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New Castle to rely on OSU-bound wide receiver

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Schedule

Coach: Joe Cowart

2012 record: 4-5, 3-5

Date Opponent Time

8.30 at Central Valley* 7

9.6 Riverside 7:30

9.13 at Ambridge* 7:30

9.20 at Montour* 7:10

9.27 Chartiers Valley* 7:30

10.4 at Blackhawk* 7:30

10.11 West Allegheny* 7:30

10.18 at Moon* 7:30

10.25 Hopewell* 7:30

*conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing Julian Cox

31-77, 616 yards, 10 TDs

Rushing Jalen Holmes*

119-760 yards, 3 TDs

Receiving Malik Hooker

13-324 yards, 5 TDs

*Graduated

Top high school sports
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

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.”

 

 

 
 


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