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Hurricanes hit the road
Team faces South Georgia Warriors in season opener
The Hinesville Hurricanes hit the road for their first regular-season game Saturday night against the South Georgia Warriors in Quitman at the Brook County High School Stadium. The Hurricanes play their home opener at 7 p.m. June 14 at the Long Bell Football Stadium at Liberty Independent Troop Park against the Central Florida Thoroughbreds. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
June 1 marked the official start of the 2008 Hurricane season. And the first one is predicted to make landfall Saturday evening in Quitman as the Hinesville Hurricanes semi-pro football team take on the South Georgia Warriors at 7 p.m.
But the South Georgia Warriors have been known to handle the sustained fury of a category five Hurricane game. The Warriors finished the regular 2007 season in second place for the Southeast American Football League south division teams. The Hurricanes finished the '07 season ranked third.
In order to keep the Warriors in check, the Hurricanes will rely to the expertise of their offensive coach Michael "Ice" Jones, who said they need to take away the Warriors speed.
"We can take away their quickness with the counter trey, counter traps and a lot of misdirection plays," he said. "But we want to spread them out also because they are not quite as good on their tackling individually."
Jones said the Warriors' secondary is very fast on its feet, but not the rest of the squad.
"So I'm putting my best three or four guys together," Jones said. "We put some on their fastest on two of my players and then my decoy is my third man."
The Hurricanes have an advantage this season with three quarterbacks available to take the helm, each of which will be allowed to bring in their own sets of backs in order to keep speed, talent and fresh legs in the game.
"We no longer depend on one or two guys now," Jones said. "I have two guys who can bootleg and go, and I have another who can control the offense and the game."
Defensively, coach James Sharp said the Hurricanes need to shut down the pass and force the Warriors to keep the ball on the ground.
"We are working at shutting down one of their bread and butter plays," he said. "They line up trips but run it like a screen with their back. We are working on defending that play for little or no yardage. We shut that down, then they have to go their running game. One thing about them is they have two quarterbacks,  one that can pass and one that can just handoff the ball. If we shut down the passing game, then they have to keep the ball on the ground all night and we can take them down easier."
This is the first year that the Hurricanes will open their first regular season game on the road. Coach Sharp said he thought it would motivate the players more and change things up for the season. He said organizing the road games has always been the hardest thing to do throughout the season because usually only about half of the players are available for the road games due to work or family schedules. Getting the first game done on the road gives them an early opportunity to see how many players they can expect to have on the traveling roster, and work out all the kinks early in the season rather than halfway into it.
Coach Jones thinks opening the season on the road has another advantage.
"I believe it takes the pressure off of us because at a home game the guys have the pressure of having to perform well while their friends and family are watching," Jones said. "At an away game they can just go out there and play ball, there is no pressure. The three-hour ride gives them time to reflect and relax."
Coaches Jones and Sharp said their home-game roster consists of about 60 players; they typically can count on about 30 players for road games. The team lost a few players last season but added several more when many previously deployed players returned home ready for some football.
"It helps them recover from the stress and the ordeal they had to deal with and they are back to a familiar game they know and love," Sharp said.

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