It is truly a new era at Hanover High School.
There’s a new activities director, new head coach, new quarterback, and even a new backfield. It’s time to find out how the Hawks fare in the post-Sam Rogers era.
But there’s more missing than the now-Virginia Tech fullback. Receiver/defensive back Donte Haynesworth roams the secondary at Norfolk State. L.J. Jones runs the ball now at Morehead State, and Andrew Knizner is prepping for baseball at N.C. State.
Derek Stoudt was promoted from offensive line coach to head coach when Josh Just became activities director in July, replacing the retired Robert Stratton. Who will Stoudt entrust the offense to in the Hawks’ 2013 debut Friday night at Patrick Henry?
It begins with quarterback Korbin Bordonie. Stoudt said the 5-foot, 11-inch senior has worked very hard all offseason to make the most of his opportunity.
“The things we’ll ask Bordonie to do are different than what we’d ask Sam to do,” Stoudt explained.
He’ll throw to the likes of senior Josh Harris, plus Tabb Patrick and Ryan Mallory. His allies in the backfield will be Rayvon Birden and Brooks Coombs, who Stoudt describes as a “two-headed monster.” The plan is to give the ball to the hot hand, so the leading rusher could change from quarter to quarter, from week to week.
The linebacking corps may be the core strength of the Hawks’ defense as Brennan Gary returns with Christian Unger to lead a very experienced group onto the gridiron. Stoudt also exudes excitement about his defensive line, calling them “very strong.” Terrence Brooks returns after a sterling 2012 season, joined by Tanner Lacey, Kevin Sisson and Blake Johanson.
The secondary will feature speed in the two-way Harris plus Glenn Bowen and Bilal Benjamin. It won’t be the biggest defense in Hawks history, but they’ll hit and they’ll fly to the football.
The day after Stoudt was named head coach, the Hawks took off for a scheduled camp visit at Hampden-Sydney College. It gave Stoudt and his staff a few days to help the 2013 Hawks get used to the new hierarchy, and the players hit the ground running.
Yes, Hanover lost a lot of talent. But the cupboard is in no way bare. A winning season is likely, and in the new Class 4A of VHSL reclassification, their biggest area obstacles come playoff time are Dinwiddie, who is in the mix to make a run to the state 4A title, and Glen Allen, if they come of age in their third season of varsity football. They may not play in December, but Hanover will take the field in the familiar surroundings of mid-to-late November.
Right now, Stoudt doesn’t care about any of that. His focus is on Friday’s opener at Patrick Henry at 7 p.m.
“I feel very good about what we’re bringing back,” Stoudt said. “Patrick Henry will be coming for us. They have athletes. It’s going to be a good test.”