Pontotoc High head football coach Charlie Dampeer had a lot of “I don’t knows” to say about his team last week.
“I just don’t know about us,” Dampeer said on Wednesday, two days prior to playing Amory. “I don’t know if we can consistently play well every Friday night. I just don’t know at this point.”
Dampeer had his reasons for feeling insecure despite his team being 4-1 entering Friday night’s game.
For starters, the Warriors feature a sophomore quarterback in Marcus Reed.
“You can’t play the game without a good quarterback,” Dampeer said. “He’s got to handle schemes and has to learn how to read coverages and go through the check-downs.”
Dampeer and Co. believe Reed can perform well behind center, but consistency is a cocern. In Pontotoc’s 44-13 win over Houston on Sept. 17, Reed completed 5 of 9 passes for 141 yards in the first half. He had yet to throw an interception in his team’s first five games.
Against Amory, however, the sophomore threw five interceptions in a 27-13 non-division loss. That’s not a good note to enter division play on, especially considering whom the Warriors face in their Division 1-4A opener.
Pontotoc plays host to the Journal’s second-ranked large school, New Albany (6-0), onFriday night at 7. The Bulldogs are allowing only four points per game and have recorded three shutouts this season.
“It’s just a position, where as a quarterback, your play is really important,” Dampeer said. “You either get too much credit or too much blame. But at the same time, we understand he’s just a sophomore and he’s going to make sophomore mistakes as any of them would.
“He will need to get the ball to the right person, get us in and out of the huddle and handle a lot of other tangibles while improving every week.”
Another significant concern for the Warriors is their banged-up offensive line, as all five starters have been hurt at some point.
“We need to get all five offensive linemen playing in games together for consecutive weeks,” Dampeer said.
The offensive line isn’t the only position group to be hit hard by injuries. Star running back Randall Crayton has also been slowed by an ankle injury.
“We don’t want to complain about it,” said Dampeer. “It’s part of the game. We’ll keep flowing someone in for sure to keep things going.”
With division games being played throughout October, coaches such as Dampeer will have a much better understanding of what their teams are capable of doing.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JOHN WILBERT / NEMS Daily Journal