Back-to-back winning seasons have the West Meck Hawks thinking about a third.
West Meck is 17-8 the last two years, with nine wins in 2016 and eight a year ago under the leadership of head coach Jarvis Davis, who has challenged his players to be the best they can be individually and collectively.
“I told them, ‘Show this community and this city what West Meck is about,’” Davis said. “They take it to heart and take pride in it. They’re putting West Meck on the map.”
After having 25 seniors last year, the Hawks are much younger in 2018, but they return a number of proven seniors to lead the way. At the forefront is receiver Khafre Brown, who doubles as one of the state’s top track and field sprinters. Brown has returned from a torn ACL that sidetracked his junior season. He is a major Division I college recruit and the younger brother of former Hawk Dyami Brown, now a freshman at North Carolina.
“He’s a down-to-earth person, even though he’s being recruited by every school in the country,” Davis said. “He’s real humble and a jokester. When we go hard, he makes practices light for the kids and takes their minds off of it, makes it fun. He makes everybody around him better.”
Senior Preston Brown (no relation to Khafre) returns at quarterback after he missed most of last season after dislocating his hip in the second game of the season against West Charlotte. Brown showed in a short time what he could do, throwing for 163 yards and two scores and rushing for 148 and one touchdown in the Hawks’ 42-19 win over Vance in the season opener.
“He’s a true quarterback, a true leader,” Davis said.
His return allows junior J’Mari Taylor to return to his natural position at running back. Taylor filled in at quarterback last year and threw for 1,336 yards and 19 touchdowns, while rushing for 658 yards and 10 scores. Most significantly, he kept the Hawks’ season on track after Brown went down, as the Hawks averaged 38.3 points per game.
“He stepped in and did everything we asked him to do,” Davis said.
Defensively, senior Eric Hudson is back at middle linebacker. In February, Hudson won the 195-pound wrestling state title and was named most outstanding wrestler for all weight classes at the 4A championships. Davis sees a determined young man in the middle of his defense.
“He’s just going to get it done,” Davis said. “That’s what I like about him, and it showed in wrestling.”
Fellow senior Joshua Hudson (no relation to Eric) will line up at defensive end after leading the Hawks with five sacks a year ago, and now that he’s not playing quarterback, Taylor will rejoin the secondary.