39 / 33
      44 / 34
      44 / 33




      Five wins....thirteen defeats.

      If that two year run sounds like a decidedly un-Saukee-like pigskin performance; well, you're not alone in that thinking.

      Ross Green goes in search tonight for quick football fixes to what ails Pittsfield/Griggsville-Perry

      {<}"We averaged 27 points per game last year and only won 3 games so that tells you we struggled on the defensive side of the ball. And we know that that's where we've got to get better, and our kids know that, and the summer they put in was geared towards that,"

      That's the long and short of it for Pittsfield-Griggsville Perry. The consensus is that a 3-6 season last fall was the result of surrendering almost 37 points a night to opponents. Don Bigley's group got to work early to prevent an encore performance.

      "Our workouts in June, we didn't even mess with offense. They were all defensive-oriented, and our juniors who were sophomores last year gave up 1 touchdown in their last 5 games. So they have a little more defensive mentality than what we have had,"

      "This year, we're progressing. We're just going hard this year and getting the motion into it and attitude,"

      "We know, as far as reads for everything, we've got that down. Now we just need to get out there and do it,"

      "We're going to try to stick to one defense this year and really get that defense perfected so we can try to make some stops,"

      For Saukee fans who were accustomed to the offensive combo of Seth Petty and Dillon Butler last year, there's some new faces to learn. But quarterback Wayde Smith is ready to step up with a strong running game at his side.

      "Its definitely some shoes to fill but it all comes with experience. Last year, playing a little bit and getting used to it, got some reps last year, and I learned from Seth,"

      "Last year we probably threw it 14 to 18 times a game, and this year it will probably be 10 or 12 - at least at the beginning. But we don't think that's a detriment, because we think we've got the backs to do that and the offensive line to open up holes to do that,"

      There are definite strengths developing under Don Bigley. Ideally, their defense will allow the offense plenty of chances to up the scoring average. Furthermore, the Saukees hope to be the surprise of the year in the West Central conference.

      "A lot of teams will probably think we're the same as last year, but I don't think so,"

      "Teams are looking at us as 2 people out of the way, but now we can actually play and run our plays. We're going to run the ball a lot and be really strong on the ground,"

      "I don't think a lot of people are going to take us seriously right now, and I just think they need to watch out for us because we're mean and ready to play,"

      "If we can get off to a good start at Illini West, that'll be a big step for us to having a good year. And we've gone 2 years in a row without being in the playoffs and our kids don't like that. We want to be playing in November,"{>}