New Petrolia head coach Mitch McLemore plans to make the Pirates offense less predictable in 2019. And he’s hoping this year’s team sets a foundation for success in years to come. In his nearly 30-year coaching career, McLemore has never shied away from re-building projects. And as Tobin McDuff explains in tonight’s Friday night football preview – that is exactly what he faces in Petrolia.
You don’t have to tell the Petrolia Pirates there is room for improvement in 2019. The Pirates were win-less in 2018, forfeiting their final two games of the season. Step on, a new coaching staff with Mitch McLemore taking over the reins. “He brings a lot of positivity and puts us all together,” said quarterback Jake Tucker. “Man, I feel like a family out here with these kids. And it’s really great. A great experience.”
“And the big challenge for them is hey, we need to learn to love one another. You don’t have to like everybody. That’s a different thing,” said Petrolia head coach Mitch McLemore. “But when we’re a team it’s something bigger than ourselves. And that really plays a big role in great teams. Rarely have I seen the most talented team win the championship. I’ve seen a lot of great teams win championships.”
Step two, creating a new culture.
“The fastest way to do that is spending time with them, time where you can be found and you’re noticeable – talking to them. It just takes time like a lot of other things,” said McLemore.
Step three…well, that starts on Friday nights. And the Pirates goal is clear. “Just making the playoffs again would be really great for this town. We really need it. And we’re going to try to do our best out here,” said Tucker. And Tucker will play a big role in any success the Pirates experience. He returns as the Pirates starting quarterback.
“Jake’s a great quarterback. He knows how to find receivers. He’s got good field vision. He knows what to do – plays, everything. So trust him and he’ll put it wherever you want him to,” said Petrolia senior Justin Riggs. “Great athlete. Great young man. I mean I have nothing but praise for him. He is a leader by his actions,” said McLemore.
Junior Brett Briscoe is featured in the trenches where he will both protect Tucker, and on defense pursue opposing quarterbacks.
“If we’re going to win, not one person can do it. We’re going to have to do it together,” said Tucker.
But Coach McLemore said he will not judge his team based on what the scoreboard reads on Friday nights.
“I quit worrying about w’s and l’s a long time ago, even as an assistant coach. The quality of their character and what we can give them that they need and the support that they need – that matters more to me than the w’s and l’s,” said McLemore.