MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– The Harlem Huskies are looking for redemption after finishing second in the NIC-10 last season.
“It left a sour taste in their mouth which is good because it means they want to do better this year,” said third-year Harlem head coach Bob Moynihan.
The Huskies’ only conference loss came in the season opener with Hononegah. It wasn’t the start quarterback Austin Redmond wanted, but he’s determined for a change in his senior season.
“Definitely just being more consistent, being there with the run, picking up on reading defenses, those are all things that I’ve definitely gotten better with over the offseason.”
Senior DeAndre Young is going to be a key guy on both sides of the ball, but especially on the offensive side. He wasn’t used much at running back until late last the season, but he’s one of those players who can do it all.
“Versatile kid that can play all over the field,” said Moynihan. “He can play corner in the secondary. He can play safety. He can play outside receiver, and we are moving him all over the place.”
Sophomore Jahmani Muhammad was a standout track star in his freshman season as the JV conference champion in the 100-meter dash. Moynihan expects him to make an impact.
“His speed is what’s going to be a big issue for us, and that’s where he’s going to make his biggest impact, because again, we can put him at running back, we can put him at outside receiver, we can put him at the H. He’s going to cause some problems for some people.”
Muhammad likes knowing Moynihan thinks so highly of him. “You know, he has the confidence in me to help us win games, so yeah I’m really excited about this year. ”
The Huskies have historically been an offensively focused team, but with the addition of coach Moynihan three years ago, the culture has shifted. Now Harlem is a defensive powerhouse.
The graduation of Adrian Palos won’t go unnoticed. He was the NIC-10 defensive MVP last season. This year, Harlem will be looking to Keshawn Harrington-McKinney, Logan Lawson and Ben Larson Jr. on the defensive end for major contributions
“I’ve been working a lot more on footwork and hand placement and my moves off the line,” said Harrington-McKinney. “I feel like this year is more of a year of really showing what all I got on the line instead of just power.”
The Huskies have already been hit hard by injuries. Three-year starter Connor Willard is out with a torn ACL. Receiver Mahari Taylor is also being evaluated for an injury. His status for the season for now is unknown.