Randy Frazier has high expectations for the Mountain Lions in his first year as Pineville’s head football coach.
Under Bart Elam, the Lions played a lot of freshmen and sophomores the past two seasons as they put together 2-9 and 4-7 seasons.
Elam left after last season to become the offensive coordinator at Union College. But he didn’t leave the cupboard bare as most of those young players are back and several talented transfers have joined the team since the end of last school year.
“We’ve got great group of kids back and a great group of kids that have joined our program since last year so our expectations are fairly high,” Frazier said. “We want to win the district and go deep in the playoffs.
“It’s like we’ve said after our scrimmages and after our first game: we’re not satisfied with where we are right now. Don’t get me wrong, satisfied and having a good time are two different things. The kids are having a great time, they enjoy what they’re doing and we enjoy coaching them as a staff. But our expectations are high and we’re building every day trying to get better.”
While the Lions lost a 1500-yard rusher to graduation in Matt Golden, they gained a 1500-yard rusher in senior Colby Frazier who transferred from Bell County.
Frazier will join sophomore Devon “Scooby” Morris to give Pineville one of the best 1-2 punches out of the backfield in all of Class A.
“Noah Caldwell and Hagan Teague are doing a good job blocking for those guys. Colby can play at any position back there as a three back or a two back. Scooby can handle running back or line up in the slot,” Frazier said. “I think it showed in the third and fourth quarter last week. We rotated them out two plays at at time and kind of wore people down. Then in the fourth quarter they broke loose and did some things We feel good about our backfield, we really do.”
Junior Reese Capps is Pineville’s quarterback. He replaces two-year starter Garlan Ellis, but Capps has taken quite a few snaps from under center over the past two seasons as well.
On the outside senior Landon Couch returns as Pineville’s leading receiver. At 6-3 he specializes in getting down the field and winning jump balls. Last year had 215 receiving yards and five TDs.
Braiden Lingar and Teague will also see time at receiver while senior Reed Baker and freshman Evan Biliter share time at tight end.
The offensive line features returning starters in juniors Keaton Thompson at center and Tim Gambrel at tackle along with senior tackle Brendan King. The guards are senior Damon Wilson and junior Richard Beverly with junior David Mayberry also seeing time at tackle. Alex Foister is the back-up center.
Before injuries to Thompson and King the Lions were close to having a two-platoon system with their linemen.
Gambrel starts at one defensive end with senior Dylan Morris at the other. Alex Foister and Ben Parks are the tackles with King, Trent Mills and Wilson rotating in as needed.
“We got a little banged up along the line and that changes things up for us a little bit,” Frazier said. “But King and Thompson are going to be back and by the time the district starts we hope everyone is healthy again.”
Frazier and Beverly are the inside linebackers with Caldwell and Landon King on the outside. D.J. Brock and Biliter will also be seeing time at linebacker.
Morris and Lingar are the cornerbacks with Capps and Teague manning safety.
“I love those kids on defense. If you at our defense against Berea and then look at us now, we’ve come 150 miles. I think our progress has shown, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
Teague will handle punts with sophomore Luke Naylor doing the placekicking.
Morris, Frazier and Capps are the primary returners.
After opening Friday with a 28-14 win at McCreary Central, the Lions visit Knott Co. Central this week.
— — —
Aug. 23 — @ McCreary Cent. (W)
Aug. 30 — @ Knott Co. Cent.
Sept. 6 — vs. Paris
Sept. 13 — vs. East Ridge
Sept. 20 — @ Middlesboro
Sept. 27 — vs. Thomas Walker, VA
Oct. 4 — OPEN
Oct. 11 — vs. Lynn Camp*
Oct. 18 — @ Williamsburg*
Oct. 25 — vs. Harlan*
Nov. 1 — @ Sayre
* District games