Anthony Smalls has a year’s experience under his belt and a firm understanding of the playbook in his back pocket. The talented quarterback for the Hanahan Hawks is geared up for a big senior season and perhaps another region championship.
Smalls showed his inexperience early last fall, but was impressive by the end of the season to lead the Hawks to the Region 6-AA championship. The Hawks started 0-4, but finished 7-5 as Smalls passed for 2,469 yards and 28 touchdowns and added 838 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing to earn a reputation as one of the state’s top dual-threat quarterbacks.
The Hawks, coming off an open week after a big victory against Bishop England, are 2-1 heading into today’s home game against Edisto.
One of Smalls’ best efforts as a junior came against Bishop England, which allowed 92 points all year. Smalls accounted for 35 in a two-touchdown loss. He passed for 291 yards and three scores and rushed for 79 yards and a pair of TDs.
Two weeks ago, Smalls only had 151 total yards in the 28-14 victory over Bishop England that halted the Bishops’ 14-game winning streak. But Smalls had some help. Octavius Hayes rushed for 155 yards and a score to lead the Hawks.
“I didn’t have the numbers, but I had the win,” Smalls said. “The key to this season is to avoid a slow start. We didn’t want a repeat. The victory over Bishop England was big. It put us in the plus column.”
Hanahan coach Charlie Patterson said Smalls’ control has improved each game.
“He threw six or seven interceptions the first two or three games, and then threw only two or three the rest of the way,” Patterson said. “He made better reads and threw to the right receiver. This year, he’s looking pretty polished. He’s made some mistakes, but they’re fumbles, not interceptions.”
Smalls has completed 32 of 59 passing for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s had a lot of help from Hayes, who is averaging 7.4 yards per carry and has 315 yards.
“We’ve probably run the ball a little more, which opens it up when we do pass,” Patterson said. “Hayes is one of the rushing leaders in the Lowcountry and if we run the ball, we can run the clock and give the defense a little more of a rest.”
The Hawks have moved up to Class AAA and compete in Region 8. The region also includes James Island, down from Class AAAA, Berkeley, Orangeburg-Wilkinson, Hilton Head and Stall.
“It’s all the same,” Smalls said the realignment. “It’s still football. We just have to go out, work hard and play our game. We can win.”