HUNDRED – In his third year at the helm at Hundred High School, Coach DJ Byrd believes his Hornets are ready to start putting a sting on opponents heading into the 2021 football season.
And while the numbers are down with a roster of just 20 players, Byrd feels that the players he does have will be ready to compete at a high level.
“Last year we had some numbers but no experience, this year things are kind of opposite,” Byrd said. “We are still a younger team with only four seniors and three juniors, but we have sophomores and freshmen that compete. I am also happy about the big eighth grade class we have coming up.
“Honestly, we have more experience than it looks like and as smooth as practices have been going, we are way ahead of where we were this time the last two seasons. I feel alright with the current numbers, even though we have lost 18 kids to graduation the last two years. This is the best off-season workouts we have had, and conditioning has been very strong.
“Strength, conditioning and knowledge of the playbook are all going to be important factors for us this season.”
Leading the way on offense for the Hornets will be junior, two-year letterman, Everett Johnson (6-0, 230) at quarterback. Hundred has a pair of three-year letter-winners at running back in senior Zach Wise (5-7, 195) and classmate Tyler Peters (5-7, 150) and also in wide receiver Dylan Ray, a 6-1, 180-pound senior.
The offensive line will be anchored by seniors Chris Rine (5-10, 250) and Isaac Price (5-10, 265) with the remaining three spots being operated by a combination of sophomores Frank Aracich (5-11, 340), Ayden Britton (6-3, 275), Abraham Cesci (6-1, 260), Mason Norris (6-1, 220) and Jacob Merrill (6-1, 215) as well as freshman Michael Peraldo (5-9, 215).
Also available at running back are junior Brandon Cosgray (5-9, 160) and freshmen Terry Greaver (5-7, 130) and Riley Halford (5-6, 125).
Remaining wideouts include junior Jeffery Morris (5-5, 120), sophomores David Morris (5-10, 150) and Seth Michaels (5-8, 130) and freshmen Braden Bartrug (6-2, 140) and Josiah Morgan (5-10, 140).
Just as with the offense, there are six returning starters on defense as well including Johnson, Wise, Cesci, Britton, Peters and Rine. Wise and Rine will both be at linebacker with Merrill while Cesci, Ray, Bartrug, Morgan, Jeffrey Morris, David Morris and Michaels will be in the defensive backfield. The offensive linemen will double on the defensive front with Johnson at linebacker and the remaining running backs and receivers in the defensive backfield.
Wise will handle the kicking duties while Jeffrey Morris will be the punter.
Bryd will be assisted by Rodney Huffman, Jason Morgan and Skylar Hickman.
“I believe we are looking better up front on both sides of the football and we are definitely more athletic in most spots compared to the last couple of years,” Bryd added. “We are actually going to be “sneaky” athletic. We honestly have to be better on defense to be successful and giving up 50 points a game is not going to fly this year.
“Our defensive IQ has to be knowing what the other team wants to do and to go out and make a conscious effort to tackle.
“The schedule is pretty much back to normal after playing some teams we normally wouldn’t play last year due to Covid. It is more familiar and friendlier to us this season. Last year was rough because we played a tougher schedule than we are used to and we didn’t have a single game where we had every starter available to us.
“We didn’t win a game last season, but I know we took some big steps forward and we are going to start to see the results of that this year. We started the year with 27 kids last year and due to injuries and such ended with 17, but we are going to be ready to go when we take the field this season.”