We are excited about carrying the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week live on WYMT every Friday night.
This week’s contest features Prestonsburg traveling to Pikeville.
Last year, the Blackcats were defeated by the Panthers 37-20.
I talked with both head coaches to get their perspective on the game. Here is the full transcription from both coaches as well as Prestonsburg junior quarterback Jarredd Jarrell.
Chris McNamee, Pikeville Head Coach
How do you prepare for that first game of the year?
Our kids and Prestonsburg, through social media, being in similar proximity, they talk to each other, know each other and there's always been a good rivalry between us and Prestonsburg. This week, I think our kids have stayed focus, they know what we need to do, they know the things we are trying to do and we just have to go out and execute Friday night.
Last year, your team beat Prestonsburg by 17 points. How does that happen again?
For us to win by 17, I think would be a stretch. Now if they were up by 17 or more, you could see it. They got so many skilled kids, they got a quarterback who is back who is a tremendous quarterback -- not only in the fact that he can throw the ball and run the ball but he just seems like he understands the game really well, is able to buy a lot of time and he's got some good guys to throw it to and, with the big Frasure kid running and catching the ball, they are a really good team offensively.
When you go into week zero, how do you prepare for so much offensive talent?
I think they are similar offensively and defensively than they have been in the past couple of years. I think they have gotten better at what they do. Just watching them scrimmage this past Saturday, they seem like they have been doing this for a while. And obviously with 7-on-7 in the summer so these guys know what they are doing and got another year of experience under their belt last year will have them even more prepared this year.
What’s the toughest challenge facing a quarterback like Jarredd Jarrell?
Well he's just a duel threat quarterback and you want to contain him, not let him get outside but at the same time, you have to pressure him to force him to get rid of the football. We counted in our game last year, there's plays he had six, seven seconds to throw the ball. You can't ask for defensive backs to cover that long so we have got to do something to try to get some pressure and try to get him out of his rhythm just a little bit.
How anxious are you for this game?
Of course, it's always the first one and as a coach, you worry about whether you have done everything that you can to prepare your team. As players, they are anxious to get things going. I think once everything gets started, and once they get that first pop, we'll be right back into where we need to be and hopefully remember what we are supposed to be doing offensively and defensively and more than anything just play hard for four quarters.
John Derossett, Prestonsburg Head Coach
What does this game mean to your program knowing that there are high expectations?
Well hopefully it turns out better on our side but Pikeville played a good game last year in the fourth quarter. They kind of took it over and our condition showed. We worked hard throughout the summer and we have had a good 7-on-7 and had a pretty scrimmage the other night at Boyd County but you never know until you go out and play so hopefully we will be ready. I know coach McNamee will have his club ready and it should be a great way to kick off the season. Two traditionally good football teams in the mountains -- Pikeville and Prestonsburg -- so it should be a good night. I understand YMT is covering it so it should be a great atmosphere for football at Pikeville.
How do you prepare for someone like Cody Estep and the weapons Pikeville has on the offensive side of the ball?
Well you have to account for them. I mean you know they run the zone play, they read it I guess ... What it looks like when we watched the scrimmage. You got to have guys to account for those guys. He ran all over us last year and passed all over us from the quarterback position, then Estep he can fly so they throw the screen out there to him and we make a mistake and he's gone. And then they got a great running back in the Pugh kid. They are good all the way around so we are going to have to be ready on all basis. We can't miss assignments -- that's what we're working on. But you have to prepare for those guys. They are top players. I saw some of those guys on the Friday Night Lights down there at UK. And when UK coaches are talking about you, they must be pretty good so they had several players they were talking about.
What other challenges do you face with Pikeville?
It's just our kids finding their way, finding who is going to stand out and be the leaders. Every year -- you know a lot of these guys played last year but somebody is going to step up, somebody is going to taker charge Friday night. Hopefully that'll happen.
We're kinda just worried about our team chemistry. We want to see how our kids react as a team. We scout Pikeville, we look at Pikeville but we kinda, at Prestonsburg, we focus on our team and worry about what our kids know and what they don't know and work on those things, and then Saturday morning of course, we'll come in here either happy or sad and we will get back to ground zero and work again. While we want to win -- and we know this is a big, big game and we are going to have a good crowd follow us up there -- this is the beginning of a long march, a long season. So hopefully we will learn a lot of things. A lot of teams have a scrimmage. We don't have an opportunity to do that. We'll open it up, so we will find out a lot of things early.
Jarredd Jarrell, Prestonsburg Junior Quarterback
What do you look forward to the most when it comes to kicking the season off with a team you lost to in the opener last year?
I'm sure there are some people out there that say it's a revenge game but for us, we are just going out there to compete. We get a chance to play somebody else, hit somebody else and it takes a lot of pressure off of us to just go out there and have fun.
How important is it to win?
I mean sure we want to win every game. But, uh, if we win or lose, we are still going to come in next week and prepare for Sheldon Clark, be ready for the next game and then the playoffs. You know that's what's most important is the playoffs. We are just going to try to win each game and get ready for the playoffs.
How are you going to finish and win this time?
Well that's the key. You know last year, we take a big lead into halftime and then we come out in the second half and we are a little flat. Our key is conditioning. We have to come out and play the same each play -- not just the first quarter or second quarter or even the fourth quarter ... By then it could be too late. We can't just use all of our energy the first half or the second half... We have to play the entire game.
How do you prepare for the offensive weapons Pikeville presents?
You know he’s a great player. We are going to just try to contain him and he's going to get his yards but we have to contain him. We can't let him get 200, 300 ... We want to try to keep him at 100 or below a hundred and just contain him. You can't stop a guy like that, you can just contain him.
I see a lot of talk on social media. Thoughts on that even though you don’t have a Twitter account?
We are pumped. We are ready to play. There's been a lot of talk between the two teams and it's a rivalry game, it's the game of the week, it's the first game of the season so we want to set a tone for the season and show that, you know, Prestonsburg is not just all hype. We are going to be ready to play.
Oh yeah, you know, some of the guys will say, 'hey man look at this!' And I'm just like, 'OK, we are going to play Friday regardless of they say or we say.' I just try to encourage them to not even say anything -- talk on the field, say whatever on the field but don't say it behind the computer. You just gotta come out and play your game.