O-Line Shines During Harmony Two-A-Days
Harmony must replace 2,000-yard rusher Matt Hosea, who led the Eagles to their best season in program history in 2011. But the search for all that lost yardage won't be as difficult with what will be one of East Texas' largest offensive lines.
Harmony coach Tim Russell said the Eagles' offensive front has impressed during two-a-days.
"Our offensive line has looked really good. We're excited about them," Russell said. "We have several guys returning and they've really looked good. They're playing better than anticipated this early."
Harmony, which went 9-3 last season and reached the third round of the playoffs for the first time, has no starting offensive lineman smaller than 260 pounds. That's tackle Peyton Stanley, who joins fellow tackle Johnathan Weaver (6-2, 285), guards Brandon Murphy (6-2, 280) and Dalton Gage (6-0, 283), and center Riley Henson (6-2, 275) to give Harmony five junior starters on the offensive line.
"We're pretty good-sized, but we're moving pretty good," Russell said.
Russell said new quarterback Alan Peralta (5-9, 175) has played well during two-a-days. Peralta, a senior, joins juniors Juan Montoya (5-10, 185), Levi Thompson (6-0, 225), and Ethan Edwards (6-2, 185) in a backfield that must find a way to compensate for the loss of Hosea.
Having a Division I-bound receiver doesn't hurt that transition. Lucas Askew (6-6, 210), who recently committed to Texas State, will give Harmony a bona fide big-play target in the passing game after he caught 33 passes for 487 yards and seven touchdowns.
Askew could also be in the mix for occasional duty at defensive end, where Russell said the Eagles are in the middle of a lot of competition for playing time.
"Defensively we're a little behind schedule from where I thought we might be. We're searching for defensive line starters right now, so we have a lot of competition there," Russell said. "We haven't settled on starters. Everybody's getting a lot of reps. We have different starters every day in practice."
Russell said the strength of the defense has been the secondary, which returns in its entirety with Peralta (9 INTs in 2011) and junior Tim McCoy, who made a team-leading 169 tackles as a sophomore safety.
Harmony scrimmages at Mineola at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The Eagles scrimmage at Harleton next week before opening the 2012 season at home against Winnsboro on Aug. 31.