This week, I got a chance to speak with P'Burg's Bryson Williams about their game with Pike Central last season, what we can expect to see from them offensively, and the Blackcats pursuit of a state title.
1. High school football practice got underway last week. How does it feel to be back out there with the team?
Bryson Williams: Coach Derossett always said this is the best sport in American history and he's right. It’s amazing to be back on the field and it’s teeth gritting to know we are less than a month away from kicking it off this season.
2. Since 2008, PBurg and Corbin have met each year in the regional championship game Corbin holds the series lead 2-1 over you guys. How competitive were those games?
Bryson Williams: The games between us and Corbin in such a short span of years created a rivalry. I remembered before my freshman year after Corbin beat us Coach John posted a Corbin newspaper in the field house and frame it. All year he built the hype up to beat them. I really only played one year against them but it was probably the most competitive game I have ever played in any sport.
3. One rivalry that seems to be brewing is Pike County Central. Last year, the Hawks came to PBurg and beat you guys. What was learned from that loss, and as you look ahead to this year’s matchup with them. What can you expect?
Bryson Williams: The loss to Pike County Central really hurt our momentum going into the playoffs, and we over looked them. We learned you can't over look anyone. The game this year is big. We are two of the best passing teams in the mountains and we are looking forward to it. But we have nine games before that to worry about.
4. Last season, we saw the emergence of a new quarterback. After Michael Burchett graduated and went to Kentucky, Adam Crisp was asked to step up and take his place. Crisp emerged as a top quarterback in the coverage area. He even fought through injury late in the year and still helped the team win. How has he matured and stepped up his game?
Bryson Williams: Adam has matured and became our leader. Coach Allen has pretty much put the offense in his hands and without him, we wouldn't be were we are at this point.
5. There is a one – two punch at wide receiver with yourself and Joseph Jamerson on the other side. How do you guys make each other better?
Bryson Williams: Joseph and I have always worked off each other no matter what formation we are in. At the beginning of the year last year, Joseph was double teamed, which always gave me one on ones to work off of. But, as the year went on, teams evened up on us and we started working off each other with our high and low moves. But I can't tell u anymore and give away our secret to what we do as a combo.
6. Prestonsburg over the last several years has prided itself on defense. The past two seasons has seen you guys lose several top defensive players. How will the defense look this season?
Bryson Williams: The past couple years we have lost big time players like Austin McKinney, Alex Griffith and Josh Craynon, but we have being filling in the spots. We have a strong defensive line and secondary core, but we lost everything in the linebacker core. With the building of maturity in Adam Griffith, Kain Collins, and Alex Kidd, the spots will be filled and we will be strong on defense like always.
7. Last season, you guys started the year with a tough opponent in Belfry and were able to come away with the win. This season, you guys travel to Perry Central to take on a tough Class 5A opponent. How much does it help the team prepare for the regular season by scheduling tough competition early in the season?
Bryson Williams: The tough schedule we play every year is to build to the post season. As we play the tough games, we gain faith and momentum, and it helps us play like we have nothing to lose. This year’s schedule is the toughest that Prestonsburg high school has ever played in school history.
8. The last time the Blackcats played for a state title was back in 2001. That is something you guys are reminded of every time you set foot on the field when you look at you guys’ scoreboard. Two years ago, you guys were so close to getting back to state, but fell short to Desales. How much does this team want to get over that hump and bring a state title to Prestonsburg?
Bryson Williams: This team wants to take it all the way. Ever since we were in the 7th and 8th grade, we dreamed of playing for a state title. We always believed we could make it there as juniors and seniors, and now the time has come, and we are ready to rock and roll!