Pike Road ready to transition into first varsity season
PIKE ROAD, AL (WSFA) - A new era is set to unfold at Pike Road High School. The Patriots will play their first season at the varsity level and their head coach has them prepared.
"These kids - I've been with 'em for two years - so we've treated them like varsity kids whenever I got here," said head football coach Patrick Browning. "The transition to varsity obviously is different speeds, size, but we've had 'em on a weight program - a varsity weight program for two years - so we feel pretty good going into the season as far as the transition goes."
The transition will be easy, in part, because the Patriots have been running the same schemes under Browning ever one of his three years at the school.
"We've been running the same offense, defense, special teams, weight program, so there's a lot of continuity there," Browning said.
Browning said a word he keeps using is "excited." He said that feeling extends from the players to the parents and down into the community. Everyone can't wait to watch Pike Road football on Friday nights.
The Patriots don't have a field of their own but instead will call Alabama State's Hornet Stadium home this season, and it's something Browning doesn't see as a big deal.
"It's an experience they'll never forget," said Browning. "I think that the atmosphere - Pike Road we've always had great support - so I think we're going to be a pleasant surprise with all the fans we're going to bring in the stands."
The Patriots will be led by their line, both offensive and defensive.
"I say the strength of our team is probably our defensive line, offensive line," said Browning. "We've got Jeremiah Frazier, Julian Humphrey, Corbin Grant, those are three guys that's won up front lost up front, so those are the anchors of our defense and offensive line."
Though the excitement levels are high at practice as their first game approaches, the Pike Road offense is still looking to find its identity, which is something Browning thinks will come. He called it a "growing process."
Part of that growing process is because of the young team Pike Road has. Browning said he can't remember ever having a team so young without any seniors on it.
"That's going to be the difference in our season," said Browning. "Can we have some kids step up, become leaders, or how are they going to respond on Friday night, cause they are so young."
"They're intense. They want to win. They do not like losing, they don't know what it feels like to lose just yet, so they don't want to start now," Browning said.
Pike Road will be a member of Class 3A Region 3 and will open its season Aug. 26 against Calhoun High School. That game will kick at 11 a.m.
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