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Hart football: Challenges continue

Hart faces toughest opponent since opener against Tesoro

Posted: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

It hasn’t been the most straightforward start to the season for Hart football.

Two different quarterbacks have split time under center and the starting tailback has missed nearly two games with an injury.

One way or another though, the Indians (3-1) have found ways to win each of its last three games.

Now, Hart has a chance to head into Foothill League play on a four-game winning streak when it hits the road to face Birmingham High of Lake Balboa today at 7:30 p.m.

“It could be our biggest test (since the season-opening loss to Tesoro,)” said Hart head coach Mike Herrington. “They’re 3-1. It’ll be a situation where we’re facing a team with a lot of athletes.”

Birmingham (3-1) has outscored opponents by a combined 150-16 in its three wins, excluding a 34-12 loss to Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks last week.

Many of those points have come from sources outside the offense.

The Patriots have scored eight touchdowns on defense or special teams this season thanks to a plethora of speed and experience throughout the roster.

“I’m pretty confident with the talent that we have,” said Birmingham head coach Jim Rose. “We match up well with most teams.”

Senior defensive back Upton Jones has returned two interceptions for scores and has also returned a kickoff to the house.
Wide receiver Marcus Harris has added two punt return touchdowns of his own for Birmingham.

“We’ve talked about that a lot how they’ve capitalized on teams’ mistakes and that our special teams needs to be extra disciplined because they can return a kick at any time,” Herrington said.

At the same time, Birmingham will also have its hands full in keeping up with the Indians’ variety of weapons.

It starts with the two quarterbacks Cory Mayes and Connor Wingenroth, each of whom has made a fair share of plays.

While Mayes has mostly been a passer, Wingenroth has proven to be a viable runner, while also spending some time as a slot receiver and defensive back.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of his athleticism yet,” Herrington said of Wingenroth.

Despite missing time with a separated shoulder, running back Dylan Edwards has been as good as advertised for the Indians, amassing 311 yards on 34 carries to go with two rushing touchdowns and one receiving.

“Your goal is to stop their best players,” Rose said. “If you tried to stop every Hart play, you’d be practicing for a month.”

No matter who is under center, Hart’s success on offense has to begin with the offensive line, which has protected the quarterbacks well and avoided major injuries.

The group will have a challenge on their hands this week due to a size disadvantage with the Patriots up front.

Then again, Hart should be getting used to dealing with adversity the way this season has gone so far.


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