HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The most successful basketball season in Hurricane High School history could pay unintentional dividends for the Redskins football program.
Hurricane reached the Class AAA State Tournament for the first time in its existence in March. Coach Lance Sutherland's team reached the Charleston Civic Center without a football-playing Redskin on the roster.
That break from competitive action gave Jeremy Taylor's football players time to devote to weight training or, in some cases, wrestling.
Entering his second year as the Redskins' coach, Taylor said this week that the time off during the winter might have had a hand in the increase in the number of student-athletes playing football.
"We've got 105 out, which is a lot for us, a lot for anybody," Taylor said Wednesday during Marshall's two-day 7-on-7 showcase at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The Redskins won the 7-on-7 tournament championship in Huntington for the second year in a row.
"We're a growing school and a growing community, so I guess it's to be expected, but we've got some basketball players going out for football now too," Taylor said.
Rising junior Brandon Ford, a 5-foot-10 reserve guard on the Redskins' basketball team, is in football camp during the three-week out-of-season coaching period.
Taylor said the team will continue to visit - and host - 7-on-7 tournaments throughout the three-week period in order to get practice time for as many players as possible.
They'll join numerous other Kanawha Valley teams at West Virginia University for the Mountaineers' 7-on-7 tournament this weekend.
While Taylor attempts to give everyone a look during the preseason, some positions are understandably set in stone.
Senior Austin Hensley begins his third season as Hurricane's starting quarterback after leading all Class AAA underclassmen in passing yards in 2012. Hensley completed 170-of-285 passes for 2,200 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions a year ago, when Hurricane finished 6-5 and lost to George Washington in the first round of the playoffs.