Editor’s note: The third in a series previewing area high school football teams.
WEAVER — Throughout the last four years, there was one position head coach Daryl Hamby never worried about during the offseason. Now with the graduation of his four-year starting quarterback, Timothy Hawkins, Hamby now has to break in a new quarterback.
“It’s been strange, there’s no doubt at it,” Hamby said. “It’s going to be different because I had (Hawkins) for four years. He was a great athlete, but an even better kid, so we are definitely going to miss him.”
Hawkins helped Weaver win 20 games and earn three playoff berths the past four years. But Hamby won’t have to look too far for Hawkins’ replacement.
Paul Hubbard, a sophomore, was the starting quarterback for the Bearcats’ junior high team his seventh- and eighth-grade years, before being called up to the varsity last fall.
“We’ve got a young kid in Paul who will do a pretty good job,” Hamby said. “He’s already been hard at work trying to get better every day, but we are still going to have to take little steps with him.
“The position isn’t new to him, and he’s a very smart kid, not just in the classroom but on the field, so that helps.”
Despite his youth and inexperience on the varsity stage, Hubbard already knows he won’t be able to do all the “razzle-dazzle” plays during his first year as the starter.
“When I was at junior high, I was able to do whatever I wanted,” he said. “Now it will be harder because there is better competition.”
Hamby said Hubbard’s athletic ability is unprecedented, but that has nothing to do with putting him at the quarterback position.
“In fact, the quarterback doesn’t have to be the best athlete,” he said. “He’s just going to have to be able to control things, and (Hubbard) is going to be able to do that because he’s such a smart kid.”
Defensively, Weaver will have youth there as well. The Bearcats return only three starters, and
Hamby will look to senior linebacker Deon Monroe to serve as a leader.
“Deon has been working hard this summer,” said Hamby. “He’s gone to a lot of camps, and gotten stronger, bigger, and faster during the offseason. I’ve been very impressed with his time, so we expect a lot of good things out of him this season.”
Heading into his final season, Monroe isn’t worried about all the numbers and statistics that come with playing football. He’s only worried about the people around him.
“I want to help make all my other teammates better,” he said. “I want to be a leader.”
Since Hamby took over for Paul Farlow following the 2009 season, Weaver has made the playoffs three of the four years, but hasn’t been able to make it out of the first round. Two of those years, the Bearcats have fallen to the eventual Class 3A state runner-ups (Hamilton in 2010 and Madison Academy in 2011).
Advancing deeper in the playoffs is one of the things Hubbard is looking to try to help Weaver do for the first time since 2005, when the Bearcats ultimately fell to Cherokee County in the quarterfinals.
“I want to help these guys have a winning season as well as making it to the second round of the playoffs,” he said.
In addition, 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of Weaver’s first 10-0 regular season. Assistant coach Marcus Herbert was the senior dual-threat quarterback for the Bearcats that year, so Hamby will look to him to help teach Hubbard everything about the position.