"Koi was Austin's go to," Taylor said. "He is moving to a heck of a school, and it was a good opportunity for him. It hurts losing him and Handley.
Taylor added that the school "appealed to the state Board of Education" for Handley, "and we hope they hear us out and think a little differently."
Taylor is planning on getting the most out of Pate's abilities by playing him solely on the offense. Not only did Pate play a little bit of everywhere last year on offense, but he also was the starting cornerback and played special teams.
Pate started strong last season, including a game in which just missed racking up 500 all-purpose yards (he had 491) and scored five times. He had 252 yards rushing on just 10 attempts and three touchdowns, caught four passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, and tacked on 86 kickoff yards on two attempts for good measure.
However, as the grind of the season wore down, so did Pate and the rest of the Hurricane offense, causing Taylor to look more at trying to eliminate two- and three-way players.
"We are going to keep Zach off the defensive side of the ball," Taylor said. "He is a good defensive player but he is an exceptional offensive player. We want to keep him fresh. At the end of the game, his tongue may be hanging out but it won't be because he has to make 10 tackles.
"You could tell Pate didn't have the step he had at the beginning because he was playing both ways. If I could redo one thing last year, that would have been it. I tried to do the old school style of playing your best 11 guys on the field. That iron man crap don't work anymore."
Pate thinks the move will be beneficial.
"It's going to be a big thing," Pate said. "Last year I remember coming back from defense into the offensive huddle and was winded. This year I know I will be fresh and ready to go. It's smarter to keep a bunch of us fresh. We have the depth too. I really like it."
Pate and Hensley hope to play collegiately.
"I'd like to play college football for sure," Pate said. "I am getting D-2 looks right now. I am trying to get to 1-AA (FCS). I think that is where I could play. I thought about playing with my brother at Fairmont (Tyler), too. That would be pretty cool."