The last time Huntington St Joe had a football team, World War II was dominating the headlines. However, the Irish will make their return to the gridiron this season. Huntington St Joe will be playing a junior varsity schedule this season, but head coach Adam Hill hopes it will be the start of something special. So far, he says that the program has been huge but rewarding undertaking.
“It’s been a bigger task than anyone, including myself, anticipated,” said Hill. “There’s so much that goes into it that people on the periphery don’t understand. It’s a situation where I went in with a plan but then realized that I needed something else to do what I wanted to do. But the staff here has been supportive and understanding of everything we needed.”
One of Hill’s largest tasks is making sure that his program is attractive to players. He’s trying to add as many amenities as possible to hopefully make playing at St Joe an option that many will want.
“We’re building a nutrition bar in our weight room,” he stated. “We have a contract with Coke. We have protein and electrolytes and stuff like that for the kids after they work out. We’re trying to run it like a college. I told that if Notre Dame has it, we’re going to have it at St Joe. If Alabama has it, we’re going to have it at St Joe. And everyone laughed at that. But when you sit back and look at it, we’re going to have a brand new weight room, a carpeted locker room with 50 custom wooden lockers, a nutrition bar and an indoor turf area where we can get in out of the rain and practice on turf. I can’t wait for people to come out and see it. I want us to be the standard for the area.”
Hill comes in with a strong resume, including coaching stints in the AFL with the Tampa Bay Storm and the XFL with the Tampa Bay Vipers. Hill also served in the Community Relations department for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He believes in helping both players and staff with individual goals.
“As a head coach, I’m going to invest in every coach on my staff,” he said. “If your goal is to coach college football, I’m going to do everything that I can as a head to help you go coach college football. I want the best coaches. As far as the players go, what are their goals? What can we do to help get what they want out of our football program. Every kid is a little bit different, and we need to coach them a little different.”
At quarterback, sophomore Eian Duffy is expected to start. Duffy transferred in from Hurricane and brings the skill set that Hill wants in a quarterback.
Brothers Carter and Colin Woelfel will both provide major contributions. Colin is a very strong player who will see some time at running back. Woelfel is a tall, fast wide receiver. He will also see time at linebacker.
Trey Bryant, who is a junior and oldest player on the team, will play some at offensive line and linebacker. Hill credits Bryant with helping to lead the program in the early stages by doing whatever he is asked to do.
Mason Watts will see time at wide receiver and safety. Reed Little will play some on the offensive line and defensive end. Carson McDowell will play at Tight End and compete for time at quarterback. Miciah Ehrim is a talented athlete who will play at wide receiver and defensive back.
In addition to the players mentioned, St Joe also has some talented incoming freshmen.
Nymir Bryant is a 6’4″ wide receiver and outside linebacker. He is a phenomenal athlete who also plays basketball and can perform a windmill dunk at 14-years-old. Derrick Jenkins is another freshman who is described as an athlete. The speedster will see time at wide receiver, running back and defensive back. Wyatt Pence is a fullback, linebacker and offensive lineman who is described as hard nosed and quick.
The Irish have already been hard at work and recently competed in Boyd County’s 7-on-7 tournament and placed second out of 12 teams without their starting quarterback along with other starters, so they have been preparing for their schedule.
“I want to give the majority of these kids their first high school varsity football experience,” said Hill. “I want to get them out on the field and let them see what that contact is like.”
This season, St Joe will be playing a junior varsity schedule in anticipation for next season’s varsity debut. Hill says the team is still looking for more games to fill out the schedule
8/12 @ Tolsia (Scrimmage)
8/19 @ Raceland (Scrimmage)
9/04 @ Parkersburg Catholic
9/11 @ Boyd County
10/02 @ Raceland
10/13 Parkersburg Catholic
10/16 @ Ravenswood
St Joe is a brand new program. Like any new program, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. However, the school has made a huge commitment to football by hiring a professional level coach in Hill and also in making its facilities top-notch. This year will be one where the fledgling program finds its traction. Look for the Irish to improve as the season goes along in preparation for its big debut as a varsity program next season.