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Wilson Hall faces massive challenge against Hammond

By TIM LEIBLE
tim@theitem.com
Posted 9/20/19

Wilson Hall faced one of the top SCISA 3A football teams last week in Porter-Gaud. The Barons traveled to Charleston and lost to the Cyclones 55-19.

This week, Wilson Hall gets to face THE big dog in SCISA 3A in Hammond. The Skyhawks have won the …

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Wilson Hall faces massive challenge against Hammond

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Wilson Hall faced one of the top SCISA 3A football teams last week in Porter-Gaud. The Barons traveled to Charleston and lost to the Cyclones 55-19.

This week, Wilson Hall gets to face THE big dog in SCISA 3A in Hammond. The Skyhawks have won the last two state titles, 10 in 13 years and have played in the championship game in all but one of those seasons.

Hammond comes to town to face Wilson Hall at Spencer Field beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Hammond sports a roster with three players with Football Bowl Subdivision offers.

Wilson Hall head coach Adam Jarecki knows the Barons have a tough matchup this week, but he's just focused on making sure his team keeps taking steps in the right direction.

"We've just been stressing not worrying about Hammond, but worrying about Wilson Hall, getting our stuff together," said Jarecki. "We didn't play extremely well last week. We had four turnovers, they ran a kickoff back and they blocked a punt. We just had a poor night and execution wasn't great. We've just gotta clean our stuff up so we can compete."

One bright spot from last week was the play of Graham Van Patten. He rushed for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding three catches for 22 yards. Unfortunately, the Barons couldn't get anyone else involved offensively, as the rest of the team combined for 41 yards of total offense.

Wilson Hall will need some more people to step up if it's going to compete with Hammond. The Barons are 0-2, both overall and in 3A.

"We expected Graham to be our leader, and he runs hard and runs with a lot of passion. He's done well for us," said Jarecki. "We've gotta get everybody on the same page. We run the flex bone, and we run the triple option out of it, so we've got other options out of it. We just have to do a good job of executing it and reading it."

Van Patten will have a tough group trying to stop him on the ground, as two Hammond defensive linemen are headed to FBS schools. Defensive end Jordan Burch is the top ranked player in South Carolina and considered by many to be the No. 1 recruit in the country. He has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina. Defensive tackle Alex Huntley is right behind him as the second-ranked player in the state and has committed to South Carolina. The duo will likely cause the Barons trouble all night long.

Offensively, Hammond is led by Jackson Muschamp, the son of USC head coach Will Muschamp, at quarterback. He has several FBS offers, including one to Boston College.

"They've got several big play kind of guys," said Jarecki on the Hammond offense. "Of course, Muschamp is his quarterback and throws the ball extremely well. He's very polished. He takes a shot deep, and he's got some really fast receivers out on the edge that can go get it. They have a big tight end he likes to throw to.

"There's only a few plays they run, they just run them extremely well. The little sophomore running back, Caper Stokes, is pretty special. He's pretty quick, and he can make you miss. If he gets out in space and gets going, he's going to be tough."

Hammond is 2-2 overall and 1-0 in 3A.

While the Barons are in the toughest part of their season, Jarecki doesn't think a difficult stretch will break this group.

"I think our guys want to get better every week, and they work hard, and they're a very tight group," said the Wilson Hall head coach. "They know what they're facing, but we stressed all week that it's just about us and trying to make ourselves do things better. That's what we've got to focus on.

"We obviously don't have people that can match up player for player, obviously, there's not anybody in SCISA that does," continued Jarecki. "We just keep rolling. We try to be 1-0 each week, then we come back on Monday and get to work."