Howard focusing on bouncing back after difficult 2016 season
The 2016 season didn’t go the way the Howard Huskies would have liked, but the Huskies aren’t looking back. They’re ready for the 2017 season to get going.
Howard’s first chance to look ahead comes Aug. 18 with its season opener against Westside.
“We don’t really look back on the past. We just want to move forward and do better this year,” senior defensive back M’Khai Mack said. “We’re going to do good. We’ve been practicing hard, and hard work pays off. Offense and defense, both sides of the ball have been doing a good job.
“Each day we’ve been getting better, and that’s the main focus.”
The Huskies finished 6-4 in 2015 after going 2-8 and 3-6-1 in head coach Barney Hester’s first two seasons. But playing with a young roster in 2016, the Huskies dropped back to 1-9.
Howard lost its final six games in 2016 and was shut out in the final four.
“We played a lot of young guys last year. They’re a little older now and a little more mature, so hopefully we’re going to be better,” Hester said. “We played a lot of young guys last year. We felt like, knowing the fact that we had a lot of young guys that would be playing that it may not be exactly what we wanted. We lost a guy who threw for over 2,000 yards and then another guy who had over 1,000 yards in receptions, and when you lose offensive guys like that, they’re hard to replace.
“We couldn’t quite make it happen last year, but I think our guys are feeling good about what we’re doing. I think they’re feeling good about where we’re at. We’ve just got to keep getting better.”
Hester said Mack and fellow seniors Quentavious Morant (defensive line) and Donovan Bratley (quarterback) are working as leaders for this year’s team.
“Those guys are going to do a good job for us,” Hester said. “We’ve had a good summer. We’ve been excited about our guys, the way they’ve been working. We’ve made some progress, and we’ve got to keep making that progress to get better.”
Howard Huskies 2017
Head coach: Barney Hester.
2016 record: 1-9.
Returning starters (offense/defense): 3/6.
Players to watch: Deandre Shelton (Jr., LB); Hayden Crosby (Jr., OL); Jeremiah Kelly (Soph., RB); Jarvarsia Meadows (Soph., WR); Quentavious Morant (Sr., DL); M’Khai Mack (Sr., DB).
Aug. 18 vs. Westside
Aug. 26 vs. Mount de Sales (at Mercer)
Sept. 1 vs. Central
Sept. 8 vs. Rutland
Sept. 14 at Veterans
Sept. 29 at West Laurens
Oct. 5 Perry
Oct. 20 at Upson-Lee
Oct. 27 Spalding
Nov. 3 Mary Persons