Coach: Joe McKain, 1st season
Last year: 2-8 overall (missed Class 5A playoffs)
League: Class 5A Aurora League
Players to watch: Chance Drake, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, QB/TE, jr.; Tyrae McFall, 5-10, 185, RB/DE, sr.; Keanu Trujillo, 5-9, 175, WR, sr.; Dillon Baksh, 5-8, 245, OG, sr.; Kameron Miller, 6-0, 270, OL, jr.; Mario Owusbre, 5-10, 180, LB, soph.; Kamoni Wash, 5-11, 165, TE/DB, sr.; Jesus Chavarria, 5-9, 140, DB, jr.
2012 Outlook: Joe McKain moves up from a longtime assistant to Bob Bozied to head coach at Hinkley, looking to spark a program that’s hungry for a winning season. The Thunderbirds graduated a number of dynamic talents in Dondre Smallwood, Johnnie Newsom and Mike Davis, but McKain feels good about the skill players he has in the fold. It might take a few weeks for Hinkley to find out its true identity, as a large group of players didn’t have enough practice time to play in the team’s Zero Week contest and will have to work hard to get into the mix. A transfer may assume duties at quarterback after sitting out half the season, but junior Chance Drake will man the position until then. Tyrae McFall, Keanu Trujillo and Kamoni Wash give Drake some weapons on an offense will be more ball control as opposed to last season’s run-and-gun unit. McKain said linebacker play was clearly a deficiency last season, but feels like the Thunderbirds will flow better to the ball in 2012. Junior Jesus Chavarria keys the defensive backfield.
Quoting the coach: “I think just going into it, we just want to compete week in and week out. One of the things we talk about is putting ourselves in position to win and be as competitive as we can, so hopefully at the end of the game, we give ourselves a shot to pull one out. … Athletically, we feel pretty good with the kids we have, we just don’t have a lot of depth, especially up front.”
Schedule (home games in all caps, played at Aurora Public Schools Stadium): Friday, Aug. 24 — vs. Vista PEAK at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 1 — THORNTON, noon; Thursday, Sept. 13 — vs. Arvada West at NAAC, 6 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 21 — MONTROSE, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 28 — ADAMS CITY, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 4 — vs. Rangeview at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 11 — DENVER EAST, 6 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 19 — vs. Gateway at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 26 — vs. Aurora Central at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
Correction…Kamoni Wash is a SENIOR at Hinkley high