ARITON, Ala. (WDHN) — In Purple Cat country sixth-year Head Coach Steven Kilcrease has holes to fill, but sees a lot of potential in this year’s Ariton team.
The Ariton Purple Cats made the playoffs for the sixth straight year in 2020, but they also saw their first losing season since Kilcrease took over in 2016.
This year’s team is made up of mostly sophomores and juniors and Kilcrease thinks it’s the hardest working group he’s had so far.
“I get videos, they’ll send me of just work that they’re doing,” Kilcrease said. “Cone work they’re doing by themselves at home, so we’re excited about it. We’ve got some holes to fill. We’ve lost some really good players over the last few years and it sort of catches up to you at a small school, so we’re hoping to fill those holes and you know, and we’ll see how it goes.”
These holes are primarily on the offensive line.
The team lost a lot of key players, but most of their skill guys and all of their secondary players are back this year.
The Purple Cats have had nearly 100 percent participation all summer.
Kilcrease believes the pandemic has reminded them that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
“We have to take advantage. We’ve had more kids in camps this summer than we ever have and they weren’t able to do that last year. I think we’ve all put things in perspective. This is a game obviously, but we want to compete. They all love it and they’ve seen that it can be taken away.”
Win or lose one of the most important things the Purple Cats have going for them is playing for a small town with a big heart.
“Our school is a community school and I don’t care what sport it is. The people are going to be there to support it and that’s what makes it special. There is going to be people there win or lose and hopefully we’re winning.”
The Purple Cats hit the road for the first game of the season against the Dale County Warriors on Friday.