ShareThis Page

New Castle to rely on OSU-bound wide receiver

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
New Castle's Drew Allen works out Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New Castle.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
New Castle quarterback Julian Cox works out Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New Castle.

New Castle coach Joe Cowart watched how diversely Montour used Devin Wilson and Central Valley used Robert Foster, rather than leaving them at receiver.

Now, his talented wideout, Malik Hooker, could become the next Parkway Conference talent to do a little bit of everything.

“He's that type of kid,” said Cowart, New Castle's second-year coach. “We'll try to get the ball in his hands as much as we possibly can.”

Hooker, an Ohio State recruit, could at different times play receiver, running back or wildcat quarterback for the Red Hurricanes, who return 18 of 22 starters from last year's lineup that narrowly missed the playoffs. With that combination of talent and experience, New Castle would loathe another near miss.

“Inside our locker room, expectations are high,” Cowart said, “but we weren't a team that saw a whole lot of success a year ago.”

New Castle needed a Week 9 victory over Hopewell to reach the playoffs, but instead, the Red Hurricanes lost, 42-16. A year earlier, a playoff tie-breaker kept them home. The team hasn't reached the playoffs since 2009.

“We had a chance to go to the playoffs, and (the game with Hopewell) wasn't even close,” Cowart said. “We have a chip on our shoulders that our season a year ago didn't end the way we wanted it to. Not nearly.”

The Canes have 27 seniors, including Jake McPhatter (5-foot-11, 170 pounds), a versatile rusher and receiver who has a scholarship offer from Ball State to play defense.

Also among the seniors will be Julian Cox (6-2, 180), a dual-threat quarterback who threw 10 touchdowns and rushed for four others. Wide receiver Drew Allen (5-10, 160), tight end Stew Allen (6-3, 200) and tight end/fullback Levar Ware (6-3, 235) complete the pass attack.

“We'll try to make (Hooker) a focal point of the offense, but we know defenses will do everything they can to stop him,” Cowart said. “So we're going to have to lean on all of our other guys as well.”

Hooker, who also stars for New Castle's basketball team, had 13 catches for 324 yards and five touchdowns a season ago, his first playing football since junior high.

New Castle visited Hoover, Ala., in late July for a summer passing camp that's considered among the nation's best. Even against talented high school teams from the South, Hooker stood out.

“There were some incredible football players at that camp,” Cowart said, “and I think Malik was the best one.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.