Updated Thu, Aug 15, 2013 11:36 am
Editor’s Note: Three-Point Stance is Gridiron Glory’s written preview series leading up to its 15th season on WOUB. Gridiron is visiting training camps for all 32 teams in the coverage area as they prepare for the 2013 football season. The series continues in the TVC-Hocking, where eight teams look to dethrone a defending state champ.
A year after their first winning season in recent memory the Federal Hocking Lancers are hungry. The Lancers produced a 6-4 record (5-3 in the TVC-Hocking) in the 2012 season. It was a step up for a perennially losing football school. Coach Phil Hoffman’s group narrowly missed the playoffs, with a strong chance of getting there before falling to the Eastern Eagles in Week 9. After going into the Eastern game with a 6-2 record and then falling two weeks in a row, it was a tough pill to swallow for the Lancers.
Now with two-a-days in full swing, the Lancers return 18 starters and have seen their numbers jump to 30 players. On top of that, the coaching staff has nine coaches (adding four in the offseason), which has helped players receive priceless instruction.
1. The Boys are Back
Among the nine returning starters on offense is much of the skill position talent for the Lancers, including halfback Peyton Seel, fullback Delbert Crum and receiver Alfie Nichols. Operating once again out of a Pistol-Spread offense, Crum and Seel look to eclipse their combined 717 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground from a year ago. Nichols gained 331 yards through the air in 2012 and will be a big fixture in the 2013 offense. With increased depth on the O-Line, this squad has the potential to put up some points in conference play.
2. Defending the Castle
The Fed Hock defense stifled opponents in 2012, posting five games in which they held foes to seven points or less. With nine defensive starters returning, the Lancers figure to post school records on the defensive side of the ball. Crum held down the line as a defensive end on his way to First Team D-V All-Southeast District honors. Seel proved to be another two-way player who hauled in some hardware for his efforts, largely due to the fact that he gathered nearly 20 Quarterback sacks with easily over 100 tackles.
3. Hungry For More
Federal Hocking is focused on showing that last year was no fluke. They want another shot at the teams they lost to a year ago -- teams like Alexander (lost 22-21) and Eastern (lost 25-23). They also want to prove they belong on the same field as Trimble and Wahama after losing both games last season by a combined score of 65-14.
The Lancers have something to prove and they’ve practiced with hunger in their eyes. Seel in particular wants to do more than just make the playoffs. “I want to go there and win a playoff game,” he said. Something a Fed Hock team has never done. Nichols was adamant as well. “These two-a-days are a lot harder than what we went through last year. We want to win the big ones.”
Coach Hoffman was confident about the possibility.
“We’re really, really pushing these kids to another level, to believe in themselves,” he said. “I think we have the athleticism, even though we only have around 30 kids on our roster, to really make a big push this year throughout the season, and hopefully we’re playing in November.”
The folks of Stewart may be in for a treat with their Lancers this upcoming season. In each of the first six weeks of 2013 schedule, Federal Hocking takes on a squad that posted a losing record a year ago, preparing it for a loaded second half that includes Eastern, Trimble and Wahama. Hoffman’s squad is hungry and it’s chomping at the bit for Friday nights.
Fed Hock’s 2013 campaign begins with a rematch of last saeson’s one-point loss to Alexander, Thursday, Aug. 29 in Albany.
Follow @gridironglory on Twitter and Instagram and Like the Gridiron Glory Facebook page for continued coverage throughout the preseason. Gridiron Glory returns Friday, Aug. 23 at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB.