By Howard Tsunamura, The Province, August 29, 2012
If the pass has seemed to set up the run all these years at Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Secondary, where the Hawks are perennial Subway Bowl Triple A title contenders, there appears to be a bit of a shift this season.
That much is apparent when the first facet of the Hawks’ 2012 roster up for discussion with longtime head coach Denis Kelly is the presence of four outstanding two-way linemen in Sheriden Lawley, Levi Hua, Stephen Munga and Nicholas Westad.
Subway Bowl finalists a season ago and No. 2 to open the new campaign, Kelly’s Hawks have the talent, as usual, to put the ball in the air. But a key offseason injury to versatile Brandon Barratt, and the abilities of senior backs Maleek Irons and Taylor Hinton, has the passing guru Kelly hinting things could be a little different.
“We are going to have a strong running game with linemen we have, and with Barratt (broken leg) being out the first part of the season, we will be relying on the running game,” said Kelly. “But I think we’re going to be pretty balanced in the end.”
The Hawks, who graduated a talented core including quarterback Daniel Markin, running back Devin Logan, receiver Deion Bain and linebacker Jake Heathcote to the next level, will march out senior pivot Mario Narte to run the offence.
“Mario is smaller (5-foot-6) but he throws a very good ball and he is one of the fastest guys on the team,” explained Kelly, whose team plays at Elmira (Ore.) on Friday, and will watch alumnus Boseko Lokombo play at linebacker for Oregon Saturday night in Eugene . “We’re hoping he can do the same kind of job Markin did last year.”
Clovis Lumeka, a Grade 11 linebacker, has been a standout in fall camp. Lumeka will back up Irons at tailback. Irons is also slated to start at one cornerback spot, whole Keenan Godden and Crysthian Rivas split time at the other corner. Backup quarterback Hunter Struthers starts at safety.