Hendrickson Will Benefit From Developed Experience

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Photo via hudl.com

 

A year removed from sharing a piece of the district title, Hendrickson tallied the worst season in coach Chip Killian’s nine-year run – the lowest mark since 2007 and the fifth losing season in program history. A porous and inexperienced defensive unit sacrificed 36.4 points per game including five where they permitted over 40 points – considerably higher than last season’s 19.5 average; 2015 saw the Hawks allow 20 points or fewer in eight contests. The setback for the unit was graduating eight starters from the previous squad.

The third win of the year came in the regular season closer, outlasting a determined Plugerville in the and reaching the postseason for the ninth consecutive year. A first round ousting at the hands of Bowie continued a postseason lull for the Hawks where they have never been farther than the second round.

The lack of a deep playoff run reflects a reality of few schools winning a state championship with a loaded district of rival high schools, spreading out the talent to opposing programs in the area.

Key Losses

DE Nelson Mbanasor, OT Dominic Pastucci, C Dom Valdespino 

Mbanasor’s size, hand skills and high motor will be missed on the strong side. The 3-star commit was ranked the No. 7 defensive end by Scout, earning All-District 13-6A honors in two consecutive years. A Texas Tech signee, he will likely bring his physicality to a starting slot soon within a paper-thin Red Raider defense.

Pastucci had the necessary size and strength to earn an FBS scholarship from UTSA, joining the best recruiting class in Roadrunner history.. A power lifter, he will likely pack on the required weight at the next level to man the edge. Pastucci vacates a stout offensive front alongside Mary-Hardin Baylor center signee Dom Valdespino.

Key Returners

CB Tobias Harris, The offensive backfield, The safeties

Harris earned Second-team D13 6A honors from the Austin-American Statesman, additionally serving as the teams primary kick returner, scrambling for the most yards in district play last year. Harris will be a cornerstone for a developing defense that can’t do a much but improve at this point, along with safeties Clayton Perrin and Myles Brooks – benefitting from an additional year of development.

Backs Dana Jackson and Chux Nwabuko III will shoulder a heavy workload of the offense, likely splitting carries governed by sophomore shot-caller Blaine Barker.

The Verdict

Coach Chip Killian seems to have a gift from producing FBS talent and winning games, but this season’s program was a blip in a shaky UIL realignment that effected numerous programs. The Hawks fielded a plethora of inexperience to compensate for graduation, but will have an offseason to fine-tune their roster. The previous four year W/L percentage ranked Hendrickson as the third highest winning percentage in the area behind powerhouse teams Lake Travis and Cedar Park; an improved record is very likely next season, but breaking the Hawk’ second round curse might be a long-shot.

 

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