three phases of the game,” Ables said. “He is a playmaker for us on special teams and offense.”
O’Shields caught 49 passes for 598 yards and 10 touchdowns, recorded three interceptions and returned 26 kicks for 40 yards and one score.
Cumpton was Hawley’s leading rusher with 165 carries for 1,295 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also one of the team’s leading tacklers.
Spearheading the Bearcats’ defense are defensive lineman Corley Williams, defensive end Sone Cortez and wide receiver, outside linebacker Will Scott.
“Will has a great nose for the football on defense,” Ables said of Scott, who led the team with 82 tackles and three interceptions. Cortez had five sacks and 14 tackles for losses.
“Corley is a strong, speedy defensive lineman,” Ables added. “We look for him to continue to penetrate and cause problems for opposing offenses.”
Rodey Hooper is expected to take over at quarterback. He started several games late last season, and Ables believes Hooper will be a dual-threat quarterback.
Ables is also counting on contributions from OLDL Bradley Strickland, CB Marc Salas and WR/CB Chandlin Myers.