Bombs away: Heritage Generals will air it out this season

Staff file photo / Heritage quarterback Nick Hanson's experience, a deep group of receivers and an inexperienced offensive line are some of the reasons the Generals plan to lean on the passing game this season.


Head coach: E.K. Slaughter (40-26 in six years here; 71-59 overall)

Returning starters: 6 offensive; 6 defensive

Key players: QB Nick Hanson (6-4, 220); WR/DB Dylan Bryan (5-9, 155); WR/DB Cade Kiniry (5-10, 155); WR/DB Logan Lowe (5-11, 170); LB Zach Brown (6-3, 220); DE Jonathan Washburn (6-4, 220).

Team strengths: In a region of teams that, for the most part, do the majority of their offensive damage on the ground, the Generals will take a different approach this season behind a veteran quarterback and a slew of talented receivers.

Team concerns: Heritage had one of the area's most physical offensive lines in 2019, but all five starters graduated, so injuries in the trenches could be fatal for the Generals. Coach Slaughter acknowledged the offense is "definitely a lot smaller and inexperienced up front," but he also said the Generals "feel good about what we have."

Breakout candidate: Ryan Heet (6-0, 175), playing his first season as a junior, makes an already deep receiving corps even deeper, and he joins Bryan, Kiniry and Lowe to give the Generals a very deep secondary.

Season outlook: Heritage won eight games last season and went 5-1 in region play, earning a No. 2 playoff seed on tiebreaker procedures. Those who watched the 2019 Generals should buckle up for a noticeable move upward - as in way up - at least for the offense.

"We're probably going to sling it around more than we usually have," Slaughter said. "It's our strength right now."

With Hanson a three-year starter who threw for 1,713 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, plus a very deep group of receivers, the aerial assault makes sense. When you add in the fact that all five starting linemen will be new and that Hanson is the leading returning rusher with 129 yards, well, bombs away it is.

"Nick has progressed great in his three years, and he's picked up where he left off last year," Slaughter said. "It's nice to have that type of experience and to know we don't have to install new things for him. It's also nice that overall we are a pretty intelligent team and the guys know what to expect of the coaches. This is one of my favorite groups to coach, and I don't say that lightly."

photo Staff file photo / Heritage football coach E.K. Slaughter returns six starters on each side of the ball this season, and he has a heavy concentration of talent and experience at receiver and defensive back.