Hawks have high expectations for young secondary

Sophomore Ahmaud Taylor (left) and junior Ke'Darius Thornton (right) return to anchor the Huntingdon secondary.
Sophomore Ahmaud Taylor (left) and junior Ke'Darius Thornton (right) return to anchor the Huntingdon secondary.

Head Coach Mike Turk on the first scrimmage of the preseason: "The scrimmage was pretty much controlled by the defense. The defense forced a couple of three-and-outs to start with and pretty much kept the offense out of the end zone all day. We had guys flying around and making plays on defense and that was good to see. From a defensive perspective, you have to be happy with that.

"From an offensive perspective, it looked like it was more about lack of execution. We had dropped passes and turnovers, things we can't have. We have a lot to look at and evaluate after this scrimmage."


Position Spotlight – Defensive Backs                                 

Projected Starters:  Cornerbacks – Ke'Darius Thornton (Jr.), Fred Flavors (So.) / Kelvin Bowser (So.)

Safeties – Ahmaud Taylor (So.) and Peyton DeFleron (Jr.)                                      

Others to Watch: Lexie Shaw (So.), D.J. King (Jr.), M.J. Jones (So.), Billy King (Fr.), Trent Williams (Fr.), Rashad Clark (Fr.)


A Closer Look: The Huntingdon secondary is a mixture of experience and youth entering the season. The Hawks return two starters and four players who saw game action in 2018. But the Hawks will be relying on several freshmen and sophomores to complete the unit this season.

Sophomore safety Ahmaud Taylor and junior cornerback Ke'Darius Thornton are the returning starters and the most experienced defensive backs on the team.

Taylor recorded 37 tackles, broke up six passes and had an interception, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown last season. Thornton finished with 31 tackles, two tackles for loss, six passes broken up and an interception.

Along with Taylor and Thornton, sophomore cornerbacks Fred Flavors and Kelvin Bowser are battling for a starting position and junior Peyton DeFleron is leading the way at the other safety position.

Junior D.J. King, sophomores Lexie Shaw and M.J. Jones and freshmen Billy King, Trent Williams and Rashad Clark have all drawn praise for their performance in the preseason.


Turk on the secondary: "It's a young group but it seems to be a good group. We've been seeing some good things out of those guys. We've made some mistakes early on, but it looks like the guys are trying to do what they're coached to do and they're performing pretty well in full-speed situations. As long as we continue to do that, then we'll continue to get better and better."

Turk on Taylor and Thornton: "Ahmaud and Ke'Darius are our two most experienced guys. Both of them really came on last year after being forced into the starting lineup because of injuries. Both of them got better and better each week and were solid players by the end of the season. We're expecting both of them to be good leaders and good players for us." 

Turk on the development of the younger defensive backs: "The majority of the guys we're going to be counting on in the secondary are sophomores and freshmen. These guys are battling and they're doing good things. It's good to see these guys coming on like they are and we need them to keep working and improving every day."


Next Practice: The Hawks return to the field at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Practices are open to the public.

2019 NCAA Playoff Information
November 24, 2019 2019 NCAA Playoff Information