Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 10, 2012

Youth explosion at PikeView

Young Panthers look to roar

GARDNER — It’s been a difficult 12 months for football at PikeView High School. The Panthers struggled through the 2011 season after a couple of seasons that saw them make the playoffs, then their coach that led them to the post season, Jeff Damewood resigned. For a new coach PikeView turned to a sideline veteran with a history of winning.

Bobby Wyatt will lead PikeView onto the gridiron this season. Wyatt in previous stints at Pocahontas and Tazewell High School has had success. In Tazewell he led the Bulldogs to the state semifinals in his first year at their helm.  Wyatt has a young, but promising group of players down on Eades Mill Road.

“We’ve got some good looking kids. I don’t know experience-wise how that goes but two seniors are all we have and to me that’s kind of a good thing,” Wyatt said. “We don’t have to fight the situation of trying to teach old dogs new tricks. I can start out with my basic stuff and they seem to be picking up on it real well. It’s going to be a work in progress type of thing this year.”

Offensively Wyatt’s teams have traditionally run from the power-I formation and that will be no different this season for the Panthers.

“A lot of it is just formations, different formations,” Wyatt said. “The coaches were laughing the other day, we’ve put in seven plays and I think we’ve run those seven plays out of nine different formations. I think to have the offense down is learning the formations.

“We’re going to be run oriented and I think that’s where we have to start because in high school football, they can talk all they want to, but if you can’t run the football, you aren’t going to do much else.”

Defensively PikeView is going to have a five man front, but Wyatt said don’t be surprised if you see a base four or even a six man front.

“We’re going to be capable to adjust,” Wyatt commented. “We really don’t have what you’d call a strong-nosed linebacker, but we can do that by committee. We’ve got four, or five kids we can move around and play the style that we want to play.”

That style of which Wyatt speaks is an aggressive, attacking defense.

“We may get burnt, but we’re going to be aggressive doing it.”

The aggressiveness that Wyatt wants the team to exhibit on the field is coming from a surprising place, the team’s freshmen who make up more than a third of the PikeView roster.

“This is a great group of freshmen and they’ve brought probably more aggressiveness than the older kids sid when we first started (practice),” Wyatt said. “Still we’re going to guide them along. We’re not going to try to push them off the boat too quick here. We’ve got five, or six JV games scheduled that I hope will milk them into possibly getting some varsity playing time as the season goes on.”

Wyatt understands that there will be mountains to climb and rivers to ford this season at PikeView. He knows there are things he has to teach and that building a program does not occur magically.

“The biggest thing, and this goes back when I took over at Pocahontas and the same thing when I took over at Tazewell, is a lack of confidence,” Wyatt said. “They are not sure they can win. I think that once we get to that point, when they see they are being competitive, then they’ll realize, ‘Hey, we can win.’ That’s the thing.”

Wyatt and the Panthers will scrimmage in the Grid-O-Rama at Concord University Saturday against Central and Tazewell. Next Saturday they host a Grid-O-Rama that includes Mount View and Webster County.

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com

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