Preston preps to take on unbeaten University High 136

KINGWOOD — The Preston High football team is taking on week nine as a redemption week, as the Knights host No. 3-ranked and undefeated University High (8-0)

Last week, when the Knights (1-6) lost to Fairmont Senior, head coach Jonathan Tennant believed that for the first time this season, the team showed a lack of energy, which did not translate well on the field.

However, this week carries some hype with it as the senior players will be recognized during their last home game of the season. It is also the sixth annual Pink-Out game, for breast cancer awareness.

Tennant hopes this buildup will translate to passion on the field.

“In every other game we have been competitive,” Tennant said. “The scores have been lopsided, but I am pleased with the overall effort so far this season. With our kind of team, if we don’t bring energy to the field, man-for-man, position-for-position, on paper just about every team beats us. But we can make up for it with our work ethic and passion for the game.”

Both teams feature quarterbacks who can run.

Dakota Holt leads Preston in rushing yards, with 393 on 91 carries. He also leads the team with six touchdowns.

For UHS, Clay Bailey is second on the team, behind Trevor Barnhart, with 401 yards on 104 carries and three touchdowns.

Bailey “is very versatile and makes good fakes,” Tennant said. “He scored three touchdowns against us last year. They have a balance of equally running and passing.

“(Amir) Richardson is one of the best wide receivers in the state, so we have to game plan for him. Their running back (Robert) Sanders, he is quick and fast. Our plan is to not let him get past the line of scrimmage because if he does, it is trouble for us.”

The Knights and Hawks know each other well. They scrimmage each other, playing 7-on-7 every year.

UHS head coach John Kelley said his team fully expects that Preston will come out and play its best game, especially after playing the Hawks well during a preseason scrimmage.

“They gave us a lot of problems when we scrimmaged them,” Kelley said. “(Blake) Miller blew us up by blitzing and disrupted everything we were trying to do. They are moving Holt around to wide receiver and running back too, and he’s a terrific athlete. They are dangerous. A 1-6 team always is. They’ve lost a lot of very close games. Their 1-6 is very deceiving because they could probably be .500.

“We have an idea of what they will do, so we will be prepared,” Kelley said. “We scouted them more than before the scrimmage. I think we are playing very good right now. We had that lull after the Fairmont Senior game where we didn’t have the energy. But now, we are rolling.”

Kickoff at Preston is at 7 p.m. Oct. 20.

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