Pattonville Football Poised to Sail With New Crew of Pirates
The Pattonville Pirates return this season with mostly underclassmen, but still have an eye on the playoffs.
Head football coach Steve Smith, and his staff, will have a fresh start in 2011 with almost an entirely new crew of Pirates, unlike what has occurred in recent seasons.
With only a handful of returning seniors, Smith will be looking for new leaders to set the bar for excellence and execution.
Only six of the 47 players are returning from last year’s varsity team, so there are many open positions to fill and plenty of opportunities for the newcomers. The defense will be the only glimpse from the 2010 season with all six returning seniors being defenders. Senior Jeremiah Wilkens made the 2010 Suburban North all-conference defensive team along with Brandon Weaver, also a senior, who made the second team.
“It has to be like that sometimes,” said Smith, who will have to "reload every position ... We need work everywhere in every skilled position.”
This work includes finding a skilled quarterback to lead the Pirates’ short-term offensive future. Smith has found potential in three young players, who each have shown hard work and dedication to take the responsibility in leading the offense. Along with the quest for a QB, Smith must also find quality receivers and runners in hopes of turning the Pattonville offense into a well-oiled machine. Smith plans on implementing a spread formation this season.
The defense will have experience, as well as some fresh eyes scanning the field. Smith believes it is the seniors’ duty to be a leader to the guys behind them. The Pirates’ defensive strategy this year is very basic: run and attack the ball.
“We have a lot of tenacity in our defense. If you’re not running, you can’t be on defense,” Smith said. With Wilkens and Weaver making a return, it gives hope for the team to feature a stifling defense.
The coaches want to install a close relationship with their players that will stay with them for a very long time. Hopefully, this bond will help push Pattonville past its 2010 final mark of 7-4. Last season, the Pirates lost to Fort Zumwalt West in sectional play, 42-19, to end their season.
Every team wants to win, but coach Smith and his Pirates are also looking to achieve more than victories.
“First, I want (the team) to make it to the playoffs. But, by the time districts come, I want to make sure the whole team clicks.”
Smith expresses the importance of every game, with the entire conference presenting Pattonville with a challenge. The Pirates will play at Hazelwood East in their first game of the season on Aug. 27.