Hilldale Hornets Experienced from Injuries

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 4:47 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Aug 26, 2009 12:57 PM CDT

Gerald Goodridge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma – The Hilldale Hornets return 11 players from a 1-9 team. For most teams that’s not the kind of experience that you want returning, but don’t tell that to coach Don Hendrix.

“We started district play with seven starters injured; we had so many young guys playing. We competed, but not good enough to win,” said coach Hendrix. “We’ve got a lot of experience coming back. They’ve got a lot of experience that they wouldn’t normally have as sophomores.”

The Hornets return senior quarterback Luke Mills (5’11” 155lbs), but he’s not a shoe-in for the starting position. Competing with Mills is sophomore Dalton Cunningham, who brings a more speedy aspect to the backfield. The coaches may work with a two-quarterback system in order to keep them fresh throughout the game, especially since both play on defense.

The Hornets run the Wingbone offense, a hybrid of the Wing-T and the Flexbone. They have speed at their wing and tailback positions. Senior Morgan Nicodin (5’10” 160lbs) plays wide receiver and wing, and is an exceptionally fast runner. At the tailback/slot position, Hilldale has returning senior Dalton Pantle (5’9” 170lbs) and junior Josh Collum (5’8” 150lbs) sharing carries in the backfield.

Defensively, the Hilldale Hornets are changing their philosophy and system, moving from a 6-2 defensive alignment to a 4-4. This is in response to the growing number of spread offenses that they are facing.

The Hornets bring some talent to the new system, starting with their linebackers. Inside linebacker Dakota West (5’8” 210lbs) was the team’s leading tackler a season ago, with 128 total tackles. Joining him at the other inside linebacker spot is Dillon Farley (6’0” 210lbs) who, in six starts, accumulated 64 total tackles a season ago.