EARLY — A high energy level is what Early second-year head coach Kent Hawthorne expects to see as the Longhorns host the Florence Buffaloes in their first scrimmage of the season tonight. Junior varsity action is slated to start at 5 p.m. at Longhorn Stadium, with the varsity set to follow “shortly after,” according to Hawthorne.
Hawthorne and the Longhorns are coming off a 4-6 campaign a season ago, and this season Early is seeking its first postseason appearance since 2008.
“I want to see a lot of energy, I want to see them flying to the ball,” Hawthorne said of tonight’s scrimmage objectives. “My whole philosophy is if you know what to do you can play 100 mph. You can play fast if you keep it simple, so I want to see energy, electricity, flying, making plays, getting excited and having fun. We can fix all the little breakdowns that are going to happen, it’s only the second week and first scrimmage. We’re going to make mistakes, but let’s make them 100 mph. I want to see a lot of energy.”
Florence, a member of District 10-3A Division I, posted a 1-9 record last season, but Joey McQueen has taken over as head coach of the program. The Buffaloes are picked to finish last in their district by The Old Coach.com’s Friday Night Football magazine, behind Rockdale, Cameron Yoe, Lago Vista, Troy and Little River-Academy.
Florence runs a wing-T offense, which is assignment football,” Hawthorne said. “Plus they don’t give you a chance to breathe, they run what we call a sugar huddle, 3 yards from the ball, turn around and snap the ball as fast as they can. We’re not going to do a lot of adjustment, flip flop or any of that, just play our base defense. We just want to be more aggressive than they are.”
The Longhorns be taking their 4-2-5 defensive scheme, installed by new defensive coordinator Steve Fanara, on a test drive tonight, while Early offense’s is looking to blossom in the second season of the system Hawthorne brought with him from Refugio.
“Offensively, we’re in the second year of our concepts and we didn’t lose any of the offensive coaches,” Hawthorne said. “We’re so far ahead right now with what we have on compared to last year, we’re in middle of the year with our progression, which surprised me because we had more defensive starters back than offensive.
“I feel like we’re way ahead right now. We have a new defensive coordinator, a whole new defensive staff, lot of energy, coaches flying around, kids flying around. But it is all a new concept. There’s going to be some things that aren’t exactly perfect, but that’s what practice and scrimmages are for.”