Monday, August 19, 2013

Tigers Looking for Answers in 2013

Football 2013
Story and Photos
by Kelly Caldwell


Coach Pat Prestridge is in a familiar position as he leads the Randolph County for the second time in a decade. Prestridge coached the Tigers from 2001-2007 which included the Tigers only state title in 2003.
"I have been back at Randolph County for three years as an assistant coach and am excited about returning to lead the Tigers," Prestridge said.
Prestridge took over the program toward the end of the season last year when  former coach Randy Sparks was relieved of his coaching duties.
"These players have been through a lot," he said. "It was a tough year and hopefully we can put it behind us and move forward."
The Tigers did see some success despite the adversity including a playoff appearance for the first time since 2006.
“We want to bring that pride and tradition back to Randolph County High School,” Prestridge said. “We have to get it back. Other teams don't respect us like they used to. We are having to change some attitudes. They are great kids, but when you get on that field, you have to be tough.”
With only four seniors, however, it may be an uphill battle for the Tigers.
"You have to teach these players about pride and self-discipline before you can worry about the x's and o's of football," Prestridge said. "We are a young bunch and we have our work cut out for us."
Willis Knight returns for his senior campaign after being named to the Class 2A All State Team in 2012 as a wide receiver.
"He really has his work cut out for him this year because he is on people's radar," Prestridge said. "We are hoping for big things out of him."
 Elijah McFarland, Reco Hannah, Levi Scarbary and Braxton Lackey round out the receivers for the Tigers.
"We are so young that we throw them into different situations and will have to see what happens," Prestridge said.
McFarland, a junior, who moved from Temple, GA over the summer and is also competing for the quarterback slot with sophomore John Mark Prestridge and junior Lane Henderson.
"There really are a lot more questions than answers right now," Prestridge said. "We won't really have definitive answers until after the scrimmage with Handley.
"Anyone can look good in shorts, the true answers come when you put the pads on."
Carrying the ball for the Tigers will be Reco Nelson who returns at tailback. Hannah and Scarbary will also be in the mix.
The other returning senior for the Tigers is Keith Clark who returns at guard.
Prestridge is also counting on juniors Levi Phillips and Zack Baker.
"Both those guys saw some action last year and we are looking for them to contribute more this season," Prestridge said.
The Tigers will keep their opponents guessing with multiple offense that will focus on the running game.
"We will keep people wondering what is next," Prestridge said. "We will run 10 to 20 different formations. While we may be more of a run team, don't think we won't throw it."
The uncertainty continues for Randolph County on defense.
"Defense we are really young and time will tell who is going to step up for us," Prestridge said. "We are real young. Maybe three guys started last year that are back for us. We don't have a lot of varsity experience and we are a little weak in strength.
"We are looking at different personnel. The four seniors will more than likely start but it's not guaranteed. It depends on how they react to practice and the game situation during the scrimmage.
Sophomore Will Sledge has earned kicking duties on special teams for the Tigers.
"We have him for extra points and short distance field goals," Prestridge said. ". It is hard to find kickers because it seems like no one wants to do it. But Will has gone to several camps this summer and is continuing to improve.  We really don't know his range."
J.R. Roundtree will handle kickoffs and possibly long range field goals and Dustin Farrow will be the long snapper.
The Tigers open the preseason with Handley on Aug. 23. The regular season opens on the road with Gaston the following week.


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