HUNTINGTON - Billy Seals would like to see his Huntington High football players learn to better use their feet.
Oh, their running and kicking is fine. The Highlanders coach wants to see his young squad figuratively push the pedal to the floor or place its foot on the neck of opponents after gaining a lead. HHS didn't so enough to satisfy Seals last week in a season-opening 35-22 victory over Riverside (1-1). He hopes it can at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Huntington High visits George Washington (0-2) at the University of Charleston Stadium.
"I never complain about a win, but we need to improve on some things," Seals said. "Our kick and punt coverage was poor. Our defense has improvements we need to make. We did control the line of scrimmage and that's good."
Huntington High led 21-0, but Riverside pulled within 21-14 in the second quarter, much to Seals' chagrin.
"We have a young team and they kind of stepped off the gas a little bit," Seals said. "You can't do that."
Seals said he hopes HHS can get a big early lead on George Washington, which lost 28-14 at South Charleston and 49-16 at Ashland. He isn't taking that for granted, however, and said the Patriots are better than their record might indicate.
Ashland (3-0), the No. 4 team in Kentucky Class AAA, jumped on G.W. early, scoring on its first four possessions, using a punishing rushing attack on drives of 64, 38, 80 and 80 yards to take a 28-3 lead into halftime. South Charleston (1-1) also started quickly against the Patriots, leading 14-0 after the first quarter and taking advantage of four turnovers in the first half.
South Charleston and Ashland feature veteran teams, something Huntington High doesn't. While the Highlanders rely on veterans such as senior linebacker Brocton Blair, senior running back Diallo Mitchell and junior offensive lineman Terrance Pankey, among others, much of the team is young. So, too, though is G.W., which starts four sophomores on its offensive line and shuttles in a freshman there.
Still, Seals said he is impressed with the Patriots. Junior quarterback R.T. Alexander, son of former South Charleston and West Virginia University star and NFL running back Robert Alexander, is talented as a runner and a passer. Senior Alex Mazelon (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) is one of the better wide receivers in the state. Senior Isaac Isabell (5-10, 150) is another talented wide out.
"They have a wide-open offense," Seals said of the Patriots. "They run four or five wide and have about a 70:30 pass-to-run ratio. They'll throw it around. Their wide receiver and quarterback are good players. Their running backs run hard. They play hard and up there is a tough place to play."