EARLY — Kent Hawthorne is a man on a mission. The new head coach at Early, Hawthorne is not used to losing. In facing keen competition this coming season in District 3-2A Division I, Early is picked by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to finish a distant fifth, behind district stalwarts Wall, Bangs, Comfort and Brady.
“It’s definitely a rebuilding year,” Hawthorne said. “But I think anytime you come in with a whole new coaching staff, expectations will be high. They always are around here.”
Hawthorne’s Longhorns will begin the season by hosting perennial powerhouse Cisco, but don’t count on a blowout just yet.
“We might have a few new tricks up our sleeve,” Hawthorne said.
Quarterbacks Ryley Mitchell and Kwinton Reno return to vie for the top spot, spreading the field throwing to tight end Colin Walker and wide receiver Chase Riker.
With the changes in UIL regulations coming down the pike, two a days is unclear.
“I’ve always been different than the old school, three practices a day,” Hawthorne said. “We always like to do our practices in the mornings, back-to-back and get the kids out of here by noon so they can go to the lake, the pool, or to work, or whatever they need to do.”
The UIL is cutting down full contact to 90 minutes a week during the season to cut down on injuries. “We don’t do full contact until Wednesday anyway for 30 minutes on offense and 30 minutes on defense. You can’t beat your kids up or they won’t be any good on Friday night.”
Hawthorne’s last team averaged 62 points a game, and he plans on bringing a fast paced offense to this season’s Longhorns campaign.
“We have a style we call GAS. It’s a hurry up offense that uses the spread and multiple formations. It’s a no huddle blitzing all the time fast paced style. We play basketball on the football field.”
On defense, Hawthorne said that they will implement the 4-3 and 3-4.
Hawthorne calls his style of play controlled madness and it will keep the fans entertained and excited.
“Trick plays, onside kicks, we will have to do it all to compete against some of our rivals in the district,” Hawthorne said. “We will build our program into one to be reckoned with. I don’t want people to see that they are playing Early that week and pencil it in as an easy win for them. It won’t be.”