Hounds start Class A playoffs

Published 12:06 am Friday, November 7, 2008

FERRIDAY — Huntington coach Chad Harkins got everything he wanted out of Friday’s game against Claiborne Academy — a win and a healthy team.

But the Hounds (8-3, 6-1) had already secured their biggest goal before that even started: a trip to the postseason.

The District 6-A runners-up will now host the No. 2 team in 4-A, Newton County Academy (6-4, 2-2), in the first round of the MPSA Class A playoffs.

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“We’ve had a real good week of practice this week, and that’s something we’ve been lacking this season as far as having complete weeks of practice,” Harkins said. “The kids are focused. I think they’re excited but not overly so.”

Harkins said despite their District 4-A record, the Generals are going to be a tough team.

They have a one-point loss to Wayne Academy (4-7, 2-2) and a 34-6 loss to undefeated Sylva Bay Academy.

“They’re a pretty solid football team, there’s no doubt,” Harkins said. “They lost to some pretty good teams. They’re definitely going to be competitive.”

The Hounds will have to guard against receiver Anthony Williams and receiver/running back combination Hunter Smith, who Harkins said is Newton County’s biggest threat.

“He gets the ball about 75 percent of the time,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure we know where he is. We’ve had a guy on our scout team simulate him in practice. We’ve been putting him in different sets and in different spots where they may have him.”

As for the Generals’ defense, Harkins is not exactly sure what to expect.

The Hounds could face a 4-, 5- or 6-man front.

“They run multiple fronts,” Harkins said. “They did that pretty much every game we’ve watched so we’re not sure exactly what kind of defense we’re going to see the most of.”

This is the second consecutive trip to the postseason for Huntington, whose only district loss this season came against Glenbrook, 33-12, which also ended the Hounds’ postseason in the third round last season.

Newton County did not make the playoffs last season.