E.A. Sports Today

Pleasant Valley: Breaking good

Pleasant Valley coach Jeff Davis (R) reviews a play with quarterback Drew Lewiski during the Piedmont 7-on-7 camp this summer. In the main photo, the Raiders approach the line of scrimmage to run a play.

Pleasant Valley coach Jeff Davis (R) reviews a play with quarterback Drew Lewiski during the Piedmont 7-on-7 camp this summer. In the main photo, the Raiders approach the line of scrimmage to run a play.

Raiders looking to shake off whatever breaks bad in pursuit of a winning season, playoff berth

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The players in Pleasant Valley’s football program are hungry for something good happen. It has been a while.

If you took the time to really break it down, it would be easy to draw them in as the foil in a panel of the Peanuts comic strip.

The Raiders are clearly Charlie Brown in this running theme; the kid full of hope as he runs full speed toward the football in anticipation of kicking it way down the field. Their seasons are Lucy, the holder who cruelly pulls the ball away just as Charlie Brown approaches his goal.

For the longest time the Raiders have gone into a season brimming with confidence, only to drop their chin straps once something goes bad.

“It’s a mentality that I don’t understand,” Raiders coach Jeff Davis said. “I can’t put a hand on it, but it’s the same battle every year. We’re trying to get to that point where winning becomes repetitive instead of something you struggle with week to week.”

Last year was a perfect example. A good spring and summer had the Raiders feeling confident about the season ahead, but a fumble late in the first half of the opener against Jacksonville turned a tie game into a 14-point halftime deficit and changed the whole complexion of the year to come.

It hurt even more when they lost to Ranburne the following week in overtime and it piled on the week after that when they lost to Vincent after taking a sack at a crucial time in the game. They didn’t a get on the field until Game 5.

The inability to overcome adversity is a major reason they haven’t had a winning season since 2008 or a playoff appearance since 2010. Davis thought they had gotten over the hump in 2007 and 2008 when they had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1983-84, but they went 2-8 the following season and hadn’t finished above .500 since.

“It’s frustrating,” quarterback Drew Lewiski said. “We lose by one point in overtime to Ranburne (in Game 2) and it set the tone for the season right off the bat. They ended up going 9-1 and we end up 3-7.

“If we hit our stride I think we’ll just take flight. I believe we get that two-point conversion against Ranburne, we’re the team that goes 9-1. I think we’ll hit stride. I think we’ve just got low confidence right now. Just have one thing go good for us we can get it going. We’ve just got to hit stride, get some momentum going.”

With Lewiski at quarterback, Dalton Bean back to provide some hard inside running, more players and a better understanding of what they’re trying to get done, the Raiders are confident they can turn their fortunes around this year – even as they move up in class and into a tough region.

Lewiski had nearly 1,500 yards last year — 1,100 rushing — and now that he’s under center he’ll touch it every snap. His threat to run should make the Raiders’ passing game even more effective, provided they get their timing down.

“I think we can compete; I think we can be competitive in every game,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to get out of the gate.”

And when things starting going bad?

“We’ve just got to move on from it and somehow make a positive out of it,” Bean said.

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. He can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com and followed on Twitter @easportstoday1.

PLEASANT VALLEY RAIDERS
Aug. 29 — Ranburne
Sept. 5 — Weaver
Sept. 12 — at Wellborn
Sept. 19 — Westbrook Christian
Sept. 26 — at White Plains
Oct. 3 — at Piedmont
Oct. 10 — Ashville
Oct. 17 — Ohatchee
Oct. 24 — at Glencoe
Oct. 31 — at Gaston



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