Last season was new to Ardrey Kell football coach Adam Hastings. After winning eight games in each of his first two seasons, the Knights went 4-6 while losing their last six games.Now Hastings hopes they can turn it around. Derailed by injuries during a tougher schedule, Ardrey Kell was outscored 201-78 in the final six weeks.You cant ignore it, said Hastings. Obviously it hurts. You have two really good years and last year was a drop-off from where we were. For us at the end of the year, we took every part of our program apart and said, What are the things we can improve on that we can control? Hastings and the rest of the coaches made an effort to improve upon those controllables in summer. He stressed improving competition, which leads to players trying to bring the best out of themselves rather than just beating the other team. When we play seven-on-seven tournaments we play to win, but were not playing teams, Hastings said. For us, its playing our potential. Luckily for the Knights, their switch from the Southwestern 4A conference to the So. Meck 8 4A division means they wont play many of the teams that haunted them down the stretch last year. The only teams they play again this season are Weddington, Myers Park, Marvin Ridge, Providence, and South Meck a group they were 3-2 against last season. This may not be making their schedule any easier theyll be trading Butler and Independence for Charlotte Catholic and Olympic but its a fresh page for a team that will be relatively unknown to their new rivals. For now, Ardrey Kell returns seven starters on offense, including quarterback Nathan Turnbow, running back Eddie Petzke who took over for injured senior Quay Gilmore and wide receiver Trey Ellis, who led the team in receptions. The defense, however, returns only two starters: defensive back Allen Hayes and defensive end Thomas Wilkinson. Despite the lack of experience, Hastings is excited about inside linebackers Ross Walker and Tyler Bizjack and a deep secondary. Ive been really impressed with our defensive backfield (this summer), said Hastings. We have a lot of kids back there who are competing. Were deeper than weve ever been at that position, and we have a lot of youth. Were really excited about seeing those guys play and develop. Last year was the tale of two teams: one that scored 32 points per game and went 4-0 and the team that was outscored by nearly three touchdowns per game and went 0-6. The true Ardrey Kell team is likely somewhere in between. The 2012 squad had the makings of another good season; that much is clear from the first four games. If it can avoid the barrage of unlucky injuries from last season, Ardrey Kell stands a good chance to have another eight-win-or-more season.This is a different crowd, said Hastings. They have to write their own season; they have to play their own year. You want to talk about (last season), but just like if you had a really good year, you dont want to talk about it too much because thats the past.
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Ardrey Kell looks to end loss streak
Ardrey Kell (4-6) Coach: Adam Hastings (fourth year, 21-14). Returning starters: 9 (7 offense, 2 defense). Key players: • ILB Ross Walker • ILB Tyler Bizjack • CB Kyle Kukielski • RB Eddie Petzke
2013 schedule • Aug. 23 at Weddington • Aug. 30 vs. Myers Park • Sept. 6 vs. Marvin Ridge • Sept. 13 at Cuthbertson • Sept. 27 at West Mecklenburg • Oct. 4 vs. Olympic • Oct. 11 at Harding University • Oct. 18 vs. Providence • Oct. 25 at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology • Nov. 1 vs. Charlotte Catholic • Nov. 8 at South Mecklenburg
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