Spring dreams

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Pike Liberal Arts football team is nearly six months removed from winning its second-straight state title, and now, the team is preparing to hopefully win its third.

On Monday, the Patriots took the field with for the first time in 2010 with its full roster in preparation for Friday night’s jamboree.

While many of the faces PLAS fans became accustomed to seeing during the last couple of seasons are gone, some are returning while others are about to be discovered.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In all, the Patriots lost seven players from the 2009 squad to graduation, which means head coach Steven Kilcrease and his coaching staff may have their work cut out for them.

“We only lost seven seniors (from last year’s team) and while that might sound like a lot, most of them started on both sides of the ball. So, instead, it feels like we are losing 12 players,” the coach said.

However, of the 33 members on the team from last season, 26 are returning.

“We did the same kind of thing last year,” Kilcrease said.

“We have a good group of kids coming back. Right now, it’s all about getting a lot of reps in and seeing who fits in where.”

One of the players coming back is two-year starter Nick McLaughlin, who will be a junior in the upcoming school year.

While McLaughlin may not be a senior, Kilcrease said he still expects the same kind of leadership one might show on the field.

“I have talked to Nick a lot recently. I expect him to be a leader for this team, he has a lot of experience and really could help some of the newer guys out,” the coach said.

As far as what positions need to be filled, there are several key areas Kilcrease and his staff are focusing on, one of which being the quarterback position.

For the past two seasons, Trey Walters was under center for the Patriots, however, that will not be the case this season.

“We have about four or five guys who we have been giving reps to this week (for the position),” Kilcrease said.

“And that’s what this week is about, giving players a lot of reps.”

McLaughlin along with Martin Meeks, Taylor Stevens, Josh Starling and Blake Floyd have all spent time under center during the spring drills.

Offensive line is another key priority for PLAS, according to the coach.

“We are looking to build our depth,” the coach said. “We are also looking for what our character is going to be this season.

“They guys have come out here and worked hard so far. The whole purpose (of spring practice) is to get as many repetitions as possible for everyone on the field. That’s what we are doing and I have liked what I have seen so far.”