Gambrel Toyota Pigskin Preview: Pike Central Hawks aiming high for 2019

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pike County Central Hawks are setting their sights on the playoffs this year.

While the Hawks made an appearance in the playoffs last season, they hope to take it a step further in 2019 and that has been the motivation the team has used in summer workouts.

"We want to host a playoff game, we want to be able to play at home in November which is huge," said Pike Central head coach Eric Ratliff.

"Last year when we went to the playoffs we started strong but just let off," said senior lineman/linebacker Nate Roberts. "This year, we have been in the weight room hard. We have been getting stronger, the strongest we have been in a long time."

"We expect to win, we expect to compete," said senior quarterback Tyler Hunt. "We expect to know that every time that we step onto the field we are going to expect to beat our opponents."

"We don't want to give up, we want to be able to compete with anybody who takes the field with us," said senior wide receiver/cornerback Jacob Young. "We don't want to doubt anybody. We just want to show them that we are going to be with them the whole way."

The Hawks finished the season 3-8 last year and split their district games 2-2.

This year, Pike Central returns all of their starters after playing plenty of young guys in 2018.

Pike central started four freshmen last season. Since those younger players got plenty of playing time last fall, the team expects to reap the benefits with the silver lining of having more experience.

"When we played in the Pike County Bowl last year, about six of our kids had never been on a football field in a high school game," said Ratliff. "So it was a learning experience all the way through, we gained valuable experience. I think that will help us moving forward this year."

"Being experienced and being in those situations helps you the next time that you are in those situations," said senior guard/defensive end Tanner Hunt. "So you won't panic or freak. A whole of lot of people that we played last year, it was their first time playing. So it was their first time being in that situation and that will help them being in that situation again."

The Hawks begin their season at home on August 23 against Prestonsburg.

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