Mitch preaching patience with 2014 HHCA football team
By David Shelton
Hilton Head – Second-year head football coach Ryan Mitch is not ready to panic after his Hilton Head Christian Academy football team opened the 2014 season with a 45-26 loss to Trinity-Byrnes in week zero.
Hilton Head Christian opened last season with two losses before reeling off nine straight victories. The coach, however, realizes his team has plenty to work on.
“We’re going to get better and we will be a better football team than we showed in the first game,” said Mitch. “We had a lot of new guys on the field and it showed at times. I thought there were some bright spots. We did some good things on both sides of the ball. We just weren’t very consistent, which comes with being inexperience. It’s obvious we have a lot of work to do. We’ll get there. We just need a lot of reps.”
Mitch was concerned with his team’s tackling in the opener, saying “we were in the right spot and in position to make a tackle for loss and we didn’t finish it. They had several big plays on plays where we had them for a loss.”
Senior running back Chris Edwards had a solid opener, scoring on a 70-yard run and a 67-yard pass reception.
“He showed he can make some plays,” said Mitch.
Senior Ryan Barrett, a first-year starter at quarterback, had a solid preseason but threw three interceptions in the opener.
“He made some nice throws but he also made a few mistakes,” said Mitch. “He’s going to get better as he plays more. He will be fine.”
Sophomore James Bartholomew had a good opener, catching three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.
The offensive line has four returning starters in Mike Dillon, Cam Wilder, Matt Biljac and Ben Warner. Freshman Chandler Edwards is a new starter at center.
Many of the same names appear heavily on defense as Mitch plays with a 21-man roster this season. Edwards is an outside linebacker on defense and Bartholomew works in the secondary. Joey Lankowski and Zack Witten work in the secondary and will see time at receiver. Biljac is a starting linebacker and the other linemen work along the front seven defensively as well.
The Eagles next play on September 5th, hosting Bible Baptist.
“We have a little time to work some things out and we’ll be a better team overall the next time we play,” said Mitch.