2016 Hickory Football Preview

Rival Greenville comes calling in week one to battle the Hornets.

Hickory Hornets High School Football - Hermitage, PA

2016 Hickory Football Preview
Head Coach: Bill Brest, 7th season (65-14)
2015 Record: 11-2 (6-1), 2nd place in Region 3 (AA)
2016 Classification: AAA

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2015 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 39.9 (2nd in Area)
Scoring Defense: 12.5 (4th in Area)
Passing Offense: 127.9
Rushing Offense: 252.5
Total Offense: 380.4

2015 Results
Central Martinsburg 31 Hornets 21*
Hornets 32 Sharon 19*
Hornets 55 Fairview 14*
Hornets 41 North East 8*
Hornets 42 Titusville 12
Hornets 42 Grove City 6
Hornets 42 Wilmington 6
Hornets 28 Greenville 9
Hornets 43 Slippery Rock 10
Hornets 55 Warren 6
Hornets 48 Corry 7
Sharon 35 Hornets 34
Hornets 35 Strong Vincent 0
*-Playoff game

Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: Luke Brennan – 1572 yards, 59.3%, 20 TDs
Rushing: Chuck Carr – 2515 yards, 9.5 ypc, 38 TDs
Receiving: Will Gruber – 9 catches, 257 yards, 4 TDs
Tackles: Caleb Gagliardi – 36
Interceptions: Chuck Carr & Caleb Gagliardi – 1

Recent Hornet Post-Season Finishes
2015: District 10 Class AA Champion; Western Semifinalist
2014: District 10 Class AA Champion; Western Finalist
2013: District 10 Class AA Champion; Western Finalist
2012: District 10 Class AA Champion; Western Semifinalist
2011: District 10 Class AA Champion; Western Semifinalist
2010: District 10 Class AA Finalist

2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 – Greenville, 7*
Sept. 2 – Mercer, 7*
Sept. 9 – at Slippery Rock, 7*
Sept. 16 – Sharon, 7*
Sept. 23 – Westinghouse, 7
Sept. 30 – at Lakeview, 7*
Oct. 7 – at Sharpsville, 7*
Oct. 14 – Wilmington, 7*
Oct. 21 – at Reynolds, 7*

Keys on Offense
Third-year starting quarterback Luke Brennan improved last year from being a 55.7% passer as a freshman in 2014 (946 yards, 10 TDs) to a 59.3% passer as a sophomore (1572 yards, 20 TDs). Brennan should only continue to improve with the cast of characters he has around him. Senior running back Chuck Carr has rushed for 67 touchdowns while gaining over 4,500 yards on the ground (4529) throughout his career. Junior receiver Will Gruber had a monster 2015 year by catching 9 passes for an average of 28.6 yards and scoring 4 times through the air. He also served as the team’s primary punter (31.5 avg). Brennan will also have the likes of Caleb Gagliardi, Cam Pica and Darren Mitchell to throw the ball to in 2016. The line will be anchored by senior Tyler Bishop and junior Frank Swogger.

Senior kicker Jacob Scarton finished 2015 with 55 extra points in 63 attempts. “He’s an outstanding kicker,” says Brest. “(such) a strong leg.”

Keys on Defense
Opponents’ have found it difficult to score on the Hornets’ defense. Up front, senior Tyler Bishop is back after a 28 tackle season. At linebacker, the unit will have plenty of talent led by senior Chuck Carr and a group of juniors – Evan McCrensky, Nate Marchand, and Frank Swogger as well as Cam Pica (DE/LB). In the secondary, Hickory will welcome back Caleb Gagliardi (36 tackles) and Will Gruber (26 tackles). “Defensively, we’ll rely on the six returning starters,” comments Brest. “Many returning starters and experienced backups (to lead our) defense.”

Final Analysis
After being crowned the District 10 Class AA champion in each of the last five years, you’d expect for there to be a regression one year, wouldn’t you? At Hickory under Bill Brest, it doesn’t appear to be happening in 2016. In his six years, Brest has posted a winning percentage of 82.3% (65-14). The strength of the team appears to be their speed. “(We) have great team speed,” indicates Brest. “Experience in key positions. Our newcomers should have an impact in all three facets of the game. There’s great competition (along) the offensive line and defensive line.”

Scoring Offense/Defense Averages, under Brest
2015: 39.9/12.5
2014: 31.1/11.3
2013: 44.5/11.6
2012: 38.5/13.3
2011: 38.0/13.2
2010: 28.5/15.4

Leading Passer/Leading Rusher, under Brest
2015: Luke Brennan (1572)/Chuck Carr (2515)
2014: Luke Brennan (946)/Chuck Carr (1437)
2013: Matt Voytik (2108)/Lou Derloni (979)
2012: Matt Voytik (832)/DeShawn Coleman (1730)
2011: Mike Nardone (1337)/DeShawn Coleman (2391)
2010: Mike Grata (845)/Marlon Pegues (1649)

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