The heat was evident, but that did not stop the Hawks from having a fast paced practice. During the overtime drills, which occurred towards the end, the team’s energy picked up and they were cheering their teammates on every time they scored and whenever they got a defensive stop. There was no shortage of creativity and strength from the offense. After the Hawks 8-3 record last season, Coach Kevin Callahan has high expectations for the team this year.
Even with the loss of two star players, Reggie White and Vinny Grasso who accounted for 15 of the team’s 48 touchdowns in 2018, Callahan believes in his current players to fill that void.
“I have a lot of confidence in the guys that are coming up filling their shoes; guys like Lonnie Moore, Terrance Greene, Joe Aldarelli and Brandon Batts,” Callahan said. “I don’t think we are going to see much of a drop off because I told my team that I am not concerned about what we lost. What I am concerned about is what we have and who we have coming back.”
Quarterback Kenji Bahar, had a 2018 season that included 20 touchdowns, well over 2,000 passing yards and 143 rushing yards. The dual threat QB does not lack any confidence in the ability of his team for this upcoming season.
“We have guys who can make plays on both sides of the ball and obviously our backfield with Juwan, Pete and Devell,” Bahar said. “Since the Spring I think there was a lot of improvement, here and there just picking up blitzes and communicating as group and as a group I feel like there was great improvement.”
A point of emphasis for the Hawks is their defense. Fifth year Defensive Back Tymere Berry and Junior Linebacker Erik Massey are two leaders of the defense this year for the Hawks. They are both looking to take strides into becoming an improved defense.
“I just think that we are all more proactive in learning our playbook and just being where we need to be, so I believe that is where we improved the most,” Berry said.
“In the beginning of Spring it wasn’t up to par and as time went on we all improved along with collective energy, we’ve gotten better every day and we are for real now,” Massey said.
As players graduate from the program, new players get their opportunities. Callahan was asked the question of who we need to watch out for this upcoming season.
“A young guy, a freshman you need to look out for is Deandre Clifton,” Callahan said. “He plays the same position that Erik plays and he’s going to be quite a player.”
The Hawks are on a positive run and the team is confident about the 2019 season.
Article by Joseph Agius, Staff Writer