Hart defensive end CJ McMullen isn’t sure how to feel about his new nickname: “Sackmaster.”
He earned the moniker after last week’s record-breaking performance against Sierra Canyon in which his sack count went to 24 on the season — a Hart single-season record.
The Indians (8-3) will likely need more than a sack from McMullen Friday as they take on Rancho Verde, a team that has outscored opponents 490-149.
The Mustangs (9-2) leaned on their ground game last week, but have also shown skill through the air.
Quarterback Brock White has completed 155 of 249 passes for 2330 yards and 29 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign, with only four interceptions.
Adding to the challenge, Hart’s secondary may be a man short, as key defensive back Josh Clark is a game-time decision.
MORE: Hart football makes statement with first-round win over Sierra Canyon
The receiving corps has seen development for the Indians over the course of the season. Michael Uribe is emerging as a skilled wideout for the group, and Da’Von Jones and DJ Palmer are tried-and-true targets.
“JT (Shrout) has been a playmaker (at quarterback), but man, our offense was lacking in the first three weeks,” Palmer said. “Not exactly lacking, but we weren’t doing as well as we should have done, but I feel like we picked it up very fast after that Antelope Valley week.”
The Indians are also feeling a lot more upbeat after last week’s 21-7 win over Sierra Canyon.
“They’re a lot more energized,” said coach Mike Herrington. “It was a good win for our guys, they were real fired up and now they know they can play with a lot of people.”