Pine Tree Pirates ready to begin workouts
Aug. 12, 2017 at 10:36 p.m.
Kerry Lane recognizes progress and likes what he sees entering his second year at Pine Tree.
What a difference a year makes when preparing for the start of preseason practice.
"The kids are in. They are all in. We're not just talking about it," said Lane, in reference to the Pirates' team motto "All In."
"Our kids are committed and doing everything right. We're much more of a complete team. We're stronger and faster. We had one of our lineman go from 320 pound squatter last year to 480 now."
Lane offers a modest grin, realizing the job is far from complete. The Pirates are still a squad coming off a 2-8 season in 2016.
What 2017 portends is yet to be determined.
The Pirates open preseason drills Monday with intent. Pine Tree is looking to qualify for postseason for the first time since 2001.
How does a team that only found the victory circle twice the year before carry such optimism?
Hang around Lane for more than a few minutes and you'll catch the fever. He understands what it takes to build a champion.
"We're going to be much better physically and mentally. The kids are excited and our coaches are coaching at an entirely different level," said Lane, who earned a state championship ring as wide receivers coach at Gilmer in 2014.
"The kids understand the expectations we have for them and where we're at and what we're trying to build. They know we've got to take the next step this year. It's a four-year plan and the wins will come. But this is a huge year for cranking things up."
Lane looks to welcome out in the neighborhood of 180 prospectives. That's basically doubling the total number that came out for drills last August.
Freshman take the field Monday afternoon at 3 p.m., while the varsity and junior varsity get started at 5:30 p.m. The varsity and junior varsity begin adjacent to the field house on the grass field for their first segment and bus over to Pirate Stadium from 7:30 to 9 p.m. to complete practice.
Lane was able to make a couple additions to his coaching staff since last season that could prove beneficial to the continued progress of the Pirates.
Jason Bachman was hired as offensive coordinator. Bachman was formerly the OC at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport where they won back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014. He also got a ring while on the staff at his alma mater Shreveport Evangel in 2009.
Cody Ellis was brought in to handle the Pirate strength and conditioning program. Ellis has previous stints at Bullard, Henderson and Frankston.
"Our first four days for me are the time we install. It's a time to get the kids acclimated out there running around. We take the time to get the base stuff from spring re-taught," Lane offered. "We'll spend a lot of time just hammering home fundamentals. Before we put the pads on we want to be acclimated and the fundamentals to be very sound."
Pine Tree plays host to the Longview Lobos in controlled combat Aug. 25 at Pirate Stadium before traveling to the Tomato Bowl for a date with the Jacksonville Indians on Sept. 1 to open the 2017 grid campaign.
(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)