New coaches highlight 2019 Harford high school football season

The 2019 high school football season opened last week and across Harford County, four new coaches took over programs that each are very familiar with.

Eric Siegel steps in at Bel Air, while Jim French will run the show at C. Milton Wright. Bryan Hansrote is back at Edgewood for as second go-around and Justin Martinek is in charge at North Harford.


All are upbeat and ready for the 2019 season.

Siegel takes over Bobcats

It was a case of ready or not for Siegel, who was named head coach for Bel Air after David Huryk was declared ineligible by the MPSSAA for out of season practice issues.

Regardless, Siegel, who has ties to Bel Air as a student-athlete, has 19 years invested in the program. 15 years as a coach and teacher, including the JV head coach for five years. Most recently, Siegel has been the defensive coordinator for the varsity.

“There’s certainly more expectations, just more things that fall on my shoulders. Dave Huryk having that type of model that i can look to, because I’ve been with him for so long. He’s helped me, just the way he did things, do things correctly, not to mention, being able to talk to Craig Reddish, Bruce Riley, who’ve done it before as well. They helped steer me in a positive direction moving forward,” Siegel said..

The Bobcats currently have 47 varsity players and a nice number of 87 or so in the program.

Bel Air, because of the violations found by the MPSSAA, will forfeit its first game to North Harford. “The idea is we control the things we can control at this point” Siegel said. “That has happened, we’re kind of moving on from it, we’ll figure out for that first week a team building type activity to keep us all motivated in moving in a positive direction. Get our minds ready for what is now our first game, which is South Carroll at home on the 13th.”

“The expectations are the same, we want to win games, but at the same time, we want to build better young men through the sport of football,” Siegel said. “There’s a lot of life lessons that are able to be made.”

French in at CMW

French has 25 years at CMW, but a first as head coach with the Mustangs program.

His time started way back as a line coach under coach Steve Harward. Has also been a linebacker coach, quarterback coach, JV head coach for eight years, varsity assistant and varsity assistant head coach.

“Overwhelming, just positively overwhelming, with the work ethic and the positive attitudes and their focus and accountability and their responsibility in every aspect of their game," French said. “It’s been non-stop since last Wednesday and you can see for yourself how early these kids get here. Probably the best kids that we’ve had here in years as far as their work ethic, their growth, particularly in the weight room.”

CMW gridders on are on the turf 6 a.m to 8 a.m. each day.

Varsity numbers currently sit at 43 or 44 with a total of 77 in the program. “What we’re doing is adding stability to the program and building that new platform and so far, everybody has helped build that platform,” French said.

Practicing Monday, huddles were broke to chant, 1-2-3 beat Bel Air. “That’s their rival, kind of like Army-Navy,” French said. “I think they would probably tell you the same thing, we respect them greatly, they have great program over there, but when we get on the field, the gloves are off and hopefully it’s a great game with great sportsmanship."

The Mustangs begin the season Sept. 6, home against South Carroll.

Hansrote returns to Edgewood

It was three seasons ago and coach Hansrote was in charge at Edgewood. After a two-year absence, Hansrote is back to lead the Rams.

Hansrote was in Aberdeen last season with longtime friend Chris Matlack, but he knew where he wanted to be with this opportunity came around again.

“It was little bit of a couple of things. I was kind of asked if I was interested. I had some interest,” Hansrote said. “The reason I went to Aberdeen is Chris and I know each other from elementary school. I didn’t expect this to come open, that was kind of an permanent decision for me [staying in Aberdeen]. Then this came back open, Charles called me and told me that he was gonna step down and then some people in the building kind of asked me quietly if I was interested and I was. So, we had a couple conversations, a big long interview and here we are. We’re back and I’m happy to be back. I enjoy coaching in the building that I work in." Hansrote is a history teacher at Edgewood.

In Hansrote’s previous season, the Rams were 6-4. Cousin phenoms Deonte Banks and Antwain Banks were sophomores on that team.

The varsity roster sits at 40, maybe 42, but the Rams are at 90 in the program as of Monday. “We have a great number out here right now, extremely excited about that,” Hansrote said.

The Rams are dealing with an unexpected field issue. Trying to correct a drainage problem on the far side of the field, the Rams turf is being redone. The plan was that it will be ready on August 24, but that is not happening.

Hansrote says it should be ready for the October 4 game versus Havre de Grace. “Last year I think they had 22 or 23 seniors so we have a big group that’s gone, so we’re young,” Hansrote said. “We’re super young and then our guys are going to have four straight games on the road, even though two of them are home, technically. So, it’s going to be a challenge for us early on. We’ll see how we respond.”

The Rams open Sept, 6 at Perry Hall.

Martinek leading Hawks

Martinek joined the Hawks staff in 2010 and has coached straight through, except for the 2016 season. Martinek was the JV head coach in 2013 and he also played four years under former coach Ken Brinkman, graduating in 2005.

“Really, all the background stuff is the most stressful, but once we get into football it’s actually a lot easier,” Martinek said. “The first, the three days we’ve practiced so far, it has actually been a lot better than I actually thought it would go.”

The Hawks are the recipient of the Bel Air forfeit in week one. “The kids are excited that they already got a win, but at the same time, their not that excited, because they don’t get to start when everyone else does,” Martinek said. “They basically got to sit back and watch and wait for week two.”

The varsity numbers three days in were at 32. The total program number is 75.

“They’ve taken the change very, very smoothly. I told them going in that it’s a new offense, it’s a new defense,” Martinek said. “We’re going to have to work together and iron some things out to get everybody on the same page and I’ve been more than impressed, with how they’ve taken on what’s happened. They’re learning the offense quickly, learning the defense quickly and I’m very happy and it’s only the third day of where we stand.”

The Hawks will open at home on Sept. 13 against Rising Sun.