Despite some adjustments for rain, Triton has completed its spring football workouts.
“We had a pretty good spring,” said Ben Penny, who is entering his fifth season as head coach of the Hawks. “We had a lot of new guys at a lot of key skill positions. We kind of got a grasp of what we’re going to be working with going into the summer.
“A lot of new faces, some guys stepped up. We were really impressed with Justin Leggett’s leadership ability that he developed this spring. It’s something that we really hadn’t seen in the past. He’s really taken ownership of the offense.”
Leggett completed 63 of 125 passes last year for 832 yards with four touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year. Ideally, the score to picks ratio will improve.
David Weathersby is the new offensive coordinator for the Hawks.
“We’re going to be a little more Delaware Wing-T and incorporate a little more of a vertical passing game than we’ve had in the past — doing a lot of the things that we have done when Jeremy Leggett (Justin’s brother) was our quarterback,” Penny said. “Justin has really bought in to the weight room. He’s gotten stronger and his arm’s gotten stronger, so we’re excited about that.”
The Hawks lose three running backs who have signed to play collegiately from a team that went 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the Tri-County Six 3-A Conference. Latrell McDougald (N.C. Wesleyan), De’Marius Staton (St. Augustine’s) and Da’John Williams (Greensboro) accounted for a total of 2,815 yards and 31 touchdowns last season.
“We’re going to be young,” Penny said. “Austin Riewestahl (60 carries, 226 yards) is the only back we have coming back with varsity game experience. He’s had a great spring. Romello Cowan also has had a pretty good spring. We’re excited about Kyle Dunkins and looking at what he can do at the halfback position. Travion Sanders also will be in the mix.”
Christion Green, who set program receiving records, is another of the graduation losses. Seth Vanderhoof returns at receiver. Dylan Smith is coming up from the junior varsity.
“We’re also going to try to get our running backs involved (in the passing game),” Penny said. “Travion Sanders has had a great spring during our seven-on-seven drills.”
An experienced offensive line will help the team’s overall development. Jalonte McNeill, Grayson Bradham, Carlos Nabor, Kyle Strickland and Greg Varner all started up front at some point in 2017 and saw significant playing time. Tackle Michael Carvin is coming up from the junior varsity and has had a good spring in the weight room.
Carvin and McNeill are slated to contribute on the defensive front as well.
“It’s going to be a work in progress,” Penny said. “We’re going to have to grow up pretty quick with not a lot of varsity game experience, but Coach Weathersby and I are excited about what we’ve got. We feel like we’ve got a full stable of guys. We’ve just got to see who’s going to adapt the fastest to Friday nights.”
Triton will go to Cleveland for a pair of seven-on-seven sessions June 26 and 28. The Hawks will take part in the Performance Select camp at Mount Olive, which is directed by former Campbell coaches Landon Mariani and Art Link, July 12-14.
“Other than that, we’re going to do a lot of lifting and a lot of conditioning,” Penny said. “We’re excited about getting to work and seeing who’s going to step up.”
Triton opens the 2018 season on Aug. 17 at Enloe.