Thursday August 11, 2011
Aiken, SC--After a couple of sub 500 seasons, this year's Aiken Hornets are playing with a chip on their shoulder. They've missed out on the playoffs and it's fueling the fire as they get cranking for the season ahead.
Experience should be key to this year's Hornets. They've had a lot of underclassmen on the field, and now they're juniors and seniors. It should be the experience that turns a lot of close losses into wins, at least that's the plan.
"Nothing beats experience," said Head Coach Carey Johnson. "You can have great athletes and they make immature mistakes, and that really costs some football games. We didn't have a football game last year that we were really dominated in. We were in every football game we lost. But experience helps these young men, and hopefully we'll see some dividends this year."
Coach Johnson thinks the defense will be the strong suit, at least early on. A good portion of the starters return. On offense, Devontai Pope and Aaron Griffin both return at running back and will help lead the way to the end zone.
"We have faith in our quarterback," said Pope. "It's not really that we lost a good quarterback, we'll just build another one."
"Demarcus Chestnut is doing a great job for us right now," Johnson said. "He was the back up last year, and I think he started and played in a couple of games and got a couple of wins. So I guess he's undefeated right now so we definitely have to go with him. He has the best record."
If Aiken can win those close games this year, don't be surprised if they play the role of a sleeper team in the postseason.