HERMON, Maine — Like explorers in a new world, the Hermon Hawks are building on the knowledge they gained last fall in their first season of varsity football.
“We’re a little bit bigger, we’re a little bit stronger than we were last year,” said coach Ken Frederick.
And they discovered they need to pay closer attention to what their opponents are doing.
“We’ve beefed that [scouting] up a little bit, too,” he said. “We’ve got some new coaches that are really putting a lot of effort into helping us out with that.”
Despite posting a 1-7 record in LTC Class C a year ago, new players have come out of the woodwork to play for the Hawks.
“We’ve got 46 kids this year and a very large number of freshmen,” said Frederick. “We’re encouraged by our young kids.”
He doesn’t plan on simplifying his offensive and defensive schemes in order to accommodate the new players. The coaches will work to get them up to speed as soon as possible.
“We’re staying with the same offense and the same defense, we’re just going to try to run [them] a little better this year,” Frederick said.
Hermon uses a pro set offense which allows alternative setups.
“We can run a split formation with our backs or I-formation with our backs, plus a little bit of West Coast [spread offense],” said Frederick.
The variations could be confusing for the Hawks’ opponents.
“I hope so,” Frederick said of possible confusion. “That’s what we’re going for.”
Junior Josh Wilson will start at quarterback, while Cody Reynolds and David Shepardson will be the starting running backs. Reynolds is a senior, Shepardson a sophomore.
Fittingly, the Hawks also have some fliers on the team, including wide receiver.
“Somebody to watch out for is Kyle Barnes. He’s brand new,” said Frederick. “He’s a sophomore who came from New York state.”
And senior Joey Martin will center, literally, the offensive line.
Hermon will feature a standard 4-4 defense plus three defensive backs.
“We can run all kinds of different things [out of the 4-4], and sometimes we’ll do a 5-3,” he said.
Frederick noted that several players stand out on defense.
“We’re real happy with the way [linebacker] Garrett McIntyre is playing,” he said.
Reynolds also plays defensive lineman for the Hawks.
“He’s doing pretty well for us,” said Frederick while also noting that Reynolds plays bigger than his size. “Cody’s about 5-[foot-]10 and 195 pounds of solid nails.”
Another player to watch is freshman Garrett Kipler, one of the defensive backs.
“He’s very fast and he likes to hit,” said Frederick, who will partner Barnes and Shepardson with Kipler at DB.
Bryce Hieftje is a sophomore but he’ll start at defensive end for Hermon. Quinten Wood, a junior, will play nose guard.
Frederick is sure that he won’t have to worry about 46 people getting enough playing time.
“We’re probably going to end up using everybody,” he said.
The players apparently are ready to push last year’s final record into the deep past.
“They’re fired up,” said Frederick. “Our kids are all excited. We’re hoping for bigger and better things this year.”
Dexter beat Hermon 20-6 Friday night in a mutual opener.
2011 results: 1-7 in LTC Class C
Head coach: Ken Frederick, 2nd year
Key players: Josh Wilson, QB, Jr.; Cody Reynolds, RB-DL, Sr.; David Shepardson, RB-DB, Soph.; Kyle Barnes, WR-DB, Soph.; Joey Martin, C, Sr., Capt.; Garrett McIntyre, MLB, Sr., Capt.; Garrett Kipler, DB, Fr.; Bryce Hieftje, DE, Soph.; Quinten Wood, NG, Jr.
Outlook: The second-year varsity team only graduated four players, but the Hawks will still be young. A total of 46 kids turned out, including a large number of freshmen, compared with 20 last year. Shepardson carried 102 times for 476 yards and five TDs last year, while Reynolds had 49 carries for 228 yards and a TD. Frederick will be counting on his offensive line to help generate points and his defense to stop the opposition. It may be too early to start thinking about playoffs, but the Hawks could be improved since they have enough bodies to keep fresh players on the field.