Pack readies for season opener

Published 8:13 pm Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Washington football team will kickoff the 2012 season tonight as it hosts North Pitt at 7 p.m. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

As Washington prepares to kickoff the 2012 season coach Sport Sawyer’s message to his team was simple: finish strong.
The Pam Pack got off to a 4-2 start last season but after quarterback Jimmy Williams suffered a broken nose and a concussion the Pam Pack won only one more game the rest of the way to finish the year with a 5-6 record.
Sawyer said that’s not good enough.
“We’ve got to go out an motivate ourselves. It’s our job as coaches to get these kids motivated but their job as players is to motivate as well,” Sawyer said. “The goal is to get better every week. Last year we didn’t finish strong. That’s our big thing.”
The Pam Pack would like to start strong too and will get a chance to do that tonight as it hosts a North Pitt team that finished 6-6 (3-3 Eastern Plains) in 2011.
Offensively, the Panthers employ a versatile attack that will challenge the Pam Pack’s new 4-4 scheme.
“North Pitt has a couple of different types of offensives,” Sawyer said. “They run spread, then they can go under center and they have a couple of different quarterbacks.”
With an emphasis on stopping the run, Sawyer and defensive coordinator Jon Blank went to the 4-4 this summer and Sawyer said the team has embraced it.
“I think they’re ready. The front line is a little more experienced and they are chomping at the bit to get after it,” Sawyer said. “The linebackers behind them are real solid. Defensively, we’re excited about Friday night.”
Sawyer was pretty encouraged by the offense as well. Williams is back for his senior year, as is senior TE/WR Jack Rodman and senior RB/WR D.J Bell and sophomore Markel Spencer is also expected to add some punch to the Pack attack.
While Williams is a run-first QB, Sawyer said his passing looked sharp in the preseason.
“If we’re able to get time back there, Jimmy’s throwing has gotten so much better. He’s not just a running threat, he’s a throwing threat as well,” Sawyer said. “I’m very excited about that. We’re not just going to be a one-dimensional team.”
Protecting Williams could be an issue tonight as the Pam Pack will be without injured starting offensive lineman Justin Balance and Avery Respass. Junior Cory Grady and senior Matt Wescott are expected to take their places on the line.
The Pam Pack’s 2012 debut will get underway tonight with a 7 p.m. kickoff.