Tonawanda News — Hughes has been a steadying force for the past three seasons. That first season – which also was Gross’ first season as head coach in Tonawanda – was a tough one that resulted in a winless campaign.
The Warriors took a solid step forward last season, going 4-5. The jury is still out on this season, which so far has Tonawanda at 1-4.
“He’s been a leader since the beginning,” Gross said. “The rest of the guys understand that he’s been doing this for awhile. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. He knows where we were, and he understands what it took to get where we are.”
Hughes, now all of 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, has carried 88 times this season for 476 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. On defense, he has chipped in 31 tackles and one interception.
“He seems to thrive on a heavy workload and gain momentum as the game goes on,” Gross said. “He wants the ball – he doesn’t mind the contact, and he’s been like that ever since he was a sophomore.”
Hughes, who also plays basketball and baseball for the Warriors, cites hard work during the offseason – particularly in passing leagues and in the weight room.
“You just have to keep working hard so that you’re ready,” Hughes said. “It’s also taken a lot of hard work from Coach, getting the guys in here in the offseason. We’ve all learned a lot – the program’s coming along.”Find the Tonawanda News sports desk on Twitter @tonanewssports.