25 Teams in 25 Days

Hancock football ready to make noise in Region 4-6A under new coach

Hancock High wide receiver Brooks Rayburn
Hancock High wide receiver Brooks Rayburn jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

A new era begins in Hancock High football this season.

Neil Lollar enters his first year as the Hawks’ coach, replacing Rocky Gaudin.

Hancock has experience, returning 13 starters from last year’s team that went 4-8, 1-6 in Region 4-6A. Hancock has only reached the playoffs twice over the past 26 years: 1991 and 2014.

“Our expectations are to qualify for the state playoffs and have a successful season,” Lollar said. “We need to stay healthy to have a good season.”

Hancock will be led by its offense, which returning seven starters.

Three offensive linemen return: senior tackles Nick Rose and Devin Ladner, and junior guard Elijah Touchstone. Senior Destrain Barr and junior Dillon Smith will start at guard and center.

“It’s comforting for a first-year coach to have your offensive line back,” Lollar said. “They understand the grind it will take during the season.”

Hancock is also loaded at wide receiver, returning three starters: seniors Marquis Cherry, Chase McDonald and junior Brooks Rayburn. Cherry, who also played running back last season, ran for 698 yards and had 15 receptions for 188 yards. Chase McDonald caught 39 passes for 578 yards. Rayburn had 28 receptions for 477 yards.

Junior Blake Comeaux returns at running back.

“We’re very good at the skill positions,” Lollar said. “Running game will be our strong point.”

The Hawks’ biggest question mark is at quarterback. Senior Michael Durr and junior Caleb Garcia are battling to start under center against Pearl River Central on Aug. 18 at Brett Favre Field.

“Caleb and Michael are competing to see who takes our first snap,” Lollar said. “The biggest concern on offense is getting comfortable with a new quarterback.”

Defense

The Hawks’ defense returns six starters.

The entire secondary is back wiht strong safety Drake Necaise, free safety Michael Durr and cornerbacks Everett Ganier and Devin Delle. All four are seniors.

Both linebackers return: junior Trenton Ladner and senior Cameron Blaize. Ladner had 137 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four quarterback sacks.

Upfront for the Hawks will be bookends Chance Wedgeworth and Nick Irias, and noseguard Dylan Kapp. Wedgeworth and Kapp are juniors, Irias is a senior.

“Trenton is the one who makes us go on defense,” Lollar said. “Experience will be our strong point. Our secondary has a lot of experience. My concern on defense is making sure our down linemen communicate.”

Elliott Nolan will handle both punting and placekicking duties.

Lollar sees the Hawks competing for one of the four playoff berths in Region 4-6A.

“D’Iberville and Gulfport will both be strong, I don’t see Biloxi taking a step back,” Lollar said. “I see it as a wide-open race (for the other spot). We believe in what we have.”

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

Hancock Schedule

Aug. 18: Pearl River Central

Aug. 25: at South Jones

Sept. 1: Gautier

Sept. 15: at Lakeshore, La.

Sept. 22: at Ocean Springs

Sept. 29: St. Martin

Oct. 6: at Gulfport

Oct. 13: D’Iberville

Oct. 20: at Harrison Central

Oct. 27: Biloxi

Nov. 3: At Pascagoula

Hancock Roster

1 Elliott Nolan

2 Marquis Cherry

3 Christian Holder

4 Anthoni Flowers

5 Rondell Womach

6 Drake Necaise

7 Jordan Foushee

8 Mark Pearson

9 Michael Durr

11 Austin Hyde

12 Brooks Rayburn

13 Anthony Jones

14 Brodie Fitts

15 Chandler Garcia

16 Daniel Storey

17 Devin Delle

18 Caleb Garcia

19 Ethan Ladner

20 Jace Johnson

21 Nicholas Melgar

22 Colby McGough

24 Blaine Hermann

26 Dalton Barnes

28 Chase McDonald

30 Blake Comeaux

31 Everett Ganier Jr.

32 Luke Miller

33 Thomas Coble

34 Brady Shoemaker

35 Sebastian Fausett

36 Gabe Singleton

37 Malique Johnson

38 Jace Ladner

40 Cameron Blaize

41 Kerry Scarbrough

42 Gabe Story

43 Jacob Ortmann

44 Trenton Ladner

47 Peyton Authement

49 Allen Sekinger

50 Devan Laneaux

51 Jeffrey Grindle

52 Corey Easterling

53 Elijah Touchstone

54 Nick Irias

55 Joby Smith

56 Brennan Ladner

57 Quinten Fowler

58 Devin Ladner

59 Justin Martin

60 Dylan Raphael

61 Chance Wedgeworth

62 Austin Rhodes

63 Trevor Myers

64 Destrein Barr

65 Clint Davis

66 Riley Welsh

67 Brennan Malley

68 Drew Shafer

69 Dillon Smith

70 Nick Rose

71 Austin Briley

72 Tyler Kapp

73 Hunter Neal

74 Kyle Barsema

75 Blake Christoffer

76 Gage Simonson

77 Drake Ladner

78 Chris Brenning

79 Devan Laneaux

81 Noah Gilkerson

83 Cole Bond

86 David Way

87 Earl Haas

90 Harold Demolle

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