Redskins hope to replace Hensley
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- Hurricane High School football fans might think it will take two people to replace record-setting quarterback Austin Hensley.
They might be right. Seniors Luke Browne and Dylan Tinsley are competing for the right to replace Hensley, now a preferred walk-on quarterback at West Virginia University. Redskins coach Jeremy Taylor said he expects both to play on Aug. 29 when Hurricane opens the 2014 season at 2013 Class AAA runner-up Huntington High.
"It's a coin flip as to who will start," Taylor said Wednesday. "They're both good players and they do different things well. Both can manage a game well enough to do well."
Browne performed last season in a limited role when Hensley was out for two games because of a shoulder injury. Tinsley was a quarterback two years ago and returned to the position this season. He also starts at safety, which Taylor said he will continue to do even if he is the starting quarterback."
"I normally don't play our quarterback on defense, but we will this year if we have to," Taylor said.
Browne has advantages in that he has a bit of varsity game experience, is the more mobile of the two and possesses the stronger arm.
"He can make just about any throw we need him to make," Taylor said of Browne. "He played the second half last year against Cabell Midland and did all right."
Taylor said Browne, who is 5-foot-8, is very eager to learn but sometimes is hindered by his lack of height, something Tinsley doesn't worry about as much at 6-foot-1. Taylor also said Tinsley has an advantage in that he played on Hurricane's state runner-up basketball team and is accustomed to big-game pressure because of that.
"Dylan has shown leadership and he's started at safety, so he's used to being on the field," Taylor said.
Browne and Tinsley are close friends. They said the friendly competition has forced each of them to improve.
"It's certainly made me better," Browne said. "We both know the offense well."
Tinsley said the competition is a bit uncomfortable, but necessary.
"We're good friends, so it's weird," Tinsley said. "We push each other to get better."
Both players said they aren't thinking about replicating Hensley's numbers. Last season, Hensley completed 150 of 247 passes for 2,254 yards and 25 touchdowns with eight interceptions to lead Hurricane to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.
"Austin was a great quarterback," Tinsley said. "I can't go out on Friday and think I'm doing his job. I have to do my job."
Taylor said he's pleased to have two capable quarterbacks to run the offense and that he expects the competition to work itself out.
"A lot is still up in the air," Taylor said. "It's still a work in progress."
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