But even he didn’t expect a start like this.
“We thought we would have a pretty good team, but even I’ve been a little surprised with just how fast we have started on both sides of the ball,” said Pickren, who’s Tigers have been nothing short of dominant in season opening wins at Pinecrest Academy (45-7) and St. Francis (49-0).
“We challenged the kids to set the standard for the season during those first two games and play to the level they were capable of, and so far I think we’ve done that.”
That standard being set is surely making teams in Region 6A and across Class-A take notice.
Through two games King’s Ridge leads all Class-A teams in points scored with 94 and their defense is tied for first in points allowed per game at 3.5.
“Offensively we’ve been really really good,” said Pickren. “The line has done a good job up front, our quarterback has played well, and Tarez Miller and Connor Henderson have been a great backfield combo.”
Miller and Henderson, who alternate between fullback and tailback, combined for 178 yards rushing against St. Francis.
Quarterback Bailey Miller has also been effective through the air, throwing three touchdowns in each of the first two games — including three to Penny Hart in the season opener.
On defense Pickren pointed out Henderson, Seth Beer and Josh Carter as standouts in the front seven while Jordan Harris, Julian Champ and freshman Benaiah Franklin are the strength of a speedy secondary.
“We’ve played two triple option teams and been very sound on that side of the ball. We have a lot of speed and with [upperclassmen] like Julian and Jordan that have started since their freshman years we have been able to shut both teams down.”
The challenge for Pickren’s team will now be maintaining their performance through a tougher schedule — starting with a home tile against Pace Academy this Friday and followed by a matchup against traditional state power Darlington Sept. 21.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done but we also know there isn’t a single team left on our schedule that can’t beat us. It’s going to be a war the next eight weeks and we’re challenging the kids to keep playing at the level they have been,” said the fifth year head coach.
King’s Ridge opens region play Oct. 5 at Mount Paran Christian.