YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In mid-January, Valley Christian hired Andy Hake as head football coach. Hake amassed a winning percentage of 80.6% (104-25) in 11 years at Western Reserve. His teams qualified for the post-season nine times and won or shared a league championship seven times.
“I feel completely excited and humbled at the same time,” Coach Hake said. “I’ve always loved the game of football. I love working with young people, trying to help make them better. I feel blessed and grateful to Valley Christian who gave me this opportunity.”
The Eagles have scored 30 points or more just once in their last 23 games played.
Under Hake, Reserve posted 30 points or more 66% of the time over the last 38 games (2016-19) of his stay as the Blue Devil leader.
“We have great kids here,” Hake said. “They want to be coached up and they want to have a top program in this area. We have to instill the belief that we can do it, and then go out and execute the plan.”
Valley Christian opens the new campaign at Campbell Memorial Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 2-6 (2-4, 6th place in EOAC)
Coach: Andy Hake, 1st season at Valley Christian
Previewing Valley Christian’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 15.4 (48th in area)
Returning Starters: 8
Key Returnees: Joey Batista, SR/QB; Cam Davenport, SR/RB; Jon’Trell Mixon, SR/TE
Key Losses: Eric Davis, OL; Tyrone Lindsey, ATH; Nasir Long, OL
Name to watch for: Joey Batista, QB
Senior Joey Batista appears to be in line to open the year at quarterback.
“Joey’s an experienced player,” Hake said. “We’ll lean on his play and positive attitude greatly. Joey is a tremendous kid and really wants the team to do well. I have total faith that he will get the job done and perform in a way that will make us all proud of him.”
Batista will be joined by skill players Cam Davenport in the backfield, as well as VeShaun Gurley and Jhordan Peete as his wideouts and Jon’Trell Mixon at tight end.
“We plan to implement a variety of formations and utilize our skill players by using three-back, two-back, one-back and no-back sets,” Hake said. “We’ll run a lot of plays that feature down schemes from our offensive line. Quick passes and screens will also be a big part of our offense. I feel we have great skill players and need to get them the ball in space.”
Up front, the Eagles return Phillip Chandler-Cox, Kyle Kornell, Kenny Ali and Jemel Jenkins.
“I love lineman in general,” Hake said. “The most unselfish guys on the team. Our offensive line is coming along well and I have been cautiously optimistic in regards to this area of our team. I feel we have some good ones. They’ve had a good off-season in regards to the weight room.”
Previewing Valley Christian’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 21.0 (T-23rd in area)
Returning Starters: 8
Key Returnees: Requan Bell, SR/DB; VeShaun Gurley, JR/LB; Jon’Trell Mixon, SR/DL; Jon’Qual Pabellon, JR/LB
Key Losses: Eric Davis, DL; Tyrone Lindsey, DB
Name to watch for: Jon’Trell Mixon, DE
“The defense will be the heart of our team and program,” Hake said. “We’ll play extremely fast and spirited. I can see these kids want to have a great team, and it all starts and stops with the defense.”
Sammy Washington and Jon’Trell Mixon (45 tackles, 1 INT) will play at the defensive end spots up front. In the middle of the defense, the Eagles will feature Brian Tubbs and Cam Davenport, along with Jon’Qual Pabellon and VeShaun Gurley at linebacker. In the secondary, Phillip Spradley and Requan Bell will man the defensive back slots for the team.
“We will play with a chip on our shoulder,” Hake said. “We want speed and to play with tenacity.”
2020 EOAC Standings
United – 5-1 (7-3)
Leetonia – 5-1 (7-2)
Southern – 5-1 (5-3)
Wellsville – 3-3 (4-6)
Columbiana – 3-3 (4-5)
Valley Christian – 2-4 (2-6)
Lisbon – 1-5 (4-7)
East Palestine – 0-6 (1-9)
Aug. 20 – at Campbell Memorial
Aug. 27 – LaBrae
Sept. 3 – McDonald
Sept. 10 – at United
Sept. 17 – at Lisbon
Sept. 24 – at Leetonia
Oct. 1 – Columbiana
Oct. 8 – Southern
Oct. 15 – Wellsville
Oct. 22 – at East Palestine