The Bearcats are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 93-22 for an almost picture perfect start to coach Daryl Hamby’s second season at the helm.
Friday night that start could get even better.
Weaver faces fellow unbeaten and ninth-ranked Glencoe Friday at home. Not only would a victory make the Bearcats’ start much better, but it provides the chance for the Bearcats to put themselves among the region’s elite.
“That’s what I told our guys,” Hamby said. “This is the game where we’ll get to see where we’re at.”
In last season’s 35-7 loss, Glencoe (3-0) dominated the Bearcats in an intense — often chippy — and emotionally volatile ball game.
Former standout running back Quinatta “Toot” Jones was ejected in the first quarter after he was whistled for a second personal foul, following a shoving match with a Glencoe player after a play. Former standout lineman, Tevin Heath, who signed with Huntingdon College, went out with a knee injury after being hit low on a play on which the Yellow Jackets were penalized for an illegal block.
“We’ve grown up a lot,” Hamby said. “We got out of that game early — mentally and physically. They just kicked our butts last year. No excuses. We let them get to us a little bit. “Now, I think we know how to handle that, make decisions and be prepared for the rest of the season.”
Glencoe is coming off a 7-6 win against Class 2A Sand Rock, and the Yellow Jackets started the season with blowout victories against White Plains and J.B. Pennington.
The Bearcats went 5-5 and qualified for the playoffs, securing the fourth berth in the region, after going 0-10 in 2009. Led by then freshman quarterback Timothy Hawkins and a slew of young talent, they were bounced by eventual state finalist Hamilton on the road in the first round.
This year they seem to have picked up right where they left off.
Junior Brandell Massey has led them in rushing the past two weeks. He carried the ball 10 times for 133 yards and three scores in a 39-7 win against White Plains and gained 109 yards while scoring once on 10 carries in a 36-0 shutout against J.B. Pennington. Sophomore Chris English has scored seven touchdowns, including four last week and another on defense in Week 1.
“I think we just try to take what the defense gives us,” Hamby said. “If they’re keying on Brandell, then we can go to Chris English. We’re trying to get our passing down — that’s going to be important. Last year, we were (all) Toot Jones and maybe a little Chris English. This year, we’ve been able to add to that.”
Defensively, the Bearcats have given up just two first downs in the past two weeks.
While the performances have been strong, Hamby said he hasn’t had to do much in the way delivering fiery speeches to motivate his players to face the Yellow Jackets.
“We’ve had a great week of practice and great focus,” he said.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.