Updated Sun, Aug 24, 2014 10:59 pm
Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks our reporters will be bringing you team previews for each team in the SEOAL, TVC-Ohio, TVC-Hocking, and our West Virginia teams. We continue in West Virginia, where Point Pleasant looks to extend its playoff appearance streak to eight.
If their recent success is any indication of how the 2014 season will go for the Point Pleasant Big Blacks, their fans are in for a treat.
Coach David Darst has led this team to seven-straight West Virginia state playoff appearances and is confident that the Big Blacks are well on their way to extending that streak to eight.
“Yeah we’re going to make the playoffs,” Darst stated. “We’re going to be a good team.”
The Big Blacks return eight starters on defense, as well as ten on offense from a team that made it to the state quarterfinals a season ago. Given that experience and continuity, the team came into practices with a good idea of what was expected of them.
“We came into practice already rolling,” explained Darst. “We set team goals every week. We even set goals for our daily practices. We come in and say ‘Here’s what we’re going to get done today.’”
Senior quarterback Aden Yates will be entering his third year as a starter on this team and will be looking to be a big part of this team’s success.
“I really focused on being in the weight room, trying to gain some weight and beef up a little bit so I can take those hits better,” Yates said. “There is always room to improve, especially in leadership.”
Yates’ leadership on the field will be a huge help, as he is accustomed to the offense and knows what needs to be done. Yates already has many passing records for Point Pleasant, with a few more within his reach for this season. However, records are not what he is striving for.
“I’m just playing my game,” Yates said. “If I break them, that’s good. If not, oh well. I just want to win the games.”
Yates will have a big help in the backfield from junior running back Cody Mitchell. Mitchell is an all-state running back that already has offers to play college football at Division I schools.
His presence in the backfield will undoubtedly open up the passing game for Yates as he moves closer to the career passing records.
“We’re kind of back to the old days of Point Pleasant football,” Darst explained. “We’re playing those close, rival teams again.”
The Big Blacks start off their season with a few rivalry games. In week two, they will travel to Ripley, then they will host Wayne in a AAA vs. AA battle. Both games promise to be exciting football that fans will love.
Then, for the fifth game of the year, the Knights will host Gallia Academy, rekindling an old rivalry between two towns on opposite sides of the Ohio River.
“We haven’t played Gallipolis in about seven years,” explained Darst. “We normally pack about four thousand people in here, I figure there will be about five or six here that night. And it’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere.”
Point Pleasant was once a part of the SEOAL with Gallia Academy, but then moved within the West Virginia border for its conference affiliation.
The Big Blacks will begin the season on Aug. 29 at Lincoln County.
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