The David Morbitzer era at Hanahan High School saw the Hawks go as far in the postseason as they had in six years.
The Hawks won a region crown and advanced to the third round of the Class 3A playoffs before falling to Wade Hampton, finishing up Morbitzer’s first campaign with an 8-4 mark. That was one more win than the previous two seasons combined.
Morbitzer and crew set the bar high but there are tons of questions about the 2019 squad, though. The Hawks bring back just two starters on offense and one on defense.
“We did a really good job last year but this is a new team,” Morbitzer said. “The outlook of the program hasn’t changed. We’re still trying to give a championship effort. At the end of the day, all you can ask is for your kids to give all that they can.”
Shoving off to a fast start seems like a tall order for this inexperienced squad. The Hawks host Myrtle Beach, the No. 1 team in 4A, to start the season on Aug. 30 and hit the road for two straight at Woodland (Sept. 6) and Bluffton (Sept. 13).
The Hawks host Philip Simmons on Sept. 20 and complete the non-region slate against Berkeley County rival Timberland on Sept. 27. Timberland is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A.
Hanahan begins defense of its region crown Oct. 4 at rival Bishop England. The Hawks sputtered out of the gate last season, going 1-3 before catching fire and winning seven straight.
“We started off slow last year,” Morbitzer said, “but we finished strong. I would say we had a pretty good run in the last eight games.”
The good news on offense is the Hawks have a returning starter at quarterback in Mac Blakeney. They look to throw it more than last year, using their weaponry on the perimeter while, at the same time, enabling a mostly brand-new offensive line to mature.
“We’re going to see a lot of balls in the air,” Morbitzer said. “We’ve got a lot of good talent on the outside.”
Johnathan Shelton is the backup quarterback.
Blakeney’s targets will be Sam Zeron, Ray Scott, Kristjan Mustipher and Chevy Campbell.
In the run game, Michael Chiaromonte and Josh Shaw will see their share of touches.
The offensive line brings back just one starter in right guard Andrew Stewart. While not seasoned, the front does have some size to work with.
The other projected starters are left tackle Jack Ivey, left guard Cayman Bagwell, center Riley Roof and right tackle Lyndley Smith.
Defensively, the anchor up front is Tyree Drayton. Drayton is the lone returning starter.
Linebacker Alex Herriott was a starting offensive lineman in 2018 but has moved to linebacker.
With only 34 varsity players, several offensive Hawks will be leaned on to play ironman football by lining up on defense too.
Stewart is set to play noseguard and Owen Smith is the other defensive end.
Herriott and Shaw are the inside linebackers while Chiaromonte and Archer Cooper are outside on the second level.
In the secondary, Zac Holmes and Travis Brown are corners while Scott and Shelton will play strong safety and free safety.
On special teams, Blake Morros is set to handle kicking and punting duties. Josh Litwin is the long snapper and Shelton the holder.
“I’m excited about the work we’ve put in,” Morbitzer said. “Our kids are really trying hard. We’re growing as a team and moving in the right direction.”