JOHNSON: Looking for the silver lining

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Football teams in Pike County are struggling. Combined our four area team – Pike County, Charles Henderson, Goshen, and Pike Liberal Arts – are 3-10. While the teams are not doing very well on the field right now, there is still a long way to go. I’m going to do something against my nature, however. I’m going to look at the positives.

Each school has some good things happening despite a poor record. Let’s take a look at each program.

– Pike County – The Bulldogs have had a tough go on the gridiron the last several years and to the players’ defense, six coaches in six seasons is mostly to blame. Fred Holland bleeds purple, white and silver, and has been at the school for the better part of two decades. If there is anyone who understands the culture of Pike County, it’s him. The Bulldogs surprised everyone with a Week 1 victory over Goshen, but have yet to find the win column since. They one thing this program needs, they have found. Stability. If everything goes according to plan, in a year or two, the players in this program will know the playbook backwards and forwards. Holland can then expand and a true program will emerge.

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– Charles Henderson – There have been mixed reviews about the direction of not only the athletic department, but the school system as a whole. I, as an outsider, like the intensity and expectations implemented in the program. Hugh Fountain is a fine man and coach, but he wasn’t the right fit for this administration. Change happens. I believe the Trojans will get to where they want to be, and I think you’ll see it towards the end of this season. Mike Dean expects the best all of the time. Charles Henderson will benefit from that as anyone would. The coaching staff’s attention to detail is beyond compare in this area and the team will begin to respond as they get more comfortable in the new system. The Trojans have a young quarterback with a talented group of receivers. 16 of the 22 starters are juniors or sophomores. It may take some time, but success is coming.

– Goshen – The Eagles are 0-3 and the shenanigans that followed the Pike County game may have given this team a black eye, but there is no better man to lead them back into the sunlight than Bart Snyder. Goshen has always turned out quality football players at the Class 2A level. Right now, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together. The Eagles are replaced key components from last year’s squad and some younger guys have been forced to play some big roles. While a trip to the playoffs may look bleak for this year’s team, it won’t take long for this program to return to its winning ways.

– Pike Liberal Arts – It seems all of the programs in the area are in the trough of the rebuilding curve. One can only hope this is the lowest point for the Patriots. Wayne Grant has more wins than all three of the other area coaches combined; the guy knows how to coach. Players willing to sacrifice this season and probably next will reap the benefits of a revamped program. Fortunately for Grant and Pike Liberal Arts fans, rebuilding in the AISA can happen more quickly than in the AHSAA. The offensive and defensive linemen are extremely young, so with the influx of some talented skill players, the Patriots could compete in 2013 and beyond.