By Joe Brocato
The resurgence of the Hurricane Redskins was one of the top storylines in West Virginia High School football last fall. In the first season under head coach Donnie Mays, Hurricane advanced to the state semifinal round for the first time.
“We did finish in the top four, which was the best in school history. We took a little pride in what we did. But we still have room to grow,” Mays said.
In each of their ten victories, Hurricane scored at least 35 points and they averaged 45 points per game overall. Players adjusted quickly to the new, uptempo style.
“I don’t want it to be hard,” Mays said of his offense. “So it is very simple. It is about execution. I think everybody’s is but our kids really picked up on it and took a lot of pride in executing what we did.”
Division I talents are found all over the Redskins’ roster. Former Capital quarterback JacQai Long moved back to West Virginia after playing one season in Ohio. Long is committed to play at Marshall.
“I grew up here my whole life. I’m from here so all the players, I already knew them. It is just like coming back home,” Long said.
Last year, sophomore Noah Vellaithambi passed for 2,399 yards and 27 touchdowns. Mays says Vellaithambi will be utilized at various spots all over the field.
“Noah can do a lot of extra stuff too that we have kind of discussed,” Mays said. “He can run the ball. He can catch the ball. He can throw the ball. But he can also play defense. He can cover kicks. He can return kicks. He can do a lot of different things because he is so athletic.”
Receivers Tyshawn Dues and LaRon Dues both are holding Division 1 offers. Tyshawn was recently offered by WVU.
“Tyshawn went up to WVU the other day and got an offer up there. He ran a 4.5 [40-yard dash] for Coach [Neal] Brown. Coach Brown told him, he said, ‘If you run a 4.5, I will offer you’. That’s what happened,” Mays said.
The recruitment of 6-foot-5, 270-pound sophomore lineman Da’Ron Parks has exploded in recent months. Big 10, ACC and SEC programs have taken serious interest.
“With Nick Saban and Alabama, when you’ve got guys like that sending you messages and asking, ‘Can this guy get down here to camp?’ Da’Ron has had an outstanding offseason. He has been offered by about everybody. But you know what is funny about it is he really doesn’t care about that right now. He is very humble and he is trying to get to learn. He still has three years of high school football,” Mays said.
After playing on Thanksgiving weekend, a trip to Wheeling Island in December is a clear goal for the 2023 Redskins.
“Obviously last year they were happy because it was the farthest Hurricane has ever made it,” Long said. “Now we are just trying to take it one step farther and not only make it to the championship, but win it.”