An up and down season in 2021 proved to be the last at Wilmington High School for head coach Scott Killen, who went 42-36 in eight seasons.
But the Hurricane finished 10-25 over the last three-plus seasons and Killen stepped down as head coach.
In his place, Ryan Evans Sr. takes over the Hurricane.
Evans inherits a team that went 3-7 last year, 2-3 in the SBAAC American Division.
WHS graduates Cameron McEvoy and Jeff Valentine were both first-team All-SBAAC last year while Brett Brooks was second team. Kicker Parker Henry also graduated and was the top special teams player for WHS.
Valentine was the top tackler on the team a year ago while McEvoy took the majority of the varsity snaps at quarterback and was the second leading rusher on the team.
Evans has on his high school staff Aryon Thompson as defensive coordinator, Koury Johnson as offensive coordinator, Shane Walterhouse as defensive line coach, Marcus Stewart as secondary coach, Joe Gigandet and Davey Allen as offensive line coaches, Mike Brown as wide receiver coach and Kyle Davis as running back coach.
There are eight returning letterwinners for the Hurricane this season, Thad Stuckey, Darrick Perdue, Chase Pickard, Josh Snell, Zeth Cowin, Adrien Cody and Tyler Krammer, Evans said.
Stuckey (1,162 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns) was first-team all-league while Perdue and Snell were both second team. Perdue and Snell were standout defensive linemen who will give opposing offenses fits in 2022.
Among the players Evans noted as newcomers of note, among them players who did not play exclusively varsity last season, are linemen Chris Stewart and Malachi Cumberland, and backs Zane Smith, Mikey Brown and Aiden Price.
Pickard and Brown, the coach said, have stepped up and taken over leadership of the program.
Of Pickard, Evans said, “Shut up and play type of player. Coachable, smart, does the right thing when no one is looking.”
Of Brown, the coach stated, “Has stepped up in our off-season program. Leads by example in and out of the classroom.”
While they are leaders, Pickard and Brown don’t have exclusive rights to that title. Evans likes “our leadership from our younger players.”
The coach said he also likes “the willingness to want to win at all costs and the hard work and dedication on and off the field” to make that happen.
However, consistency is something his squad needs to work on in order for the other aspects of the game to grow. Evans also said the team needs to be disciplined as well to compete for a league championship in 2022.
“Very excited about the team that we have assembled,” Evans said. “We have a lot of young talent that will soar within the SBAAC this year. I am excited to see our boys compete at the highest level and finish everything that we do.”