Our newest school spotlight covers the Hancock Hawks out of Hancock County, Mississippi. Hancock plays in the Region 4 6-A division. The Hawks have only been to the playoffs 7 times in their programs history, but have been twice in the last few years under Head Coach Neil Lollar. Under Lollar the Hawks have seen some highs and lows and are traversing up, building off of last years playoff berth. Hancock has been notorious for breeding “old school” athletes, tough and hard nosed players make up most of the team
Coach Lollar started his coaching career in 2009 and coached at Stone County High School for 4 1/2 years. He eventually went on to move to coaching at Hancock as a Defensive Back coach for 3 years before being promoted to Defensive Coordinator. Once former Hawks Head Coach Rocky Gaudin retired Coach Lollar stepped into the head role and has remained for the last 7 years.
What is your philosophy when it comes to coaching and developing kids?
“I want too build toughness, we have smart players and I want to preach to them that being coachable is so important. If you are coachable you can play any role in my program no matter the size. Our practices are physical and that breeds toughness. We have expectations going into practice that it will be high paced and physical which translates well into the games. We have some great players that have bought in and coaches throughout our staff who are all on the same page and working for similar goals.”
Hancock besides exhibiting a physical gameplay, run the Gun T and can do many things out of that formation. They have the ability to pass the ball and move into 5 wide sets from the Gun T. Lollar says their system fits their players and they take advantage of that. Defensively they play out of a 4-3 but are multiple. They are constantly changing looks depending on the formations they see and always seem to have a few hybrid guys who can do many things on defense.
The Hawks have multiple returning seniors looking to make a big impact next season. First, is their Quarterback Dylan Moran who stands at 6’3 185 LBS. Moran has a strong arm, reads defenses well, and has shown the ability to handle responsibility extremely well.
Another impact returner is the lead tackler for the Hawks Jeffrey Hopgood who plays Linebacker and a little bit of Running Back. Hopgood has been 1st team all district for the last two seasons while leading the team in tackles those past two years as well. Hopgood is 5’8 190 LBS and is the leader on the defense, he lines up the other guys and he makes the plays.
On offense one of the big leaders is Running Back Zach Gullung who stands at 5’7 190 LBS. He is going into his senior year and has been known to bulldoze his opponents. This past season he had over 1400 yards and 13 TDs. Zach is the strongest kid in the weight room and his strength shows as he gets better as each game gets later and the opposing players get more and more tired.
Another notable player on offense is Wide Receiver Neil Acker who stands at a towering 6’5 185 LBS. Acker led the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season. He hit a big growth spurt and is now learning how to use his size to his ability. Coach Lollar thinks he is in store for a big impact season this next fall.