CHARLESTON, W.Va – Expectations for Capital this year are as high as they’ve been under head coach Jon Carpenter who is into his fourth season at the helm with the Cougars.
Almost the entirety of last year’s 7-4 team returns for the Cougars – a group that grew by leaps and bounds at the end of 2012, picking up consecutive wins over George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Huntington to close out the regular season.
“We won several games late in the year that I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to win,” Carpenter said. “We have a lot of momentum coming back, but we also took a butt-whooping from Musselman in the playoffs – they just lined up an ran it right down our throats.”
It was Tyrhee Pratt who emerged last year as just a freshman, accounting for over 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air.
“I wish I could take credit for it and say I coached him up, but he just showed up here and is one of those guys who has a feel of where to go with the ball,” Carpenter said. “He’s in the right place most of the time. This year, he has come in and now understands what we want a little bit more and how to adjust to defenses. He’s light years ahead of where he should be.”
Pratt, who has been to summer camps at Ohio State, already is receiving interest from the Buckeyes, Florida State, Penn State and Nebraska. Carpenter, however, said Pratt hasn’t received much yet from WVU.
“I think he can definitely play someplace at the next level,” Carpenter said. “He is one of the better ones I’ve ever seen.”
It’s the foundation of Pratt at quarterback, along with surrounding skill players like Kashaun Haley and James Richmond (among others), that have expectations so high for the Cougars. By most, Capital is being tabbed as one of the preseason favorites behind Martinsburg in Class AAA.
“I try to get them to not pay too much attention to things like that,” Carpenter said. “They know the expectations here – they walk by five state championship game appearance trophies in the locker room everyday. Still, they are excited about the year and they know they have a chance to be very good if they want to be.”
And it’s a group of players that has now been together for a while, giving Capital’s program a sense of stability it simply didn’t have when Carpenter first took over.
“Year one, we had four kids that had started previously on a middle school football team – that’s not very much carry over,” Carpenter said. “Everyone we have now has been here four years in and got ready to play at the junior high level as well – that’s the biggest difference.”
Capital actually has a bye in week one of the year, something Carpenter would rather not have so soon.
“We couldn’t change it this year or next year,” Carpenter said. “Ideally, that’s not what you want to do, but that’s just the way it is and we’ll have to be ready to go week two.”
2013 Football Schedule
|5||09/27/13 07:30PM||A||SOUTH CHARLESTON||-|
|7||10/11/13 07:30PM||H||CABELL MIDLAND||-|
|8||10/18/13 07:30PM||H||WOODROW WILSON||-|
|11||11/08/13 07:30PM||A||GEORGE WASHINGTON||-|