By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
With East Fairmont coming off of a disheartening loss, coach Bill Haddox is making his team get back to the basics.
North Marion, on the other hand, is planning to get on the right side of things with its first victory of the season.
The Huskies host Buckhannon-Upshur tonight, while the Bees play Lincoln in Shinnston. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
East Fairmont, which has a number of playmakers on offense, is now trying to put it all together.
Haddox has two quarterbacks who can make plays from different spots of the field. Jake Delaney can use his field vision to get out of jams, while Sam Swiger can come in and throw the deep bombs. But going forward, opposing defenses could see both players on the field at the same time.
“We’re in the stage right now where we’re learning what our quarterback can do,” Haddox said. “We’re learning what he (Delaney) does best.”
Haddox praised Delaney for his scrambling abilities, saying he doesn’t always have the ability to run hard, but he runs smart.
“(Swiger) is so light, we don’t want him taking unnecessary hits,” Haddox said. “He’s an athlete, so he’s going to play in some different positions.”
The same philosophy that East Fairmont and coach Haddox have with the quarterbacks is carrying over for the rest of the team.
Haddox is telling his team to learn their basic assignments and execute that before anything else.
“We want to cut down the number of things they have to remember,” the coach said. “We’re going to try to do a few things real well.”
Going off that, one thing the Bees are trying to capitalize more on is keeping their opponents guessing. They’ve added a new weapon on the outside in 6-foot-5 wide receiver Miles Johnson, that will allow other playmakers to get more involved and give East Fairmont a chance to utilize its speed.
The opponent, Lincoln, is creeping up as one of the better teams in Class AA, and a win for Haddox would greatly get the Bees recognition.
“Oh, it’d be a big win,” Haddox said of the matchup. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. Last week is over with.”
For North Marion, it will get to play the first game this season with starting quarterback Drew Harker at the reins.
Harker, who was out the first three weeks after battling illness, was medically cleared Tuesday afternoon and practiced with the team all week. He said the team has been very enthusiastic and they have a good feel going into the game against Buckhannon-Upshur.
Head coach Daran Hays feels that even though his team is 0-3 that the Huskies can bounce back and get back to the fundamentals of the game. He praised Harker for his work ethic and said he might even be better than he was before.
“He’s really focused,” Hays said. “He’s looked really good going down the field. His vertical passing gives us an element that we haven’t had all season.”
The former quarterback, Chase Banker, will move back to his original spot at wide receiver, and he and Harker have already been working on their connection.
“I think it’ll go really well,” Harker said of having Banker at wide receiver. “I’ve stayed after practice and worked with those guys.”
Offensively, the Huskies will rely quite a bit on Harker’s decision making, something that Hays is confident in.
“He’s a smart guy,” Hays said of Harker. “If he’s not comfortable he can pull it down and run with it.”
Defensively, Hays wants his team to work on the fundamentals and focus on not giving up the big play as it has in the first three games.
Either way, Hays feels confident going into the game.
“We’ve done a heck of a job feeling like the favorite,” he said. “We may be the best 0-3 team in the state. We feel confident.”
E-mail Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.