The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

August 29, 2013

Improved line should pay dividends for PikeView offense

— GARDNER — The PikeView High football team has gone from the peak of playoff appearances to the valley of 19 losses in their last 20 games. The climb back up is near, but will require a shot of confidence, believes head coach Bobby Wyatt.

The offense is being revamped after “seeing the speed and athletic ability that we have,” he said. “We’re looking at a lot of spread looks, trying to open the field up and allow them to let their athletic ability take over.”

“Hunter (Moses) rushed for almost 1,000 yards last year,” the coach said. “We’ll put Joe Jennings back there with him ... then we’ve got Daniel Brown, who will be able to relieve both of them. They’re not far from what Hunter can give us. We won’t be losing a lot with any of the three in there.”

Senior quarterback Chris McBride is a “very smart, intelligent kid (who) knows what everyone’s supposed to do,” Wyatt said. Another senior QB, Jonathan Jennings, who sat out the past two years, “could definitely be in there.”

There are promising targets for the passers. Six-foot-4 Bradley Flinchum has “not the greatest of speed, but deceiving speed, and good hands,” Wyatt said. “He runs real sharp routes, and understands how to read the routes.”

Tanner Farley is back from injury for his senior year. Steven Johnston is in contention, and sophomore Chris Shrader “has got great hands,” Wyatt said. Ryan Roberts has been converted from running back to slot.

“The big thing where I see improvement is going to be up front,” he said. Seniors Greg Butler and Richard Edwards have done serious off-season weightlifting and “are going to be the anchors that hold that line together, because they do have a couple of young ones in there with them.”

Center Josh Hurley and guard Ethan Donley return with considerable experience. Other starting assignments could go to Trenton Cecil, freshman Ty Radford, or sophomore Ethan Smith. “He has hit the weight room and gotten stronger,” Wyatt said.

Turning to defense, the coach said, “Even though our numbers are a little better this year than they were last, we’re still going to be looking at kids going both ways.”

“Last year, we were pretty bad defensively. This is something we’ve stressed so far (in) the preseason. We’ve got to find 11 people who want to go out there and attack the ball, attack the ballcarrier, and make some plays instead of sitting on their heels waiting to see what’s going to happen.”

“Last year, we moved the ball offensively. We didn’t score a lot, but we moved the ball,” he said. “I don’t know that we stopped anyone last year.”

The 4-3 defense will start with Edwards and Butler at inside tackles. Flinchum, Donley and Cecil will see time at defensive end.

Middle linebacker Ethan Smith will “stick his nose in there,” Wyatt said. He’ll be flanked by Moses on one side, along with Jonathan Jennings or McBride on the other. Farley, McBride and Shrader are in the running at the corners. Ryan Roberts and Justin Dickinson are contending to be strong safety; free safety could be Takota Bailey or Farley.

To begin the turnaround, Wyatt said, “The big thing I’ve found out through the years is that you’ve got to have senior leadership. Last year I had three seniors on this team. ... This year, we have 10, so I look for a different personality and a different attitude.”

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