Senior linebacker Nathan Noeller and junior quarterback/wide receiver Steven Morris were two leaders for Hughson last year.
Both suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back weeks late in the year as the Huskies ended 2018 on a four-game losing streak and lost to Amador in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs.
Coach Shawn King said health will be a key to success in 2019.
To get his players stronger and get their bodies in shape for a hopeful run deep into the playoffs, King hired Kevin Francone to be the school’s strength and conditioning coach.
“Their numbers (weight) have gone up,” said King, who is entering his second season. “He (Francone) is in late 20’s and worked out and bonded with the kids.”
After his shoulder injury, Morris, who threw for 1,480 yards and eight touchdowns, returns and is healthy. But, he doesn’t have the starting job secured.
Junior Aiden Meyer, who played junior varsity last year but started the playoff game, also is competing for the position.
“Morris is more of a running threat while Meyer is a pocket-passer and more accurate,” King said.
King said the plan is to use both throughout the season and Morris, who is 6-foot-4, can also play wide receiver and is the tallest player on the team.
Junior offensive lineman Damian Caetano is “going to be special” King said.
A 4.0 GPA student, Caetano has been training in the offseason with former Husky, Jeremy Mankins.
Mankins is a 1995 graduate who played at Boise State and in the NFL.
King wants to bring the Huskies program back to the era of the 1990s, when the school won three section titles. Hughson hasn’t won a Trans-Valley League title since 2003.
The TVL, which had one state and section champion (Hilmar) and three other teams (Escalon, Modesto Christian, and Ripon) make the semifinals in 2018, is expected to be strong again.
“I would be shocked if anyone in the TVL goes undefeated,” King said. “We haven’t won a league title in 16 years. That has to change.”
The school will honor the 1969 Huskies team, the first group to win a TVL title, by wearing decals on their helmets.
Record: 5-6, 2-4 in Trans-Valley League
Players to Watch: Senior quarterback/wide receiver Steven Morris, junior quarterback Aiden Meyer, senior linebacker Tyler Lewis
Biggest Game: Aug. 23 at Stagg
Something special about school: The 2019 season will be the 50th anniversary of the first Hughson team to win a Trans-Valley League title.
Playoff appearances last five years: 2018: Lost to Amador in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI First Round 2017: None 2016: None 2015: Lost to Orestimba in Div. V First Round 2014: Lost to Bear River in Div. V Semifinals
|23||at Stagg||7:15 p.m.|
|6||at Argonaut||7 p.m.|
|27||at Modesto Christian||7 p.m.|
|4||at Riverbank||7:30 p.m.|
|18||Bye Week||7 p.m.|
|1||at Escalon||7 p.m.|