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New-look Indians determined to carry over success to 2020

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

The 2019 season was one to remember for the Plainview High School football team as it lost just one regular season contest, went undefeated in district play and advanced to the Class 3A State Championship. That’s where the run ended for the Indians and 24 seniors, but a new group will take the reins in 2020 with extra motivation on their side.  

“With so many new starters, it may be a learning curve at first, but I think we can go and compete,” said Plainview head coach Joe Price. “I’m excited about it. There’s a lot of unknown, but a lot of unknown sometimes is fun because you get to really watch the kids develop as they go.” 

And development will be crucial for the Indians as they don’t have as many seniors as they did in the past. A part of that is obvious after suiting up 24 in 2019, but the other isn’t something a school usually faces. 

“The cycle that we’re in right now has a really small senior class, as far as number of students in the whole school,” Price said. “That obviously trickles down to the football deal, as well. The participation out of those guys we have is great, but there just aren’t many of them.” 

Plainview’s overall numbers also have taken a hit with just 43 athletes when it has had as many as 70 in the past. With numbers aside, the Indians are showing that quality is better than quantity. 

“The kids we have right now are awesome — they are really hard workers,” Price said. “This may be the strongest bunch of kids that will be our starters, since I’ve been here. They work really hard in the weight room.” 

Price knows that will be important as he said Plainview is going to have to be in good shape, be tough and stay healthy to find success. The Indians will lean heavily on a group of juniors, with one in particular going back to a role he’s familiar with after playing receiver a year ago. 

“Reis Taylor has always played quarterback with his age group,” Price said. “He’s going to be our quarterback this year and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.” 

Price also mentioned Lane Johnson and Jeston Gilliam as two junior linemen who should have great seasons in 2020. That’s not all, as there is one athlete in particular who could make headlines this fall during his junior campaign.  

“Caden Pickens is our running back and middle linebacker and I think he’s going to be one of the best linebackers in the state regardless of what class,” Price said. “He was a part-time starter for us last year and was second on the team in tackles. He was a tackling machine when he got out there. I’m excited to see what he does.” 

Plainview will also depend on a number of sophomores to step up and provide depth at an early age. Morgan Pearson was one Price mentioned in the group and described him as an “unbelievable talent.” 

With that said, the Indians know what matters most is how they fare on the field and that journey begins in Texas against Pilot Point at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. That isn’t the only game Plainview is circling though. 

“The Tuttle game is always a good gauge of where we’re at,” Price said. “We have our district rivals — Lone Grove is always a big game and the Sulphur game, just because the two of us have been so good over the past five or six years, has become a big rivalry game.”