To say it's unfamiliar territory would be an understatement. In Mike Smith's 39 seasons as head coach, Hampton has lost its opening game only six times. The sixth came last Saturday, as Woodside piled up 422 yards in a 29-22 win.
Nearly a week later, the Crabbers have put that loss in their rearview mirror. Not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to. After all, it's a long season.
"They're doing OK," Smith said. "I mean, it didn't set well with them. They certainly took the loss hard, and if you're not hurt after a loss, you shouldn't be playing. But they're young and they're resilient."
One thing Smith noticed Saturday was the youth factor. The Crabbers started two freshmen — lineman Daunte Wilson and receiver/defensive back Daquin Moore. Smith says it's the youngest team he's had since the 1970s.
"We have a lot of youth, and they have to grow up," Smith said. "After a couple of series, they revert back to their days of playing with the (youth-league) Tornados and Cavaliers. And we played more people than we've probably ever played in an opener. We played probably 30 kids or more."
Smith did see some encouraging signs. After falling behind 21-0 at halftime, the Crabbers outscored Woodside 22-8. Dion Futch, Hampton's most dangerous player, saw some time at tailback and provided big plays.
"You have to give Woodside credit — they're a good team," Smith said. "But we still could have won the ballgame. At the end there, we have them in a third-and-9 and we let them get a first down on a quick screen. We pretty much controlled the second half.
"But they'll get better. Before it's all over, I think they'll account for themselves really well."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun