BY JOHN CONLEY
Wyoming East coach Gary Poindexter is hoping a new attitude will pay off in more wins.
"I like how hard this group works and we hope that carries over to Friday nights," Poindexter said. "There are a lot of competitors who really want to win. They challenge each other every day in practice.
After winning just three games in the past two seasons, the coach wants to turn things around.
"We've had good leadership (in practice)," he stated. "We've had very few give up or quit, that's a good sign."
A scrimmage earlier this month against Greenbrier West, a semi-finalist in the AA playoffs this year, provided a few answers.
"We need to find five good linemen out of 8-10 guys who are competing for those spots," Poindexter said. "We've got many options there."
To have success this season, he commented, "we need to get off to a good start and keep everybody working hard. And we can't have too many injuries."
Among those likely to start or see lots of time on the offensive line is guard/center Brandon Peck (6-0, 230).
"He's improved dramatically every year since his freshman year," Poindexter observed. "He's become a complete football player.
Junior Chris Cecil has "gotten a lot bigger and stronger" since he first started as a freshman.
Senior Jeremiah Webbb "can play different positions," says Poindexter. "He's very versatile and much improved."
Joining them are senior Brendon Mullins ("a very hard worker") and Darian Workman, who started the last two games of the 2010 season.
Showing promise are sophomores Ryan Cantrell and Derek Laxton. "They're smart and hard working," remarked the coach. Senior Brian Lester "is turning into a very good offensive lineman.
Justin Fralin, Shea Jenkins, Nick Martin and Zach Hardee could also see playing time.
In the backfield, tailback/fullback Chase Lowman (6-0, 200) "is a big guy with above average speed."
Senior fullback Mickey Byars "is a hard runner." Senior Brad Simpson and sophomore Jacob Summe will get carries as well.
Junior quarterback Zach Whitten "has a good arm and is a good runner," said Poindexter.
East has a couple of tall receivers in 6-4 Marcus Schofield and 6-3 Ty Treadway.
Schofield "is one of the best all-around athletes in the state," the coach noted. "He's been getting many, many looks from Division I teams this winter.
"He'll be running the ball and catching the ball," he added.
Treadway "has great hands and above average speed," according to Poindexter.
Senior Kyle Smith will be used at tight end at slot. "He's a hard nosed football player," said the coach.
Other likely targets in the passing game are Brad Shirley, Michael Pete Culicerto and Todd England.
Luke Stevens, the Warriors' defensive coordinator says likely contributors include freshman Casey Wood ("a developing player"), Cecil and Summer ("spent a lot of time in the weight room").
Whitten will pay outside linebacker or safey and Schofield is at safety. Treadway and Shirley, Stevens observed, "are disciplined."
Freshman Aaron Griffith will play some at D-back.
Peck and Smith are the ends.
Also playing will be Lowman, Byars, Cantrell, Webb and Lester.
"We're stronger than we've been at outside iinebacker," Stevens commented.
East will be the first oppenent of the new consolidated school, Mingo Central, this Friday. The Warriors have also added Shady Spring to the schedule.
"A lot of the teams we play have been, year in and year out, playoff teams," said Poindexter. "It's a challenging schedule."