It is a word football coaches around Williamson County are using this year. Battle Ground Academy Coach Roc Batten is no different.
Usually it brings trepidation to coaches.
That’s where Batten is different.
“I get excited when this time of year comes around, no matter what. Our kids get excited. It’s a great time. I’m at a great place and get to coach some amazing kids.”
Batten opens his sixth season at the 127-year-old school and for the first time in his tenure, when he calls for his quarterback, he’ll have to use something other than Beathard.
“That’s a big change for me and the entire BGA community,” he said with a laugh, remembering the three brothers (Tucker, C.J. and Clay) who have directed his offenses. “But that’s part of high school, part of graduation. Good kids and good family’s come through and then they leave.
“But we’ve got a really good quarterback battle going on right now and these kids have been waiting their turn and now it’s here.”
Batten was talking about senior Jack Holloway and junior Drew Martin. At deadline, no decision had been made as to who would be the starter in the season opener at Goodpasture.
“Both have areas they need to work and they both have areas where they are really strong. We’re trying to hone in on what they do really well to allow our offense to have success.”
Whoever takes the snaps will get to know senior J.P. Pasley well. Pasley (5-8, 180) is Batten’s go-to guy, listed as an athlete with responsibilities including running back, receiver, defensive back, punt returner and kick-off returner.
“He has experience and we’ll be depending on J.P.,” Batten said.
Pasley can look for help on the corners from Kel Hawkins (5-11, 160), a junior with quick feet and good hands, senior Jack Jewell and Oliver Reese, another junior.
The backfield is young, but it has Batten excited. Sophomore Jaylen Frierson (6-0, 220), a three-sport standout, has the size to be a lineman but the moves, speed and strength to run over or around opponents. Junior Mathew Ligon can block or run as necessary.
New OC Jack Snider. We’ll still be BGA as far as tempo and spreading things out, but we’re going to be moving some guys around.
Upfront, the Wildcats will lean on senior Brad Lasher (6-0, 254) for leadership on both sides of the line. He should get help from Joe Altshuler, Austin Hardiman, and Teddy Holloway along with Brock Baldwin and Eli Mayberry.
“It’s good to have several battling for positions in the line, especially since we play both ways most of the time.”
The schedule is not friendly early. The Wildcats open on the road at Goodpasture then travel in Week to Martin Westview and Week Five to University School of Jackson.
“We picked up the Westview game and will get to play at UT-Martin’s stadium. It’s a really unique opportunity for our kids to play in a college stadium. A lot of kids never get that opportunity.
“But we’re taking it one game at a time. I know that’s a cliché, but we’re focusing on Goodpasture right now. We want a win to get the season started off in a positive way and hopefully we’ll grow into the next one.”