Prep Football: PikeView looks to keep moving forward in 2022
Richwood – Building a winning tradition in football is never easy and often a lengthy process.
Mix in a nationwide pandemic and that task becomes even more difficult.
Unfortunately, those were the cards that PikeView head coach Jason Spears was dealt when he took over in 2019, so it should come as no surprise that the main goal last season for the Panthers was to somehow find a sense of normalcy.
“Last year we were trying to get back in the groove of playing football after the year of Covid,” Spears said. “We had a lot of new players out there that hadn’t played in awhile.”
Success on the gridiron has not been the norm in Gardner to say the least.
Over the last 10 seasons, PikeView has had one winning season and one .500 season. In 2017 the Panthers won seven games against three setbacks, while in 2018 they finished 5-5.
Outside of those two seasons and prior to last year, the Panthers had won three games just once and that was back in 2013.
The prospects for a turnaround in 2021 did not start well either after four straight losses.
However, a shutout win at Montcalm and wins over Wyoming East and River View injected some much needed hope in the program.
“We kind of got things rolling the second half of the season. In the beginning our quarterback was new to the game and we had two new receivers, but they really helped us out a lot later in the year,” Spears said.
The Panthers dropped the final two games of the season to playoff bound teams, but the progress was evident when PikeView gave Shady Spring all it could handle taking a two-touchdown lead at halftime before falling late in that game.
Spears fully believes his team can make even bigger strides this season.
“They are a great bunch of kids that are very coachable and have worked really hard in the weight room,” Spears said. “It’s a young group with quite a few freshmen, but they are very athletic. We should have some great skill players with tremendous speed, so all in all, I feel really good about this team.”
Utilizing those skill players and building strong relationships have been the main focus for Spears during the summer workouts.
“We are working on routes and building a strong relationship between the quarterbacks and wide receivers and stuff like that,” Spears said Saturday at the Richwood 7-on-7 tournament. “The linemen are working to get bigger in the weight room and get better conditioned.”
“We always tell them these events are a great practice opportunity, but we are also out here to compete and work on some things,” Spears went on to say. “We critique ourselves between games and talk about what we need to fix and do better on.”
The building process is far from over for PikeView, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.
“We are trying to get as many kids as we can to come out and get more involved. It was tough dealing with that Covid year in regards to grades and eligibility,” Spears said. “We want to get kids to try football and enjoy it. I have a great coaching staff and they have great relationships with all of these players. We are still building things, but by the time the season starts we can push for a winning season. We want to get better and build off our past season.”
PikeView hosts Summers County to open the season before traveling to Van in week two.