Class 7A-7: Haines City Searching for Right Track
Thu. August 23, 2012 at 12:21 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
HAINES CITY players, from left, Eric Goll, Dacorius Law, Ryan Pynes and Tyler Wilson will try to return the Hornets to their winning ways. (Photo by ERNST PETERS | The Ledger)
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
HAINES CITY | Haines City football coach Pete Barber isn’t blowing smoke at anyone. He knows the Hornets have been chugging down unfamiliar lines, and he’s looking to put the program back on track.
“If you look down the (railroad) tracks you see consistency,” Barber said. “It’s nice, it’s level. All the boards are the same width apart. We haven’t done that for a while. We were solid every year with 7-3 and 8-2 records.”
The Hornets should encounter several unfriendly junctions lurking along the rails. Five of its first seven games are against 2011 playoff teams.
“That’s some tough sledding,” Barber said. “It’s the toughest schedule in Polk County.”
In order to load up and win each stop, the Hornets will fuel their offense with heavy lumps of junior running back Dacorius Law.
“He’ll be our featured back,” Barber said. “If we can give it to him 25 or 30 times a game, that’s what we are going to do. We’re going to be a run-heavy team with play-action and screens.”
Law won’t need a cowcatcher to move bodies out of his path. Barber feels the Hornets’ offensive line is deep featuring Tyler Wilson, Eric Goll, Alex Guy, Eddie Yeary, Grayson Moore and Tyce Nagel, with Jaderius Baxter at tight end.
“This is the first year in while that we may be very decent up front,” Barber said. “That could be the key to our offense and the power behind the train.”
When the ball is thrown, quarterback Ryan Pynes will be looking for his “go-to guy,” junior wide receiver Jack Tisdale.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a returning quarterback in a while,” Barber said.
If an obstacle appears on Haines City’s tracks, it may be injuries.
Like last season, the Hornets only expect to dress about 30 players.
“Some weeks, if the wind blew really good, we’d get about 32,” Barber said, adding the lack of depth crippled the Hornets in the second half last year in tight games against Winter Haven, Lakeland and Lake Region
Christopher Benitez is considered the precious cargo. The senior handles the punting, kickoffs and place-kicking duties.
“If we lose him, we lose three people,” Barber said. “It’s protect the kicker at all costs. He can switch that field position.”
Haines City At a Glance
Head Coach: Pete Barber, (5th season, 13-27).
Coaching Staff: Pat Herrington DC/DB, Olin Gee LB, Bill Brown OL/DL, Greg Pritchett RB, Terrance Comer WR, Billy Deeds QB.
2011 Record: 2-8.
Last time in playoffs: 2009, lost first round to Orlando Edgewater 29-8.
Home Field: Joe Stangry Stadium, Haines City.
(All games start at 7 p.m.)
Aug. 24 -- at Frostproof (Preseason)
Aug. 31 -- vs. Liberty
Sept. 7 -- vs. Winter Haven
Sept. 14 -- at Fort Meade
Sept. 21 -- at Lakeland
Sept. 28 -- vs. Kathleen
Oct. 5 vs. -- Ridge Community
Oct. 12 at -- Lake Wales
Oct. 26 at -- Lake Region
Nov. 2 vs. -- George Jenkins
Nov. 9 vs. Mulberry