WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wednesday night our Training Camp Road Trip began looking at the Wichita Falls ISD, with the Hirschi Huskies. They have reasons to be optimistic this year, despite last season's disappointment.
Coming into Danny Youngs's third season as head coach at Hirschi, the team has some talent returning this year. Coming off a winless 2015 season, the players are ready to get a win under their belt.
"One of the things that I think is the most positive is the amount of returning starters that we have," Youngs said. "The returning lettermen coming back to play on the varsity. We had a great summer workout, had a lot of numbers there. The kids are ready and they are fired up and ready to go. You go ten games without getting a victory, they want back on the field. They want a chance to go out there and compete and get a win."
The Huskies have some good skill players coming back, including their quarterback from last season, Mar'tez Vrana. The coaches and his teammates can see a difference, and they expect big things.
''He's been getting better," said junior defensive end Ezekiel Holmes. "After summer camp every day, he's been throwing with all the wide receivers. He calls the plays well and gets everybody in line."
"I think what a lot of people don't remember is that when Mar'tez was a freshman my first year here, he was about 5-foot-8," Coach Youngs said. "Now he's about 6-foot-1. He's never quit working hard, no matter what size he was. But he's just continued to grow. He hits the weight room as hard as any kid we've got. He gets out there after practice after summer camp and throws with the receivers. He works hard at his craft, and he doesn't need anybody out there to push him he will go out there on his own and throw 100 footballs if he has to."
The Huskies expect to be more balanced on offense this year, with an improved passing game.
"I know last year we had a pretty good offense," said senior running back and linebacker Roman Turner. "But definitely I look forward to having a better offensive line, which I do feel like we really have, [and] offensive receivers and backs. So I'm pretty confident. I have no doubt in my offense. I'm excited to see what we can do this year."
"We have high expectations of the offense," said Coach Youngs. "We return four starting offensive lineman. We've got our starting tailback back, our starting quarterback and three receivers back, so we've got a lot coming back over there. So the expectations are high. The kids would expect nothing less. They have high expectations of themselves, and we want to be solid in our running game. We want to run the football, but we've got to have some balance. And Mar'tez has worked really hard over the summer, and so have all these receivers too to help out our running attack."
Hirschi also has some good talent on defense, especially on the defensive line. The biggest improvement might be at linebacker, where the Huskies have some young players stepping into those roles, and they like what they bring to the team.
"I expect our defensive line and everybody on the defense to be better this year than last year," Holmes said. "Mostly all four of the defensive lineman are coming back, and we got three linebackers coming that are going to be good, they are not afraid to get hit or hit. And our secondary,I feel like is going to be better this year."
"I think everybody knows we've got returning starters in Zeke and Shawn Palmer," Coach Youngs said. 'But I think the biggest improvement is going to be the linebackers spot. We have three kids that started on the JV last year that went undefeated, starting at linebacker on the varsity. And they all three are very good athletes. They can run, they can get after the football, they are not scared hit, they are great in coverage and they will get up there and be physical too. And so their athletic ability, I think, is going to be a big plus on the defensive side of the ball."
The Huskies believe all the experience they got in 2015 will help them thrive this season. They will open their season Thursday night, August 25th, at 7 p.m., taking on Dallas Life-Oak Cliff at Memorial Stadium.
Thursday on Newschannel 6 at 6, we'll begin District 5-5A with the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes.
Hirschi Huskies 2016 Schedule
Aug. 25 vs Dallas Life (Thursday), 7
Sept. 2 at Waxahachie Life, 7:30
Sept. 9 at Graham, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Vernon, 7
Sept. 23 at Breckenridge, 7:30
Sept. 30 BYE
Oct. 6 vs Sanger, 7 (Thursday)*
Oct. 13 vs Decatur, 7 (Thursday)*
Oct. 21 at Burkburnett, 7*
Oct. 28 vs Argyle, 7*
Nov. 4 at Gainesville, 7*