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Tiger football focusing on one day at a time

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Wirt County High School head football coach Jason Hickman, left, and assistant Ben Moore look on during a Thursday morning three-week summer practice in Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH — Thursday morning was the final session of the three-week summer coaching period for the Wirt County football team of head coach Jason Hickman.

Like everyone else across the Mountain State, the Tigers continue to work and prepare for the hopeful upcoming football campaign.

“We really can’t complain,” Hickman noted of the numbers. “We’ve got 31 kids on our roster and we’ve been about 20 every day at practice so we can’t really complain about that.

“A lot of the younger kids are the kids that are in and out. The older kids have been here so that’s good.”

Senior Garrett Parsons, the orange and black punter/running back/linebacker, is one student-athlete who hasn’t been around.

“He’s there in basic training,” Hickman said of Parsons, who opted to do that this summer after enlisting with the Army National Guard. “He’ll be back for our flex days.”

Wirt County originally lost its opener against rival Calhoun County, but the two teams were able to move that game to later in the season.

“Calhoun was week one and that’s the game you want to play so we moved them to week 10. It worked out,” Hickman noted. “We got them week 10 and then we put Webster tentatively on the schedule in place of Catholic if Catholic does not have a team.

“We’re kind of waiting to hear the official word from them. Webster is in the same boat. Catholic is on their schedule, too, so we both kind of made a verbal agreement if Catholic doesn’t have a team we’ll play Webster.”

Ben Moore and Scotty Lowe return on the coaching staff, which also will have Joe Villers.

“We have coach Villers and he’s been here before. He was here with me before when I was here before,” Hickman said of his first stint coaching the Tigers.

“He’s back in the school system so he’s back on our staff and we’re excited about that. It’s a familiar cast. We’re just adding Joe back into the mix.”

From a coaching standpoint, Hickman and his staff have tried to stay as positive as possible.

“I told the kids, you know, what we all got to go is focus on the things we can control,” Hickman added. “They’ve had great attitudes and came out here working hard. We have no control over what’s going to happen.

“We’ve got to prepare ourselves the best we can if we are able to play and put ourselves in the best position to be successful. Other than that, that’s all we can do at this point. Kind of sit and wait and hope.”

The energy and excitement level are as high as ever for the Tigers.

“We’ve had pretty good numbers this summer. I think kids are just bored sitting around the house,” admitted the coach. “They are ready to come out and get something done so it’s been good for us in that aspect.”

With nearly a dozen expected seniors on the roster, which includes returning first team Class A all-state selection Nathan Murray, the Tiger grid boss is cautiously optimistic about the season ahead.

“We’ve got a lot of guys back from last year’s team, which we were 4-6, but we were in almost every game and our defense played really well last year,” Hickman said.

“If we can get our offense going at all I think we have a chance to be competitive. I really do. That’s been the primary focus so far this summer.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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