Jr Hornets Ready To Put On Masks; Facemasks That Is

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When it comes to the game of football, the Hackett Hornets seem to always possess the winning formula. A good case in point would be the 2019/2020 Jr High football squad. After taking on nine other skilled and fearsome teams last year, the Hornets finished their season with an impressive 8-1 record. Head coach for the Jr High Hornets, Jordan Shelby, likes to keep his players encouraged with the simple motto of “One Game At A Time”. “We like to put an emphasis on that saying and we make that “The Game” each week,” explained Coach Shelby. “If we take care of business each week, we will be where we want to be at the end of the season.”

With a roster full of returning top-end players, Hacketts Jr High team is a serious contender to win the conference this year. “We hope to build off what we did last year and have a successful season. We have had several 7th-grade players show up this summer as well so we hope for a promising year” said Coach Shelby. Some of the guys expected to play a big role in the upcoming season are Cole Ketchum, Dawsyn Clay, Eli Slavens, Charlie McNeill, Milus Houts, Danny Robinson, and Wyatt Hester. Slavens, who has been playing football his entire life, will be hitting the field this year as a wide receiver and cornerback. “The game has always had an impact on me personally,” says Slavens. “But the games I’m looking forward to are probably Mansfield or Charleston. Mainly because I know a lot of friends from those towns.”

The Jr Hornets kicking off last year

Also looking forward to facing the Charleston Tigers is offensive running back and defensive linebacker, Dawsyn Clay. “We take on Charleston on October 16. It was a good game last time we played them. We also lost that game last season so this time it’s time to change the outcome. Since we are playing on our home field this season, it should be an exciting atmosphere.” Although the Hornets will be moving up from the 2A to the 3A in football, Dawsyn and his teammates have zero concern. In fact, they’re excited about the challenge. “I think this year will be challenging considering we are changing to the 3A conference,” explains Clay. “Our coaches have worked this summer to get us prepared and ready. I believe we are going to do great. We have a great team and our hard work is going to show out on the field.”

The only thing that these Hornets fear is the inconsistency of the current pandemic situation. But even that fear is overcome by their positivity and passion to suit up in black and gold. “It’s an answered prayer that we even have a season,” adds Slavens. “Otherwise my 9th-grade year would be put away. I could never ask for more trustworthy, hard-working players on our team. We are putting in a lot of work because we want it bad. And I mean bad! Huge shoutout to all of our coaches for the proper motivation and coaching abilities to make us better and better every day. I could never ask for better teammates, coaches, and fans.” Agreeing with his teammate, Clay concludes, “I come from a big football family. My dad, my uncle, and cousins have all played football for the Hornets. I’m inspired to keep the tradition going. I love Hackett football, and the meaning behind it means a lot to me. We have a great fan base and awesome coaches.”

Last seasons Jr Hornets turning up the heat

When it comes to the Hornet football program as a whole, Coach Shelby says “We really try to focus on the fundamentals and put players in the best possible situation to succeed. We have had great numbers for summer workouts so we plan on being where we need to be to start the season.” As for the Jr High level of the program, Coach Shelby added “Our junior high program is very important to us as far as teaching the fundamentals and culture to make them successful for the future. Our kids have bought in and that translates to success on the field. Our junior high program is important because that is where we lay the foundation for them to develop into a successful program.”

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