The Press-Dispatch

August 19, 2020

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See FOOTBALL on 5 Chargers on the upswing By Andy Heuring Pike Central football is of the upswing. Coming off a cou- ple of dismal seasons, the Chargers are a year old- er, bigger, stronger and more experienced. Second-year head coach Dave Stephens is glowing in His praise of the 2020 Chargers and names off a long list of reasons he is so pos- itive about this season. • Increased strength and size: last year Pike Central had freshmen and sophomores play- ing up front along the line in places they typically don't fare well. "No technique in the world is going to save us with 14-year- olds blocking 18 -year-olds," said Stephens of last year's sit- uation. "We are going to get an op- portunity to play on a more equal footing." • Scheduling: sticking with the more equal footing thought. A big change in area confer- ences has created a much bet- ter situation for Pike Central and several other Pocket Ath- letic Conference schools. The Big 8 dissolved, with Jasper and Vincennes switching to the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference. The PAC picked up Princeton, Washington, Boon- ville and Mt. Vernon. With the extra teams, the PAC, in foot- ball, split into big and small school divisions. So Pike Central traded pe- rennial state contenders Her- itage Hills and Gibson South- ern for Washington and North Knox. This is a move that will give the Chargers a much more equal footing in those games. • Balance: Stephens said for the first time in several years, Pike Central has the personnel on offense to be balanced. "We have not had any balance. Two years ago, we couldn't pass the ball at all. Last year was a lit- tle better. This is the first year I can go down the call sheet and feel confident to call any of the plays, whether it is a pow- er play or four verticals," said Stephens. "A lot of people think bal- ance is running 50 percent run plays and 50 percent pass plays. To me, balance is you can run it when you need to and pass it when you need to. We are going to have a lot of balance this year." • Improved defense: "We were probably historically bad on defense last year," said Coach Stephens. "They were trying to do the right thing, but couldn't do anything about it, because we were 14- and 15 -year-olds against 18 -year-olds. We have matured . . . I think that will be a major change from what we had last year." • Buy in: "They have no reason to buy in, but they have bought in. The buy in is there. I don't know if it is from being cooped up or what. This is the first year since I have been head coach that the culture is where we want it to be," said Stephens. Stephens also likes his per- sonnel. OFFENSE It starts on offense with quar- terback Lars Utterback. This will be his third year of start- ing. As a sophomore, Utterback was forced into duty the last two games of the year when the starter was injured. He started every game last year. "He has shown a lot of growth and maturity in our summer workouts and practice," said Coach Stephens. He said Ut- terback is able to do things this year that he couldn't in the previ- ous season. "I'm excited with the things he will be able to do and he throws a good ball. I'm pretty happy with Lars at quarterback." Senior running back Wyatt Frasure will be feature of the offense. "Wyatt will be the en- gine that runs the offense this year." Frasure set a school re- cord with a 96 -yard touchdown run last year. He also finished off the season with a 245 -yard rushing performance in the sec- tional. "He has a lot of speed and ex- plosion. He will probably touch the ball more than anyone else. Look for a great year out of Wy- att." Colson Dillard will play the Chargers' H position. "Colson has made a tremendous transi- tion in the weight room. He is a lot stronger, more sure handed and his route running has gotten better. He will be very explosive for us on the offensive end," said Stephens. Steve Krieg will be the tight end. A position Coach Stephens thinks is a natural fit for him. "He played out of position last year, just because of the per- sonnel, we had to plug people in where we could. Playing tight end suits him a lot more. He is 6'1" 210 lbs. and a night- mare match-up. He is big enough it will be hard for a safety to match up with him and fast enough it will be hard for linebackers to cover him." At the X receiver position, the Chargers will have freshman Ju- lian Gish. "He is still really raw, but he has a ton of talent, and I'm excited about his poten- tial and happy with his growth in the short time he has been with us." At the right end of the offen- sive line will be 6'3" 230 lbs. sophomore Isaac Marchino. It will be his second year to start. "He can run and is physical to the point of attack. He will be a nice solid player for us." The right guard will be 6'1" 250 lbs. junior Adon Sanchez. "He is working hard to improve everyday and making good strides." Corey Goeppner, at 5'11" 230 lbs., will fill the middle. "He is integral to our offense, the way we call things. He calls the front and identifies the linebacker in the run and pass situations. . . He is the quarterback of our of- fensive line," said Stephens. Senior Cody Davis is the left guard. "He has the most experi- ence on the line. He started ev- ery game as a sophomore and junior. He is no doubt our vocal leader. He is tenacious and ex- plosive and like a coach on the field. I really appreciate him." Junior Harley May, at 6'4" 240, will be the left tackle. May started a few games as a fresh- man, but then didn't play last year. "We are very happy to have Harley back. He has all the physical tools to be successful and is working hard to improve his technique daily." DEFENSE Stephens said his defense is going to be a straightforward defense. "We want to make sure we are pro- viding a style of de- fense to allow kids to use their instincts. We don't want kids out there thinking and playing slow. We have set up a defense that al- lows them to use instinct and play fast," said Stephens. He added, "This is our second year in the weight room. Our kids are maturing. We have a lot better chance to compete on defense this year." Jagger Dent will be a defen- sive end. "He is super fast. He is a speed end. He is a high school version, much smaller version, of Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis. Offensive tackles who can't move their feet, he will give them nightmares because of his explosive first step. At the other end will be Cody Davis. Very explosive and smart. He can get up field, penetrate and cause havoc," said Stephens. Corey Goeppner will be playing the nose tackle. Isaac Marchino is a second-year start- er at defensive end. Stephens said Adon Sanchez, Noah McFarland and Harley May will be rotating in across the line to help keep guys fresh. Frasure, along with being the running back, will be the "Mike" linebacker. "He is just instinctive as can be and the fastest player on our team. He has a nose for the ball, the speed to get there and he is a fearless tackler when he gets there," said Stephens. Because he will have so ma- ny carries, Coach Stephens said Frasure will be relieved by Steve Krieg. "Krieg is a great commu- nicator and a pretty good line- backer in his own right. It's great to have depth to rotate guys," said Stephens. Another linebacker is 6' 220 lbs. senior Preston Alford, who is a great addition to the Char- gers. Alford moved to Pike County from Owensboro, Ky. "He brings the pain when he comes to tackle. He hits hard CHARGERS SPORTS Cross Country • Soccer • Boys' Tennis • Girls' Golf • Football • Volleyball FALL FALL FALL PREVIEW 2020 Pike Central High School WYATT FRASURE CODY DAVIS "From roof to foundation, we've got you covered!" Like us on Facebook! WE NOW ACCEPT: Quality Work. Affordable Prices! Quality Work. Affordable Prices! f SECTION NOTE Due to the changes caused by COVID-19, The Press-Dis- patch was unable to photograph teams and seniors for this year's section. Our staff searched the archives to find as many seniors as possible to feature from their 2019 seasons. COLSON DILLARD

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