Can’t help thinking ‘what-if?’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Sports Editor

This is a what-if story.

And it may serve to irritate more then a few people, but hey, it’s what I do.

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Picture this highly hypothetical situation from the recent past:

It’s the first game of the 2001 high school football season and sophomore quarterback Chris Nickson surveys the opponent’s defense. He calls an audible, takes one step back in the pocket and hits wide receiver Roderick Burden on screen pass. The play gains 20 yards.

Nickson then hands off to fullback Quez Burden, who, thanks to a huge offensive line led by Jeremy Lampley, Matt Qualls and Sherrill Brown, breaks free for a gain of 25.

Rod Burden then moves under center and surprises everyone by hitting Damien Pelton on a crossing pattern over the middle. Pelton carries the ball to the opponent’s 35-yard line. A trio of runners, Jarvis Woods, Randall Maddox and Duran Boykin. pounds the ball down to the one. The offensive line knocks the defense back into the endzone and Craig Flowers scores standing up.

This team, we’ll refer to them as Pike-Central, now leads 7-0 thanks to a Josh Post extra point.

And the Pike-Central defense, an entirely different unit, is fresh and ready.

Melvin Scott starts it all with a sack. Thurston Lee follows by dropping the running back for no-gain on a second and long. Chaz Richards and Chima McClain combine to force a fumble. Raymond McNabb recovers.

The opposition, be it Jeff Davis, Stanhope-Elmore, or Dothan High School, is at a loss for words.

Final score: Pike-Central 42, Opponent 7.

Think about what a team composed of all these quality athletes could do.

Of course, this is all clearly hypothetical and it’s never going to happen. There’s too much tradition at all three schools – Goshen, CHHS, and Pike County. The rivalry alone between Charles Henderson and Pike County is enough to kill this idea in a heartbeat.

But just think:

A top ten ranking every year in the ASWA Class 5A or 6A poll.

A playoff birth virtually guaranteed.

Region championships, state championships, media coverage out the yin-yang.

And it just doesn’t end with football.

Basketball is in the running for a state title every year. Who could contend with a frontcourt that features Nick Walker, Kendaris Pelton and Qua Davis? Backcourt would be just as tight with Lakory Daniels and Ge-Vonne Cooper. And the bench? Loaded to the gills with top-notch ballers.

Baseball would be a deadly mixture of power and speed. Goshen’s Wesley Wright and CHHS’s Justin Sims showed how good of a pitching combination they were last summer with the Post 70 Junior Legion team. Pete Van Horn would be a bull on the mound.

But who would coach these teams?

Sorry. I’ll let you speculate on that.

Some things are just better left unsaid.