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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sr Hornets Will NOT Be Overlooked In 2021

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

Moving up in conference is not easy for any program. The Hackett Hornets faced that uncertainty in their future as they moved from being 2A to 3A in 2020. They didn’t just land in some normal 3A division either. They were paired up with the ever-powerful 3A-1. The shakeup in the Hornets Nest was noticeable on their schedule as they traded JC Westside for West Fork, swapped Magazine for Mansfield, and jumped from the Wildcats of Hector to the Tigers of Charleston. But the Hornets were moving up not only in conference but as a program too. Hackett not only competed in the 3A-1 by giving their opponents all they could handle, they even made the State Playoffs.

“The 2020 season was a very interesting one. We moved into 3A for the first time in school history,” explained Coach Michael Meador. “Then COVID hit and we weren’t even sure if we were going to have a season. Then getting quarantined for two weeks and trying to start back up. I was proud of the guys for continuing to show up and work hard even when the football season was up in the air. They proved that hard work pays off by making Hackett Hornet football history with winning a playoff game for the first time in school history in the 3A.”

But the 2020 season was a first-year fluke for the 3A-1 greenhorn rookie Hornets, right? Wrong. Hackett played mostly with a young roster last season who proved they were ballers no matter their age. Those players will be returning this season with more experience, a chip on their shoulder, and hungry to tear up the field. Offensively, Hackett will return key components of their aerial assault package from 2020. Returning at quarterback will be Ethan “Superman” Slavens threw for 1,869 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. Slavens laser-like precise passing backed up by a powerful arm is poised to create some serious headaches for defensive coordinators this season. Hackett will also return star wide receiver Peyton Hester who pulled in 57 catches last season for 1,043 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hester is not only sure-handed with catching the ball, but his after-the-catch skills are also uncanny as he makes it look easy to slip past would-be tacklers like a greased pig.

Slavens and Hester are on everyone’s “must stop” list for sure. But what opponents really need to watch for is the depth of Hackett’s receiving core. Logan Slavens, Wyatt Hester, Dawsyn Clay, and Kamron Elkins are solid athletes and will be ready to destroy defenses if defenders focus all of their attention on Peyton Hester. At the running back position, Cogan Hester will be the workhorse of the running game but is a dual-threat as a potential backfield receiver. The proof of his catching ability was solidified after catching three touchdown passes against Lavaca last season.

Then there’s the Hackett Hosses. The Hornets may have the most experienced line in the conference this year. You don’t get any yards without winning the battle in the trenches and Hackett definitely has that down packed. Three-year starter, center, Isaiah Carter, returns to anchor the line. Mason Oelke returns as a three-year starter and will play tackle and defensive end. “Mason has one of the best motors on the team and is always around the football.” Juan Fajardo returns as a two-year starter. And Tyler Pittman started multiple games last season for the offensive line. “Our biggest strength is our depth and experience on the offensive and defensive line. We have several players that are three-year starters and some will be two-year starters.”

Then you have the players that may not be noticed from last season but will sure make an impact this year. Carlos Tostado, Cole Ketchum, Hayden Medlock, Nate Gordon, and Alex Woody have all shown over the offseason and summer workouts that they will be difference makers on the gridiron this season. “Carlos is starting at guard and defensive end. He is a move-in from Clarksville and will have an immediate impact. He is a great kid and his work ethic is second to none. Cole will see snaps on the offensive side of the ball as well as on defense. Hayden is a move-in and has been pushing for a starting job on both sides of the ball and continues to get better every day. Nate came on late and brought a lot of energy on defense. He made several sacks last year coming off the edge and will see several snaps at running back as well. And Alex is moving positions from center in Junior High to tackle and is learning quickly with the move. Alex brings depth to the offensive line and will see some playing time.”

Lady’s and Gentlemen, the simplest way to put it is the Hackett Hornets are loaded for bear this season. Well, maybe not bear, but they definitely have Tigers, Pirates, Wolves, and Arrows in their sights. With a new bar set for the Hornets program, Hackett aims to swarm their way to the top of the upper echelon of not only the 3A-1 but of all 3A conferences in the state. “Our expectations for 2021 is to compete for a conference championship and make history again in the playoffs. We are heading in the right direction and we need to continue to do the things that we can control to give us the best chance to succeed.”

Standing alongside Coach Meador is Jordan Shelby-Defensive Coordinator, Head Jr High, Safeties, Quarterbacks, Stephen McMurray- Special teams Coordinator, Head 7th grade Corners, Wide Receivers, and Ryan Pointer- Offensive Coordinator, Offensive line, Defensive Line.

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