Preston football looks to bounce back in 2022 after pandemic rattled 2021 season

Team had 20 days between games at one point last season
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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KINGWOOD, W.Va (WDTV) - As head coach Mark Deep enters his second year as head coach for the Preston Knights, the team is still young. But this is a new season, one that will hopefully provide more opportunity for development than last season.

“People don’t understand the situation that we had in Preston last year,” said coach Deep. “You play two games and then you are off for four weeks because of COVID. It was tough, we didn’t have a chance to get better until week 6 when we started back up again. It was rough, but hopefully that stuff is behind us and we can get going this year.”

A young team means a young starting lineup. It puts seniors in a tougher leadership role than most, they have to help young players while also lining up aside them on Friday nights, but they’re up to the challenge.

“Being a leader is the fun part, but looking at it, it’s like, you have one season left,” said senior Levi Lowdermilk. “It’s fun to do that so that you can help the little guys get better. They help you get better in training every day.”

The every day development that Levi Lowdermilk talks about is crucial for a team that lost a lot of game experience to the pandemic in 2021. The team didn’t get a chance to play its best football until late in the year when it got its first win. But this senior class, including Zeke Lilly, knows what it’s like to be thrown to the wolves.

“My freshman year I started halfway through the year,” said Lilly. “I understand it. It’s definitely terrifying as a freshman starting. That’s part of our jobs as seniors, to say hey, it’s okay, just go out there and do your best. Do what we taught you and you’ll be alright.”

With a team that had 20 days between games at one point last season, the Preston Knights have a chip on their shoulder this season. It’s the first time under coach Deep that they’ve had a chance to play an entire season, and they look to make the most of it.

“Everyone looks Preston aside,” said coach Deep. “Everyone wants to play Preston, so we’re going to make sure that they don’t want to play us after this year.”

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