“Making the postseason was a highlight for us,” said Mt. Pisgah head coach Mike Forrester, who is entering his first year at the helm after serving as the defensive coordinator last season. “We played well in the playoff game but it was a tough loss and it will give us momentum and confidence coming into this season.”
Junior Aaron Winchester returns as the starting quarterback after passing for 14 touchdowns along with a team-high seven scores on the ground. The top returning rusher outside of Winchester is junior running back Oz Dixon, who ran for a robust 8.7 yards per carry last season for the Patriots. Senior Tommy Pease looks to be the main throwing target on offense. Senior offensive linemen Jimmy Campbell and Justin Cowart will provide protection up front.
Senior defensive back Jacob Delk led the Patriots in tackles (79) and interceptions (6) last season and will provide leadership in the secondary along with fellow senior Patrick Messinger. Junior defensive lineman Shingirai Chigwere leads the Patriot’s pass rush and looks to build on his team-high three sacks last season. “Shingirai is going to be our strong force inside and he can really run,” Forrester said. Junior Jack O’Connor is expected to make a major contribution at linebacker.
On special teams, Delk will handle punting duties. He averaged more than 33 yards per attempt and was complimented by the coaching staff on his directional punting abilities. Sophomore Chase Clark goes into the season as the top placekicker for the Patriots.
“The growth of the program has been good and coach Doug Dixon did a great job of building this up,” said Forester. “We feel good about our future and focusing on the work ethic we have as a program. We realize the importance of every day and the one thing you can control is the way you play the game with toughness, intensity and discipline.”