Peoples Bank Pigskin Preview: Pikeville Panthers
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pikeville Panthers had a dominant, 14-0 season that led to a 43-0 state title victory in the Class 1A championship game over Paintsville. The Panthers had a top ten defense in the state, allowing only 11 points to go along with a margin of victory of 26.4 points per game (No. 11 in the state).
All of that means nothing in 2020.
“We can’t go into the season thinking we’re state champs, we’re just gonna do it again," Junior Quarterback Isaac McNamee said. "We have to keep our heads down, keep working hard, work harder than we did last year.”
The Panthers must replace 16 seniors, including a three-headed monster at wide receiver that included Jackson Hensley (Wake Forest), Seth Pugh (Louisville) and Clay Tinsley (EKU), along with a number of other contributors on both sides of the ball.
“We gotta get all the young guys, keep them on task, make sure they put in the work so that when they have their opportunities, they can fill the roles," Nate Collins said, a senior running back and linebacker for Pikeville."
Despite the phenomenal season, the Panthers feel they have a chip on their shoulders coming into the season.
“Nobody is expecting us to do it again, but we’ve got something to prove and I think we’re gonna have a good shot at doing it again," McNamee said.
But the expectations are known for a program like Pikeville, and they hope to get another shot at a state title.
“We have a lot of guys that look up to us and last year as motivation for this year, and I think it’ll help us as they fill their roles and move on to the next state championship," Collins said.
Pikeville opens the season on the road against Class 1A foe, Raceland, before hosting Belfry in an annual Pike County showdown between the two state champions.
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