Channon Hall and the Shoemaker Grey Wolves didn’t have time for the losing streak last season.
Hired last July, Hall had his Grey Wolves moving stones, then building a foundation. In such a short time, there was simply too much to be done.
That became the Grey Wolves focus and remained their focus even as the losses continued to mount.
Then, it was over — the season and the streak. And the talk about the streak.
Shoemaker beat Ellison in the season-finale, snapping a 31-game losing streak, and then immediately started working to improve on its bittersweet 1-9 season for 2012.
“The streak was the streak. I think that streak was out of our minds way early because I think with the short time that we had those kids, they realized that we had a system in place overall to give them a chance to be successful,” Hall said. “That kept that thing (the streak) at bay for the rest of the season and then leading up to that last game. That (system) was the biggest thing those kids were focussed in on.”
Senior running back Johnny Jefferson committed to Baylor during the offseason following his first 1,000-yard rushing season.
Most successful out of the Wildcat formation, Jefferson ran for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and returns as the Grey Wolves’ feature back, but hardly their only weapon.
Hall expects junior quarterback Zaire Banner (698 yards) to lead a much-improved offense with a receiving corps that returns all but one player and includes weapons like receivers Lege Justice, Qwoy Blunt and Nahome Anderson and utility back Devin Sylve.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of playmakers and I’m not even naming all of them. I think it’s about six or seven guys ... who we feel like with the ball in their hands, they can make something happen and it’s going to be neat to see.”
Linebackers Malik Clemons and Jonathan Massey lead what should be another formidable front-seven unit for the Grey Wolves.
Clemons was the District 12-5A defensive newcomer of the year last year as a sophomore with 99 total tackles and Massey led the team with eight sacks to go along with his 68 tackles. Returning nose guard Tyrone Newsome and spring game standout defensive end Josh King also figure to have significant impact along the defensive line.