HERMITAGE, OH (WYTV)-Hickory has been able to handle a lot. They have won four straight District ten titles, but the one thing they haven’t been able to handle, getting a state title.
“Our guys have that taste, we were a couple seconds short, a couple points short of reaching the promise land and that has driven them all year, all offseason and up to this point,” said Hickory Head Coach Bill Brest about losing to South Fayette last year in the PIAA semifinals.
The Hornets have another chance at the promise land this season. A date in the PIAA, AA quarterfinals with Tyrone this Saturday.
“Both teams have athletes, but I think this game is going to come down to the big boys up front on both sides of the ball for both teams. I think whoever wins the battle up front will win the game,” says Brest.
But big might be a stretch for Hickory. Their offensive and defensive lines are not the biggest you’ll see, but what they lack in size, they make up for in speed, and technique.
“We are really quick on the offensive line, like you said we are not very big at all, but when we get it going, we know we can move people because we can get lower and we are faster than they are,” says senior linemen Austin Aikins.
“Going against Cardinal Mooney in our first scrimmage to now, they have grown by leaps and bounds, they keep doing the fundamentals and working on their technique in practice, that is where we have seen their biggest growth,” said Brest about his offensive line.
It is the defense that has shined brightest for the Hornets. The group has only allowed nine point five points per game this season.
“We are all athletes on defense. We have a great front seven, if not the best in the state,” said Aikin
“We really need to cause some turnovers this game, and if we cause two or three, I think that can change the game dramatically,” said senior kicker and defensive end Jordon Wombacker.
“We told our defense, to get to where we want to be, the defense has to carry us. And they have, and we are extremely proud of our defense and they are going to have to step up again this week,” Brest says.
Their quarterfinals matchup with Tyrone is Saturday in DuBois at 1 o’clock.