Toward the end of its last series of wind sprints last week, the Northwestern High School football team barely noticed an approaching thunderstorm. The players and 12th-year coach Brian Pierre are too optimistic at this point to acknowledge any dark clouds.
“One thing about this group is they’re very energetic,” Pierre said. “They’ve really put in the work this summer. We’ll probably only carry 32, 33 players on the roster, but these guys have really worked hard all summer to get ready for the season. They’re a little eager, a little anxious, but mainly they’re just very energetic.”
What Northwestern may lack in quantity, they make up for in physical size and experience, especially on the offensive live. It’s a unit that gives Pierre and his players hope in 2014. The Wildcats should not feature one running back, but have several interchangeable parts.
“Our offensive line has size and experience,” Pierre said. “Dontay Smith is a three-year starter. Andrew Pinkney started the past two years. Kemani Brown started last year for me and Dayon Taylor started last year. We don’t have one back who will carry the load, but we’ll have a running attack by committee. Whoever has the hot hand is going to get the ball.”
Smith [6-foot-1, 220 pounds] is hardly the biggest lineman on the unit but he is the most experienced. Taylor [6-0, 345], Brown [6-4, 275] and Pinkney [6-0, 280] all have ample size.
“I know this year we’ve worked really hard all summer,” said Smith, who also plays linebacker. “I’ve gotten faster and I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve dropped time in the 40 [-yard dash] from a 4.9 to a 4.72 and now I max out at 455 [pounds] on the squat. But the most important thing for me is that we have a winning season.”
Wildcats’ senior quarterback Leon Victor is eager to get the season under way.
“I can’t wait to go back there,” Victor said.