IOWA PARK, Texas (TNN) - After having one of the worst starts to the 2018 season, going 1-5 in the first six games, the Iowa Park Hawks bounced back in a big way winning eight straight games and taking them all the way to the state semifinals.
Our Blitz on Six preseason preview heads to Iowa Park where the hawks say they aren’t getting ahead of themselves after last year’s historic run.
“I would think normally that would be the case but we had such a bad start to last year that I think everybody is fired up and excited and ready to play those first few games," Iowa Park head coach Aubrey Sims said.
“Even though we did finish really high last year, we aren’t going to take that for granted," Iowa Park senior lineman Ryder Roberts said. "We are going to work just as hard going into the end of the year, coming into this year.”
After making the schools first trip to the state semis since 1970, head coach Aubrey Sims said he learned it’s not how you start but how you finish and the Hawks are ready for a fast start this year, with a lot of star power returning from an offense that averaged more than 32 points a game during the playoffs.
The leader of that offense is quarterback Trent Green, who returns for his senior year after throwing for just over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns and the Hawks say he is already firing on all cylinders.
“First kid I’ve had in a long time that has started all three years," coach Sims says as he enters his 6th year with the Hawks. "I can’t think of one that I have had. He knows the offense inside and out, he’s corrected me a couple of times when I’ve got some things wrong.”
“Trent’s been here for three years, I’ve been here for three years," Iowa Park seniors WR Kaden Ashlock said. "I know how he’s going to throw the ball, he knows how I’m going to run my routes so I feel like that jells good.”
“He’s looking very strong at the beginning of this year," Roberts said. "Beginning of last year he got hurt and he had a few games he had to miss, so coming in he was a little slow at the start and I feel like at the end of last year he was at his peak and I feel like he is picking it up just as good as he was at the end of last year.”
But the real key for the Hawks will be the defense.
Last season, the Hawks gave up 24 or more points in all but one loss and with less than half of the defense returning, Iowa Park will need some new men to step up.
“It’s going to be a lot different, we lost all three of those linebackers, we’ve got nine guys trying to play those three positions," coach Sims said. "We’ve got a lot of competition in our secondary which I think will make us better and I think we will have a lot more depth than I thought we would.”
“Defense is going to be important because our offense, I think our offense will be good, but our defense needs to be just good enough to allow our offense to score points," Ashlock said.
Because the Hawks went almost as far as a team can go in the playoffs, they played five extra games last season, which gives those players great game experience heading into this season.
But Roberts says those extra games will help the older players be better leaders as they try to get Iowa Park back to the promised land.
“I feel like that is going to help us a lot at the beginning because we can help out the people that do need to come out and step up that didn’t play last year," Roberts said. "Also, it will set the bar higher for us to get better even though we played last year.”
IOWA PARK SCHEDULE
Week 1: F 8/30 @ Holliday 7:30pm
Week 2: F 9/6 vs Brock 7:30pm
Week 3: F 9/13 @ Burkburnett 7:30pm
Week 4: F 9/20 vs Sweetwater 7:30pm
Week 5: F 9/27 @ Mineral Wells 7:30pm
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: F 10/11 vs Graham 7pm
Week 8: F 10/18 @ Vernon 7pm
Week 9: F 10/25 vs Aubrey 7pm
Week 10: F 11/1 vs Bridgeport 7pm
Week 11: F 11/8 @ Krum 7pm