Huntington High’s football team practices on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at Huntington High School.

HUNTINGTON - Perhaps Huntington High's color scheme has never been more fitting than the 2019 football season.

That's because there is a lot of green in the "West Virginia Gold" helmets on the field at Bob Sang Stadium during the three-week period, according to head coach Billy Seals.

Don't expect that to be any statement that Seals expects anything less than victories once the season starts, however.

"We're a very, very young football team, but that is never going to be an excuse for us," Seals said. "We're going to continue to get better and we expect to win on Friday nights. Our young guys have played really well here the first two days and they are picking up on things pretty quick, so we're pretty happy with where we're at right now."

Because his team is so young, Seals said he is not going through as many traditional 7-on-7 camps and things of that nature as he had in previous years. Instead, much of the three-week period is being spent on instruction and getting players doing the right things within the scheme.

That youth has brought on much more instructional teaching and hands-on coaching from Seals and the staff during the opening of the three-week period - an aspect that he said he has welcomed for 2019.

"It's refreshing a little bit because we're getting to really coach this three-week period because these kids are just so young and green and don't have a lot of comfort level with our scheme yet," Seals said.

While Seals doesn't have an abundance of experience on the field, there are a few veteran players that he is leaning on heavily to make sure the leadership and cohesion stays in tact during gameplay.

Those players include two-way talents Brocton Blair and Terrance Pankey, who have seen plenty of Friday night action for the Highlanders.

Blair said he has been in the same situation as many of those young players out there competing after bursting onto the scene during his sophomore summer in 2017, which led to him getting the start at linebacker as the Highlanders opened the season at Belfry.

The highly-touted linebacker prospect with Division I interest said that he will utilize that experience to help some of his younger teammates along.

"We definitely have some young guys coming in, but I don't think that will stop us from winning games," Blair said. "Just every year, we have to reload and we'll be fine. They are really competitive and they're eager to learn how we do things here."

Seals said the competition has brought a fire to the three-week period that takes on more of an August feel as guys try to get noticed by the coaching staff and cement their place in the mix on Friday nights.

The veteran coach added that while it hasn't always been clean - a sign of a young team - the effort has been consistent, which he expects to remain a constant up until the team's first game on Sept. 6 against Riverside.

"Competition breeds some competitive spirit, and these guys know that if they aren't getting the job done, it's real easy to put the next guy in and keep it moving," Seals said.


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