Second-year Pirates head coach Brad Webber said his team is looking forward to scrimmaging against their neighbors to the north.
“After three weeks of beating on each other, it will be nice to hit someone else. We’re very excited to play Spalding since we’re so close in proximity,” Webber said. “It should be a good game.”
These two teams are scrimmaging for the third straight preseason. In 2010, Spalding beat Pike 26-13 at Memorial Stadium in a scrimmage delayed by lightning. Last year, Pike jumped out to a 7-0 lead but the Jags scored 22 unanswered points to win the scrimmage 22-7 at Pike County High.
Webber said the team isn’t out for revenge Friday.
“As a team, we’re more concerned with evaluating our talent on the field. We have a script we go by for our offensive packages and our coverages and stunts on defense,” Webber said. “The good thing about a scrimmage is that scoring doesn’t matter as much as seeing how we play and making adjustments and corrections.”
Pike County will be looking to replace several impact seniors from its 2011 squad, including quarterback Jonathan Norton, wide receiver Shon Love, huge linebacker Tanner Strickland and talented wide receiver/defensive back DeAndre Holmes. All in all, the Pirates lost 22 seniors to graduation and will return 17 seniors in 2012.
Junior Tyler Gregory will take over at quarterback for Pike this season. Artez Oglesby, a junior, and seniors Tony Anthony and Jonathan Ham will return at running back.
“Tyler is a good quarterback and he runs well,” said Webber. “Artez got a lot of snaps at running back last year.”
Replacing Holmes and Love will be a major task, but seniors Darius Jordan and Jacob Adkins look to step up this season at wide receiver.
One senior who should have a major impact for Pike this year is tight end/middle linebacker Jess DeVoursney, son of Griffin High head football coach Steve DeVoursney. Webber describes DeVoursney as the “heart and soul” of the defense.
DeVoursney will be aided by senior Alec Holtz at defensive end and Ham at outside linebacker. Anthony is a three-year starter at free safety and Oglesby, Jordan and Adkins will also play in the secondary.
Pike will compete in Region 2-AAA in 2012 after playing in Class AA for years. Their new region will have only one familiar foe — former Region 4-AA opponent Southwest Macon. The Pirates will face some strong competition this year, playing perennial powers Carver-Columbus and Peach County (two of Pike's new region foes) and 2011 playoff teams Henry County and Lamar County.
“I think we’ll play to the level of our good competition in our region,” Webber said. “We’re working the guys hard so they’ll play good football all season long.”
Region 2-AAA opponents for Pike County — besides Southwest Macon, Carver-Columbus and Peach County — also include Henry County, Central Macon and Jackson.