There could be multiple hands hovering squarely over the panic button when it comes to Prattville football.
After all, the reigning Class 6A state champions suffered one its worst losses in recent memory, a 25-point setback to G.W. Carver in last week’s season opener at Stanley-Jensen Stadium. It was Prattville’s first loss to a Montgomery school since 2002.
However, don’t expect Lions coach Chad Anderson to be too concerned after only one game.
“You just keep coaching the little things and fundamentals, that’s the big thing,” Anderson said. “We just got to keep working and polishing things up because when you’re young you’re going to make little mistakes — you’re just not as seasoned.”
Prattville (0-1) goes in search of its first victory today at region foe Spain Park (0-1). The matchup marks the first meeting between the 6A schools since the Lions beat the Jaguars for the state crown back in 2007.
Patience remains the talk. The departure of 40-plus seniors, 29 of those who either signed or committed to college programs, has opened the gates for numerous unproven, first-time varsity players to register quality minutes at this level.
“Things will get better as this group grows,” Anderson said. “It takes time.”
Lions senior Austin Golson has noticed a difference in effort and dedication from his younger teammates since walking off the field following last Friday.
“It’s a huge difference,” said Golson, a Florida State commitment. “Guys are working way harder than we’ve worked in the past. I think they realized that being average isn’t going to win games. We won’t keep harping on the past; we just got to keep playing. We’re not there yet, but hopefully we’ll get there.”
Defensive coordinator Ryan Wilson accepted blame for his unit not being fully prepared for the passing attack from the Wolverines, who featured the strong arm of Auburn commit Jeremy Johnson. Prattville, especially the secondary, will be tasted once again with Spain Park quarterback Nick Mullens.
Accountability and communication were the two areas focused on the most by Wilson.
“We got to quit relying on everybody else telling us what to do and take accountability for our own actions,” he said. “That’s just a sign of inexperience. The talent and ability is still here, it’s just getting 16- and 17-year-old’s minds geared in to what they have to get accomplished in the game.”
In an attempt to try to lighten the load on the defensive side of the ball, Anderson and Wilson plan to scale back on the number of different packages called in hopes of providing some type of comfort zone for players against a quarterback who has drawn interest from several lower Division I schools.
“We played a good quarterback last week, and we’re playing another this week, so I know (Spain Park) will try to point out weaknesses,” Anderson said. “We’re also going to definitely need to get more pressure on the quarterback to force him to get rid of the ball earlier.”