by Aaron Garcia
It wasn’t the ending the Porter Ridge football team – nor its fans – hoped for, but the Pirates 21-14 loss to Mocksville Davie High in last week’s Class 4A state semifinal game hardly takes away from what they accomplished this season. Porter Ridge coach Blair Hardin made sure to emphasize that point after the defeat.
“I told our kids – especially the seniors – this was the best team that ever played at Porter Ridge High School,” said Hardin. “They fought down to the last second, and I couldn’t be any prouder of what our seniors accomplished as football players and as men. I was proud of how they finished and how they started. We’re on the map now, and that’s all you can ask for.”
It was the first on-the-field loss for the Pirates, who finished the season 13-2 after forfeiting a game for violating the state’s eight-quarter policy.
“We faced a very good football team,” said Hardin of Davie. “They had a great plan, and they were prepared. We missed on some opportunities that we had capitalized on all year. We just came up short. As bad as we played, we still had a chance with a minute left, and that’s going to be in the back of our minds this off-season – that we just didn’t finish.”
But that won’t be the lasting impression, said Hardin
“Hopefully (the players) will carry some (positive) memories that will last a lifetime,” he said.
Not surprisingly, the momentum gained from the season has already been felt as the team prepares for off-season workouts in a few weeks.
“The community support’s been great this year, and they’re already talking about next year,” said Hardin. “The momentum from the end of the season has already started toward 2011. I wish I was still coaching and they were still playing right now, but they’re eager for next year. That’s enough motivation for me.”
Porter Ridge girls off to hot start
After delaying the start to their season for more than a week, the Porter Ridge girls basketball team improved to 3-0 on Dec. 8 with a 52-25 win over Cuthbertson. The delay was caused by the football team’s lengthy postseason.
Coach Ina Thompson said the first week of the season has been vital to the team’s development, as the Pirates only return two starters from last year.
“We’re just trying to work out some of the kinks, so we needed this week to see what we’re doing, what we need to adjust and iron out the wrinkles,” Thompson said.
Kelley Godbout has been central to getting the Pirates over the hump and has even shown a boost in offensive production from last season, said Thompson. The coach also commended senior Haley Secrest, who’s coming off the bench while recovering from a back injury.
“(Secrest) is smart and she’s game-saavy,” noted Thompson. “She anticipates, she reads, and she can get a spark going because of her anticipation, which helps my younger players get a little more active. My younger players are still a little timid, still trying to know when it’s OK to gamble and things like that. They can look at Haley and learn that it’s OK and start getting into that defensive mode.”
The Pirates travel to Hickory Ridge Friday, Dec. 10, before visiting Charlotte Providence Wednesday, Dec. 15.