HUNDRED - Following back-to-back 0-10 campaigns and with just four seniors on the roster, ninth-year Hundred coach Rex Rush decided it was time to throw everything out the window and start from scratch heading into the 2013 season.
So that is exactly what he did, and so far the veteran mentor is very happy with the results.
"The past couple of years nothing was working," Rush said. "So I decided we were going to change it all - the offense, the defense, conditioning and even how we practice. And so far it is going very well, the kids are working hard and there is an awful lot of hustle going on. It was a big move, but I felt it had to be done."
There is plenty of experience with a big junior class that received plenty of playing time as sophomores, and the ability for a young group to pick things up now and possibly pay big dividends this year and down the road.
There are plenty of returning starters with junior quarterback Brandon Armstrong (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) looking to guide the offense. Armstrong began the season as the QB last year, only to get injured in the first game. He did return for the final three contests, but Rush and his staff decided to move him to receiver to try to keep him healthy.
Twin brother Courtland Armstrong (6-0, 180) is back at receiver and is also available at quarterback should something happen to his brother. The other wideout is sophomore Andrew King (5-10, 155) with junior Logan Kuhn (5-9, 140) back at the slot.
Joining Brandon Armstrong in the backfield will be a pair of familiar faces in junior tailback Brandon White (5-8, 150) and classmate Hunter Goddard (5-10, 205) at fullback. White rushed for more than 500 yards last season, but will have a much bigger work load with Chris Varner graduated.
Varner, who participated in the OVAC All-Star game, rushed for 1,539 yards and 22 scores last year, averaging more than nine yards a carry and was the Main Man in the Hornets offense.
Senior Rocky Tennant (5-9, 185) is a four-year starter at left tackle on the offensive line and will welcome back two-year starter Joe Bradley (5-8, 265) at the other tackle, and returner Ethan Geho (5-11, 195) at one of the guard spots. The other guard will be first-year junior Davin Copeland (5-9, 165) and freshman Billy Mace (5-11, 260) is the center.
Junior Wyatt Metz (5-8, 130) is the backup at slot, but will be moved all over and can play just about anywhere on the offense. First-year senior Greg Stewart (6-1, 160) and sophomore Greg Jones (5-7, 130) can lend help at receiver, while junior Isaac Hornbeck (5-11, 170) and freshman Isiah Jobes (5-7, 140) are additional running backs.
Others on the line are senior E.J. Villers (5-11, 220), sophomore Hunter Goff (6-0, 195) and freshmen Phillip Carson (5-10, 250), Tyler Norris (6-3, 195) and Devan Kim (5-9, 170).
"We will run out of some different sets, but we are going to basically be a wing team under center," Rush said. "Running some buck sweeps and things of that nature. And on defense we are going back to the 4-4 we used to run. Like I said, everything is changing."
Tennant and Villers will be the tackles on the defensive side with Copeland and first-year senior Steve Morris (5-9, 170) are the defensive ends with White and Courtland Armstrong at middle linebacker, and Stewart and King on the outside. Kuhn and Metz will man the corner spots with Brandon Armstrong at safety.
Gheo and Goff are both available at end with Bradley, Carson and Mace at tackle, Jobes and Goddard at linebacker and Jones at corner. White will handle both the punting and kicking chores.
While there are 12 juniors on the squad, lost from last season along with Varner were J.P. Hennen, three-year lineman starter Tyler Koontz and do-it-all Isaac Efaw.
"Our junior leadership will be big, and we have a lot of it," Rush said. "But Rocky (Tennant) is a four-year starter who provides plenty of that as well."
There is a very rare scheduling quirk on the Hundred schedule as they will play a home-and-home with Hannan.
"We try to keep the schedule on a level that we play the same caliber teams as ourselves," Rush added. "But this season we are going to play Hannan twice. Unfortunately, Bishop Donahue dropped us at the last possible minute to play someone else and we quickly put feelers out trying to pick up a 10th game, but we didn't have anyone contact us.
"Hannan then called and said they were open the same week and had already checked with the SSAC about all the legalities and that if they played twice both games would count both in record and points so we signed the contracts and will play them twice this year.
"Then, after everything was finished, we had about 10 teams contact us about playing, but it was too late. We had already signed the second contract with Hannan."
Assisting Rush will be Dick Hayes and Greg Hostetler.
Steve Morris, Greg Stewart, Rocky Tennant, E.J. Villers.
Brandon Armstrong, Courtland Armstrong, Joe Bradley, Davin Copeland, Ethan Geho, Hunter Goddard, Isaac Hornbeck, Logan Kuhn, Wyatt Metz, Brandon White.
Hunter Goff, Greg Jones, Andrew King.
Phillip Carson, Billy Mace, Isiah Jones, Tyler Norris, Devan Kim.