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Football season kicks off tonight as Heath hosts West Mesquite

HEATH – Are you ready for some football?

The 2011 high school football season kicks off tonight in Rockwall County when the Area’s 14th-ranked Rockwall-Heath Hawks host the 8th-ranked West Mesquite Wranglers in the Hawks second-annual “Ralph Hall Heritage Honor Before Victory” Classic at Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium in Rockwall at 7 pm.

According to Heath Head Coach Mickey Moss (shown above), with so many starters and lettermen back from last year’s 5-5 (2-5 District 10-4A) “rebuilding year” team, he and his Hawks have “high expectations” for the season and are excited for it to begin.

“If we play hard, we should win a lot of ball games,” he told TheRockwallNews.com yesterday.

Coach Mike Overton’s Wranglers had a big year in 2010, finishing 10-3, behind quarterback Trevon Boykin, advancing to the the Class 4A Regional Championship before losing to Wylie, 38-31.

Boykin graduated but 10 starters return in 2011, three on offense and seven on defense.

Tonight’s game will likely be a hot one, with game time temperatures expected to be 101 degrees, and even hotter on the field.

Coach Moss said his team has been learning to deal with the heat.

“Our practices thus far have been great but the heat’s been pretty brutal.”

Both teams will provide plenty of water and sports drinks for players.

On offense, the 2011 Hawks return 12 players who played in at least four games last year, including seven starters.

Senior quarterback Cody Court, who started three games last year and was 9-24 for 174 yards per game, with 3 TDS and 3 INTs, will lead what Coach Moss said should be a balanced running and passing game that should score plenty of points.

Last year’s team averaged a not-too-shabby 34 points per game, averaging 277 yards rushing per game and 87 yards per game through the air. But the defense gave up too many yards and points. Coach Moss said the Hawks defense should be much improved this year, which will make a big difference.

On offense, senior Jovan Hernandez and junior Jeffery Irokwe are experienced running backs who should lead the rushing attack, and senior receivers Amaris Fields and Clark Pope should catch plenty of passes.

One huge disappointment was the recent season-ending injury to senior guard Javier Gutierrez, who tore his ACL and is out for the season.

Coach Moss told the team’s supporters Tuesday night at Heath’s “Meet The Hawks” night that he will be greatly missed but will be “right there on the sidelines” supporting and cheering his teammates.

On defense, Coach Moss said 10 players played in five or more games last year, including eight returning starters.

Junior defensive linemen Jay Arnold, Jordan Points and linebacker Raaquan Davis should be “big-time players,” he said.

Linebackers Seth Nunnaly and Gentry Rogers, defensive  backs Mario Henderson and Dru Mayfield, plus defensive lineman Devonte Walker are all talented seniors with plenty of experience, he added.

Since Rockwall-Heath began competing in Division 10-4A football in 2006 with a record of 2-8, the Hawks have compiled a 32-13 record under Coach Moss, recording 7-3, 13-1, 7-4 and 5-5 seasons.

By J.J. Smith

 

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