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The Hurricane Tigers were riding high seven games into the 2012 season. With a 20-game winning streak under its belt, which included a perfect 13-0 campaign in 2011, Hurricane rode into a regular-season contest with Desert Hills eyeing a possible repeat state championship.
Then came a triple-overtime defeat to Desert Hills that turned out to be not just another loss. The setback was difficult enough, played in driving rain and delayed 90 minutes for lightning, but starting quarterback Zach Prince also was hurt in the process.
Hurricane bounced back to win its next two games before being bounced 38-0 by Juan Diego in the playoffs.
"We really never did [recover]," Tigers coach Chris Homer said about the pivotal regular-season contest. "We lost our quarterback to injury. We probably lost our best player."
"It happened pretty quick," Homer added about the late-season slide.
Adlai Elison, who was forced into action at signal-caller for Hurricane in the wake of Prince's injury, is back to lead the offense, He'll get plenty of help from senior running back Cody LeBaron and big junior Jeremiah Iremiah (6 foot 1, 225 pounds) at fullback.
Look for LeBaron at outside linebacker and Elison at safety to be defensive keys, although the Tigers will go into the season inexperienced on that side of the ball.
"We're filling a lot of holes," Homer said. "A lot of 3A teams will say this, but depth is going to be an issue. We've got a lot of juniors who don't have a lot of experience."
ASSIGNMENT • 3AA South
LAST YEAR • 9-2 overall, 5-1 Region 9
KEY RETURNER • Adlai Elison, Sr., QB/DS
PLAYER TO WATCH • Jeremiah Iremiah, jr., FB
BIGGEST HOLE • The linemen positions between OTs Jordan Ease and Austin Butler.
NEED TO KNOW • Senior place-kicker Ethan Stratton could be a big asset in close games.