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Priceville is the ‘real deal’

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

 

The history of Priceville football is not a very glamorous one. In the 14 years that Priceville has been a school the football team has only recorded five winning seasons, one playoff appearance and has an overall record of only 45-82 with the most wins in a season being six.

However, that is all just history and head coach David Strunk, and his team that is led by 22 seniors is here to change all that. “When these guys were eighth graders we told them that if they would stick together and stick with it then they could go far,” said Strunk “and they’ve done that and now their leading this team.”

It’s been tough sledding though for the senior Bulldogs as they have faced many bumps in the road along the way. Priceville was expected to do big things last season and started out with a 2-0 record and won those two games by a combined 85-14 score, but the Bulldogs would finish the season 4-6. Strunk knows exactly what happened to derail what should’ve has been a great season. “Our quarterback got hurt and that was really the difference,” Strunk said, “If he doesn’t get hurt then I think we go 7-3 or 8-2 easily.”

Strunk had a point. This year with their quarterback healthy, the Bulldogs have completely ripped apart the offensive statistics book.

Through three games, the Bulldogs have averaged 70 plays, 635 yards and 58 points a game. Their quarterback Kaleb Barker, who is being looked at by some of college football’s top programs, has been nothing short of explosive as he has thrown and ran for 1,647 yards and 22 touchdowns in just three games (yes you read that correctly). However, Barker knows that the season has just started and there is still a long way to go. “You can’t be complacent” Barker said, “Were 3-0 and putting up good numbers so far but we still have to keep working.”

The pressure continues to mount on the Bulldogs as they continue to their schedule. With their 43-40 win over traditional Alabama power North Jackson it became very clear that Priceville was the real deal. Head coach Strunk knows just what kind of pressure his team has on them now. “Were in a position that we have never been in before” Strunk said “We are tied for first in our region and I told them that now we are no longer the hunter we are the hunted.”

Strunk couldn’t have been more right as now the October second matchup with region opponent Oneonta looks much bigger than it did a few weeks ago. All of Priceville including senior defensive back and wide receiver Kyle Haynes knows that they cant be looking ahead though if they want to continue the way they. Haynes, like Barker, missed the 2014 season with an injury and he is excited to be back for this special season. “It’s good to be back out there and playing” Haynes said “but what we have to do is stay focused on our jobs and this week and not worry about what happened last week or start looking forward to next week.”

Haynes is very critical to the Bulldogs success, as he has made several big plays on both sides of the ball already this season including against North Jackson, a game in which he had three interceptions. Barker gets a lot of the attention but Priceville has talented playmakers all over the field including Haynes, running back Aaron Cartee, and receivers Heath Mann and Parker Gwin. If the Bulldogs can keep their minds focused and not get caught up in their own success they have the talent to not only make a deep run in the playoffs for the first time in school history but also make a run at the class 4a state championship. It is going to be a wild ride for the rest of this season.

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