PREP FOOTBALL: Bulldogs ready to bounce back in McCain’s second season

The Hanceville Bulldogs will open the season on the road against Sumiton Christian Friday, Aug. 23rd. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – With a solid-sized senior class missing from last year’s team, including several that are gearing up to play at the college level, the Hanceville Bulldogs and Head Coach Cody McCain are looking to fill spots all over the field.

“It was about a 10-man senior class and I think eight of those guys were starters. We’ve got a lot of young faces out there this year and we’ve only got two seniors on the team. It’s a majority ninth, 10th and 11th grade team so we’re very young, but we’ve got a pretty good-sized junior class and a lot of those guys got playing time last year,” McCain said. “So, it is a small senior class, but the junior class is big and got experience as 10th graders so we’re having to treat them like they’re basically getting two senior years. They’ve got to be our leaders for two years in a row.”

After playing a few games last year, McCain decided he wanted to switch things up a bit on the offensive side of the ball and he expects that trend to continue in the 2019 season.

“About three or four games into last season we kind of adjusted what we were doing offensively and went to more of a true spread kind of offense. Down the stretch last season, we were throwing it 20-25 times a game and I imagine we’ll be 25-plus this year just because of personnel,” McCain said. “We’re a little thin up front as far as our linemen goes so we’ll try to spread it around as much as possible. We feel like we’ve got decent speed on the outside so we’re going to try and get the ball to those guys and let them do their thing.”

The disadvantages that come with an inexperienced team are relatively obvious but there are some positives that come with a young group as well. McCain wants to take advantage of those positives and mold this year’s roster into a competitive team.

“The advantage is that they should all be young and hungry. They shouldn’t have developed a lot of bad habits and they should all be eager to compete. The thing that I like about having young guys out there is for the most part they are pretty eager to learn and they’re a little more accepting of coaching when you get on to them and try to correct mistakes,” McCain said. “To me the biggest thing even more so than the experience factor is getting them to play without fear. The fear of messing up, the fear of being smaller than the other guy and those types of things. We’ve kind of identified three of four of those guys that are ready to get past that stage and we’re just trying to bring the rest of them up with us.”

With a lot of new faces on the field this year, McCain is excited to get things kicked off and believes that a fast start will be critical to the Bulldogs having a good season.

“It’s basically a new team from last year. Not just because of the seniors that left but we’ve had seven or eight guys that chose not to come back from last year and we’ve added a handful of guys that didn’t play so there’s a lot of turnover on the roster,” McCain said. “Maybe that comes from trying to establish more of how you want things done as far as requiring them to work out and watching their attendance and the kind of stuff, so I think the mentality for those guys is to come out and compete and we feel like for us to have a chance at a good season, we need to come out of the gate pretty strong. We have three county games in the first four or five weeks of the season so for our guys it’s important to come out fast. We play Fairview, Holly Pond and Vinemont kind of in that first month of the season so that’s going to be a big stretch of games for us if we want to have a chance at a good year.”

The Bulldogs will play several of their most important games on the schedule before October so the pressure will be on right out of the gate. With a lot of new names hitting the field after a disappointing 2018 season, Hanceville will be hungry to bounce back and right the ship in 2019.

Hanceville (Class 3A, Region 5)

2018 record: 1-9 (0-6)

2018 opponents record: 59-50

Averaged 17 points per game, allowed 38 points per game.

0-5 record on the road, 1-4 record at home, defeated Sumiton Christian 48-14 at home in week one.

Cody McCain entering second season as head coach.

Departing Seniors: R.J. Evans, Antonio Bautista, Romael Simmons, Fred Ellis, Colin Long, Logan McKee, Tristan Vincent, Tristin Cornelius, Nicholas Miller, Corleone Johnson, Micah Sargent, Austin Garrison.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 23r – @ Sumiton Christian

Aug. 30t – vs. Fairview

Sept. 6t – @ J.B. Pennington *

Sept. 13t – @ Holly Pond *

Sept. 20t – vs. Vinemont *

Sept. 27t – @ Curry

Oct. 4t – vs. Midfield *

Oct. 18t – @ Fultondale *

Oct. 25t – vs. Locust Fork *

Nov. 1s – vs. Good Hope

Don Fewell Photography

Hanceville Varsity Cheerleaders

Anna Tidwell, Chandlar Brown, Janiya Burnett, Mary-Grace Fuller, Raenon Rider, Abby Sharp, Nadia Bennefield, Dynasia Simmons and Katie Lee. Breanna Ballou – Co-Captain and Shayla Day – Captain

2019 Hanceville Football Roster

No.      Name                          Grade

1          Tai Edwards               11

2          Brodie Malcom           11

3          Zack Campbell            9

4          Angel Cortez               11

6          Brandon Huckaby       10

7          Allen Huckaby            11

8          Logan Guthery            11

9          Garrett Riggs               11

10        Brosnan Ward             9

12        Preston McDonald      9

13        Joseph Bautista           11

14        Trevor Shadden          11

15        Bo Joles                      11

24        Robbie Curtis              11

32        Preston McClerren      10

34        Malcom Delgado        9

35        De’Yonte Young        9

40        Tommy Cook              9

26        Ethan Driver               10

50        Karsen Wilbanks         11

52        Will Akin                   12

53        Brandon Griggs           12

54        Jackson Drake             11

55        Caleb Goodwin           10

56        Payton Bailey              9

58        Dalton Wood              10

62        Dan Tarvin                  10

64        Kelson Moore             10

65        Jose Benitez                11

75        Marvin Gonzalez        10

76        Noah Clark                  10

78        Kendrick Johnson       11

79        Stephen Ratliff           9

92        Brody Abbott              9

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