Stats don’t lie.
So what do you see when you see stats like 1,389 receiving yards, 84 catches, 21 receiving touchdowns snf 24 total touchdowns.
You see one of the state’s best wide receivers.
Those stats belong to Mingo Central’s Drew Hatfield and he has earned his right to be called one of the state’s best wide receivers.
Those stats were from Hatfield’s junior season at Mingo Central. He returns for his senior season.
Stats like Hatfield’s made him eligible for an award named after arguably the best ever wide receiver in the state, Randy Moss.
The Moss award is given to the state’s most outstanding receiver.
Hatfield year in-and-year out has made his case for the award. However last season he finished second in the final polls.
Little did anyone know that Hatfield almost didn’t even play football coming into high school.
“Something a lot of people don’t know is that when I was a freshman I almost didn’t play football,” Hatfield said. “But, I got to know coach (Joey) Fields and coach (Josh) Sammons. I saw the tradition they were building and the culture that they brought to the football program and I wanted to be a part of that. I came in to a great offense along with a good defense and my freshman year we even won a state title. That’s what really made me love football.”
Lucky for Miner fans the football gods have shown favor on the program and gave them coaches that implemented a sound culture that attracts players and brought fourth a type of player in Hatfield who doesn’t come around as often as hoped for.
Hatfield has always been a speedster looking to leave defenders in the dust off the line of scrimmage.
Most see Hatfield and assume he is a finished product, but to Hatfield, he can always improve on something.
“This summer was the first summer I had really got to focus on going to as many camps as possible,” Hatfield said. “I went to West Virginia University, Penn State, Marshall, Louisville, and Rutgers. Getting to travel and learn from these collegiate coaches has been a blessing. I have also got to be in the weight room a lot more, and staying after practice, even showing up early, just constantly prepping myself to have a better season than I did last year.”
If there is one thing Hatfield can improve on, it would be eliminating his “false step.”
Doing this gives Hatfield a faster jump as the ball is snapped and allows him to accelerate past the defender and into open field. Eliminating this “false step” is a bad sign for opposing defensive backs.
Hatfield is a star player that has fully embraced the “team mentality, but one doesn’t produce as Hatfield has without setting personal goals that push them from the time they wake up until they fall back to sleep to be the absolute best they can be.
“From my freshman year one of my goals has always been to get the Moss Award and be recognized as the best wide receiver in the state, and of course you want to make the playoffs and compete for a state title,” Hatfield said.
Competing for a state championship is something that Mingo Central and Hatfield have been able to since Hatfield first got a taste of championship gold his freshman year. Hatfield has used the experiences from his career to help himself grow as a leader.
“I take my role as a leader very seriously,” Hatfield said. “A team without a leader is a losing team. If you don’t have someone to set the bar and hold everyone accountable as well as themselves Monday through Thursday, then you’re just simply not going to be prepared on Friday. Coach always talks about Monday through Thursday takes care of Friday and we as a team believe that whole-heartedly. I know I’ve had to grow as a leader and become more vocal, while leading by example as well because a team with a good leader will be a successful team.”
Hatfield being the team oriented guy that he is was quick to want to brag on some of his fellow Miners.
“You got my younger brother Devin (Hatfield) at the other slot receiver,” Hatfield said. “There has only been four freshman in the history of the school to start as a freshman and he did that, but he has stepped up tremendously coming into this season. I know that we’ve also got some new guys on defense filling roles that the team needed filled, but Weston Christian is going to be a defensive anchor for us throughout the year so expect big things from him. Issa Scales played good for us last year, but we expect him to be even better this season. We also have another freshman running back coming in who I expect to play really well in Kaeden Bolding. I text Kaeden all the time letting him know how good he is doing and to keep it up, which is what I feel I have to do as a leader, which is to help the young guys realize how valuable they are to the team. Everyone knows we have Daylin Goad coming back. I’ve seen all these polls and stuff with the top QBs in the state and he is always Top 3, so without a doubt its going to be a fun year for us.”
Mingo Central’s offense averaged better than 45 points per game last season.
“You can always get better,” Hatfield said. “Coach is always saying, ‘If your not getting better your getting worse.’ We try to perfect our craft and we have put some new stuff in this year and fine tuned our old stuff. I think even this year we will surprise people weather it be how many points we score, some of the new looks on offense, and we’ve always had a good offense, but this year I really think we will surprise people.”
In a lot of places around the state players typically play both sides of the ball.
This is mostly because they don’t have the numbers or depth to allow a player to only play offense or defense. Mingo Central however does have some luxury in that the Miners can have some players only play one side of the ball.
“I’ve been blessed and lucky to have good defensive guys around me, so I get to focus on the offensive side,” Hatfield said. “I’m not going to complain about it because it helps me competition wise in practice and in a game if the defense does their job, then I’m able to give them everything I have on the offensive side of the ball.”
Hatfield has all the intangibles to be the best wide out in the state and has put up staggering numbers in his career as a Miner. He has hauled in 213 catches for 3,250 yards as a receiver,. He’s also found his way into the end zone 44 times. He is an explosive player on the field and his personality off the field matches that.
Miner fans should be excited about the coming season.
Hatfield and the Miners are set to take on Pikeville in the 35th Annual Community Trust Bank/WYMT Pike County Bowl on August 31 at 8:30 p.m. Fans should arrive early because this matchup is one for the ages and has a lot of star power on both rosters.