Putting a Tiger in the tank...

Princeton’s Josiah Honaker (3) puts a hit on Tazewell’s Josiah Jordan (2) during a high school football game at Hunnicutt Stadium last fall.  Honaker is one of several Princeton football players receiving attention from college scouts during the off-season.

PRINCETON — Victories have been elusive for the Princeton High School football team, which has posted a 4-26  record over the last three seasons.

The Tigers are putting together the pieces with an eye toward doubling their win total in 2019. Colleges are starting to see the talent there is, even in losses against top competition in the state.

“We play a lot of good football teams, if you’re good you’re going to get noticed,” Princeton head football coach Chris Pedigo said.

Josiah Honaker is the first player for the 2020 version of the team to have received offers from colleges. He holds offers from Morgan State, Delaware State and Alderson Broaddus University.

Standing at six-foot-three, Honaker is being looked at as a cornerback by the colleges interested in him as his length is a valuable asset to go along with his speed.

“Everything that I’ve understood from the coaches I’ve spoke with is they’re recruiting him as a corner and one thing that he brings at the corner position is great length,” Pedigo said.

Someone Honaker defends often in practice and fellow wide receiver Ethan Parsons is getting interest from colleges. Parsons led Class AAA in West Virginia with 990 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior which has garnered him attention from the Marshall University football coaches.

Running back and linebacker Amir Powell was an impact player on both sides of the ball and Pedigo is sure he can contribute to a college team.

“Amir Powell is going to play in college, where he’s going to play I’m not for sure, but he’s a college-caliber player,” Pedigo said.

Honaker is the first to receive offers but all three of them have the potential to help teams at the collegiate level.

“The sky’s the limit for him and Ethan and Amir, those guys have great opportunities to move forward if they keep doing what they’re doing,” Pedigo said.

Pedigo had the schedule planned for the entire year beginning in February and we’re seeing good signs in the work that was being done in the weight room.

Time spent workout out is especially important for young players to develop physically so that they handle the physicality.

“We were doing some great things in the weight room and we’ve got a lot of young kids coming that would benefit from being in the weight room because they’re going to be asked to play and play early,” Pedigo said.

The trio along with quarterback Grant Cochran who set the single season passing record for Princeton in his freshmen year will lead the team in the fall but the key is in the trenches.

“We have the majority of our players returning but the biggest thing for us is developing an offensive line, we feel like we have some very good pieces but we don’t have a lot of depth yet,” Pedigo said.

One of the players Pedigo sees as an anchor of the offensive line is six-foot-nine Logan Stepp who only played one half of football in his sophomore season before an injury ended his season.

If Stepp is able to stay healthy in his junior season he will likely be receiving interest with his size that nobody can teach.

Unable to practice techniques which is vital to linemen, the coaching staff is focused on making sure they have everything understood for when they need it during practices.

“We’ll put it on paper and let those guys see it but for linemen they have to rep it and they have to see it and have that hands-on approach and that’s something we don’t have right now but we’re just trying to make sure they understand the verbiage,” Pedigo said.

That schedule that Pedigo set up at the start is having to be completely changed but they have an idea for the new schedule.

The three-week period where they can practice each year in the offseason, usually June, looks to be set for July. 

The decision is not final as the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission has allowed each board of education to set the dates along with set other guidelines.

“I’m just waiting to see if there is any more directives, are there going to be limits on the amount of players, amount of staff that we can have as a group, will we have to rotate practices around?” Pedigo said.

Once the Tigers are able to step out on the field Pedigo sees a team capable of improving on the two-win season and building for long-term success.

“We haven’t had that success the last few years but we feel very confident and I feel very confident in my players that that’s something that’s going to change and change for a while,” Pedigo said.

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