Prep football season kicks off

Published 2:00 pm Friday, August 20, 2010

The 2010 prep football season kicks off this week for those teams that participate in the MHSAA Classic games.

And that includes three of the four local squads.

Hancock hosts Pearl River Central Friday, while Poplarville hosts Columbia as well. Picayune will wait a week before opening at Moss Point.

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The Hawks-Blue Devils game will be the debut for new PRC head coach Eric Collins.

Two seasons ago, in his first game as head coach of the Hawks, David King led Hancock to a win over Stone County to snap a long Hancock losing streak.

On Friday, Collins hopes to turn the tables on King and the Hawks and guide PRC to a win that would end a 14 game PRC losing streak.

“I know that’s where Brett Favre went to school, and that’s about all I know about Hancock,” Collins said, after leading the Blue Devils through a brisk practice Wednesday afternoon. “But several of our assistants were here last year when the teams met, and that has been a big help in preparing for this week.

“But the bottom line is, this team went 0-11 last year. And we have to be more concerned with what we are trying to do than who we are playing.”

Hancock started PRC’s winless season last year with a 28-7 win in Carriere in a driving rain storm.

“They are always big and strong,” King said, of the Blue Devils. “We don’t know much about them and you never know about rivalry games, so that make them dangerous.”

The Hawks will be without what was supposed to be one of their main offensive weapons, Dertick Goff, a junior and expected starting running back left school and moved to Michigan. Goff had seven touchdowns and 450 all purpose yards in 2009.

The Blue Devils hope to rely on the quickness of speedy Bryce Spence offensively at running back, as well as guard Alex Currie and receiver Zach Mitchell,

Defensively, PRC will rely on end Randy McDonald and linebacker Adam Stockstill.

The Hawks have a new offensive coordinator in Stu Rayborn, fresh off a Class 4A state title at St. Stanislaus. It is expected he will bring with him the wide open, spread offense attack the Rocks have run the past five years under his guidance.

Hancock will look to new quarterback Aaron Ladner to replace three year starter Keagon Gillihan, and  Alex Jackson will attempt to fill the void left by Goff’s departure. Defensively for the Hawks, end Leland Elchols and corner Zach Craft should be accounted for at all times.

“We want to get a good rhythm going and see what our strengths are,” King concluded. “We put in a new system and want to test what our limits are.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Brett Favre Field.