Edmonson Voice Staff
The Wildcat Football team will open the 2014 season tonight on the road at Campbellsville University against the Cardinals of Taylor County. The Wildcats defense will have their hands full as Taylor County, a 4A school, will rely on their 285lb running back to give them an offensive edge. Head coach Kyle Pierce says that the Cardinals offensive line is very big, most all within the 275-290lbs range, which will put pressure on the Wildcats defense. “That’s what concerns us defensively, the way they can get into a rhythm with their running game,” Coach Pierce said. “Their running back is capable of breaking long runs, and again, he’s 285lbs, so we have to make sure we’re hitting him low,” he added.
Edmonson County lost 14 seniors from last year’s squad, but still has 12 returning for 2014. Pierce said, “A lot of these underclassmen played quite a bit last year, so we still have good experience this year.” He also said “I hope we’re further along defensively than offensively, because if we can simply move the ball on the offensive, I think we’ll be in really good shape.” He also said that they have a new kicker this year, a freshman, Brett Brannon. Although inexperienced, he has been impressive thus far. Sophomore Jake Dial will be in the quarterback role. Even though he’s young, Coach Pierce said Dial played the position in some games last year and the coaching staff was impressed by his decision making. He feels that Dial will be able to put the Wildcats in a good position to make plays. Returning at running back is senior John Finch, along with Daniel Caudill. Pierce feels confident in the receiving crew as a whole: Drew Decker, Dakota Carner, Garry Foley, (all seniors) and junior Jarod Hines. “Again, all these guys have experience, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do,” Pierce said.
Coach Pierce believes that one of the main keys to success for this year is staying healthy. “We got hit by the injury bug the last two years,” he said. “We had some of our best players out with injuries…those things happen, but they really hadn’t happened to us prior to a couple years ago. If we stay healthy, I really like our team, we’re in good shape…having injuries worries you some, but we feel our guys are ready.”
Pierce stresses that the main focus is not necessarily on wins and losses, but making sure that they’re playing their best football at the end of the year. He said that obviously wins are important, but if the Cats are playing well through October, then hopefully they’re in a good position to win in the playoffs. In 11 years as head coach, Pierce says he’s had a little bit of everything. Will this year’s team be like the 2011 squad, going 10-0 in the regular season? Being in a tough district will certainly bring challenges to the Wildcats, but Pierce said, “We can’t worry about everybody else…we’re going to worry about us. If we’re playing our best at the end of the year, then that’s all I can ask of these kids.”
Pierce was very gracious for the interview with the Edmonson Voice, and stressed how social media and internet news can help Wildcat fans stay connected to the team this year. Tonight’s game has been pushed back to 8:30 pm, central time, due to the excessive heat index. You can listen to the game live on www.gowildcatnation.com. Stay connected to the Edmonson Voice for Wildcat Football coverage throughout the season.