Warhawks look to regroup after pasting

Losing a game 61-0 means something isn’t working. With that established, Sussex County Warhawks Head Coach John Boyer this week shifted the entire right side of his offensive line after giving up 11 sacks and failing to yield positive offensive yardage. The New Castle Saints’ defensive front won the war of the muddy trenches on Feb. 4, and in the end limited the Warhawks to -50 yards in total offense.

The quarterback-center exchange was muffed on the first two offensive plays and was the main reason for a game-high 10 turnovers, so the Warhawks’ coaching staff has to improvise and it might actually be for the best.

“It looked like the snap was either too high or too low, and it broke us down,” said Boyer. “We can’t have that many mistakes against the Saints. They’re very skilled and too well coached.”

Six-year veteran center Shane Wooten replaces Ron Hurst at right tackle and right guard Denny Proffitt slides over to snapper. Proffitt played center for Warhawks quarterback Tony Eskridge in an arena league this past fall, so at least there is a sense of familiarity for the rest of the season.

Left tackle Darrell Trotter completes overhaul on the right side by switching to right guard. Left guard Cophen Brown stays at left guard and former offensive line coach Alex Hayes moves in at the ever-important left tackle position.

“Alex has is a veteran of five or six years and was the offensive line coach last year, so I’m confident that he’ll be fine stepping in,” said offensive coordinator and last year’s head coach Butch Yocum. “But we have to start talking at the line. The Saints were making calls at the line of scrimmage and we have to start using our audible blocking.”

“We had no pressure from the left side,” he continued. “The center and the right tackle kept getting blown up. And I love Ron Hurst — he’s played for us for the past five years, he makes practice — but he got blown up on five or six consecutive plays and I just can’t have that.”

The Warhawks let the muddy field conditions hamper their play and limit production, but the Saints thrived in the slop. Despite having excellent field position for most of the day, the Saints racked up 300 rushing yards by bouncing out counter and trap plays.

“We have a lot of rookies on defense and our defensive ends were supposed to have contained them, but they came down the line too far and their backs bounced it out for 20- and 30-yard runs. They really took advantage of us with Tremond (Conway) out,” said Boyer.

The Warhawks will look to dust off the 61-0 beating they suffered at the hands of the Saints when they travel to Sudlersville, Md., to play the Queen Anne County Thunder on Feb. 11 at noon. The Thunder lost to the Kent County Fire 29-0 and this could be the perfect opportunity to get the Warhaws season on track.

“The Thunder do similar things on defensive as us, but we think we can expose them by attacking where they aren’t,” said Yocum. “They like to blitz and the Fire ran straight through them. Hopefully, we can do the same.”