PHS Football Team Keeps Mind on Task
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The Pinecrest football team returned to practice Monday, seemingly oblivious to the uncertainty about how long its varsity season might continue.
They need wonder no more. Tuesday it was announced the season would continue.
In Friday night's 63-0 loss at Southern Lee, the Patriots played under the cloud of news that the school was considering dropping the rest of the varsity schedule because of a shortage of players coupled with safety concerns.
"That's youth," Patriot coach Larry Adams said of the focus of his players at both Friday's game and Monday's practice. "We worked all day long on fundamentals and basic stuff. We had to move some personnel because of our numbers situation and simplified things a little bit more."
This Friday, the Patriots travel to Terry Sanford for a 7:30 p.m. contest on homecoming night for the Bulldogs.
They have lost 12 straight games since defeating Union Pines in the 2005 opener. After Terry Sanford come daunting dates against Scotland County (home) and second-ranked Richmond County (road).
Fifteen of the 25 players that concluded the 2005 season with a 12-0 loss at Westover were seniors. Only five players returned to make up this year's varsity roster that through three games has averaged 25 players. The numbers situation the coach alludes to is the number of able-bodied juniors and seniors left on the squad, about 15.
Late in the first quarter of last Friday's game, Brandon Durant, the team's leading ball carrier, gained 10 yards before putting a big hit on a potential tackler and injuring a knee.
The junior joins a casualty list that includes among others quarterback Trevor Scewczak, Danny Heimrich, Tyler Martin and Chandler Moore.
The Patriot coach points to the effort shown by Durant on the play as an example of the heart his team has shown through the first three games.
"We're down 40 points (actually 21-0) and he's trying to get every yard," Adams said. "I've told some of them there comes a time when you go down and come back to run another play.
"Their hearts are so darn big. They're trying to make every inch and that's when injuries happen -- where players are strung out, making a great effort."
Adams hadn't heard as of Monday the results of an MRI on the junior's knee. He was hopeful that the preliminary assessment of a severe strain, and not a ligament tear, would prove true.
"I understand he should be ready to roll for indoor track and still be one of the fastest kids in the conference in the 100 meters," the coach said.
The Patriot coach was upbeat and looked fit after undergoing a hospital procedure last Wednesday to relieve an accelerated heartbeat.
When the Patriots take the field against Terry Sanford, they will probably be without the entire starting backfield from the first two games against Union Pines and St. Pauls.
For the fourth game in a row, many of the Patriots will be playing both ways against an opponent that will have the luxury of playing two-platoon football.
Each week the coach has had to dig deeper into the sophomore group that began the season on the jayvee team. He says he's never had one of his inexperienced players indicate they didn't want to take the field.
"You can see it in their eyes that they're frightened," he said, "but no one has said that I don't want to go out there or I don't want to do it. I've been around kids that were like that, but never a whole group like this. You would think if anybody had a reason to give up, they would, but they just keep slamming back.
"The kids on this team love to play the game. You can't take that away from them. We just don't bring enough to the table. We aren't big enough to get the job done."
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