Team experience gives PBHS potential for repeating success

After a 6-4 season that put the Warriors second in their league, Peabody-Burns has a truckload of talent among 12 returning seniors and letterwinners. Pictured are: back row (from left) Alex Bengtsson, Andrew Loucks, Anthony Jones, Sean Corona; middle row, Adam Benson, Thomas McGee, Lukas Bambach, Nick Abramowich; front row, Ben Eldrigde, Nathan Bishop, Will Pratt, Trevor Hamm. Andrew Ottoson. Click image to enlarge

A 6-4 season put the Peabody-Burns High football team in a tie for second in the Heart of America League in 2006. Head coach David Pickens, in his third year, has nine returning starters on both offense and defense.

?Having lots of experience gives us a great chance to have an exciting year,? Pickens said. ?We can be very competitive.?

Nathan Bishop (6 feet 1inch, 205 pounds) returns as a four-year starter and will take over the quarterback position from graduated standout Todd Wood?ruff.

?Nathan is a good athlete who can do about whatever he wants to do, so I?m comfortable moving him from fullback to quarterback this year,? Pickens said.

?This being his senior season, it?d be tough for someone else to do, but for him it?ll be fairly easy,? he added. ?Whatever we ask him to do, he takes it on and works hard at it to be successful.?

Bishop will line up at linebacker on defense. Senior free safety and running back Trevor Hamm (6-1, 210) will line up behind Bishop on both sides of the ball.

?He?ll be a three-year starter, a great athlete, a good hard runner on offense,? Pickens said. ?On defense, we moved him to free safety, and he should be a wrecker back there.

?Trevor?s a good hitter and a good cover guy with good speed,? he added.

Senior Ben Eldridge (6-0, 180) is ?pound for pound the toughest guy on the team,? Pickens said. ?He will hit you, and you?ll know it when he does.?

Eldridge is a linebacker on defense and running back on offense.

Adam Benson (6-2, 185) has bulked up for his senior season.

?Adam gained about 30 pounds since last year, so he?ll be a good possession receiver and a strong tackler on defense,? Pickens said. ?He has really developed good hand skills over the past couple years.?

Senior Will Pratt (6-0, 210) makes his mark as an offensive lineman, linebacker and an all-league kicker on special teams.

?He?s an all-league lineman and a great athlete,? Pickens said. ?He?d be playing fullback for most any other school, but he?s just so good on the line.?

?Will can pull, get around the corner and lead backs up the sideline?and he had two touchdowns on fake punts last year.

?I think that says it all about his speed,? Pickens said.

Senior Nick Abramowich (6-0, 210) will be another key member of the Warriors? offensive line.

?Nick was a second-team all-league lineman on both sides of the ball last year,? Pickens said. ?He?s really a great defensive lineman?he really wreaks havoc coming off the end.?

Seniors Andrew Louckes (6-8, 275) and Anthony Jones (6-0, 190) fill out the line.

?Just being as big as he is, Andrew is a good run stopper at defensive tackle,? Pickens said. ?Anthony Jones is a versatile athlete with good hands. He?ll be a good center for the offense and on defense he?ll be quick off the ball.?

Brandon Pickens (6-2, 185) is the only junior expected to hold a starting role for PBHS in 2007.

?He?ll be a good corner back on defense and a great receiver on offense,? Coach Pickens said.

Elliot Spechtenhauser (6-0, 180) is a junior with a chance to make a significant contribution.

?He runs extremely hard, and he?ll make a good impact on offense,? Pickens said.

In Pickens? estimation, Remington may be the best team in the HOA, just as Olpe may be the best team in the district.

But, Pickens said, ?I think we have the talent and the athletes to beat teams like Remington and Olpe this year.?

The Warriors open the season Friday 1 at Inman.

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