New Coach set to lead Prattville ChristianPublished 9:35am Wednesday, July 31, 2013
There will be a new but familiar face leading the Prattville Christian Panthers into their second season in the AHSAA.
Sam Peak will coach the Panthers after a sudden and unexpected leave of absence taken by then-coach Doug Prater Tuesday morning.
“It’s something that was totally unexpected,” said Peak, who also serves as the school’s athletic director and coaches PCA’s junior high program. “Coach Prater has dealt with a lot of different things. But there’s a family illness that requires his attention and his full time.”
PCA President Ron Mitchell echoed Peak’s sentiment, “Coach Prater has done an outstanding job moving our football program to the AHSAA. Our prayers are with him and his family as they face some difficult challenges.”
Peak said he will coach the team this year and this year only.
“I did not volunteer,” said Peak. “But, at the same time, we didn’t want to rush a resume through or promote from within and put some young coach in a tough situation to start with.”
Prater’s first full season with the Panthers was 2012 as the school transitioned from the largest classification within the Alabama Indepdendent School Association to the AHSAA’s Class 2A.
“The biggest thing is that we aren’t going to give up on these kids,” said Peak. “I don’t want them to feel like they are taking a backseat because of circumstances beyond any of our control.”
The Panthers, who finished their first forray into the AHSAA at 2-8, are gearing up for a second run and have been working their spread passing game against larger schools Holtville, Wetumpka and Alabama Christian in 7-on-7 and team camps.
“Our kids have accepted the challenge,” said Peak. “Our thing is to keep them on the same level and keep them focused and doing what they need to do to be successful. We know we have Montgomery Academy second game. We know we have Isabella and LaFayette and Reeltown. We’ve got Lanett, which four years ago was a 4A school. We knew that 2A was going to be competitive.”
Peak, who coached the Panthers during the AISA days, said he’s going to lean on his coordinators this season.
Chris Mason will call the offense and Jerry Green will call the defense.
“(About Mason) What better person to call them,” said Peak. “We’ll meet as a staff and look at what we need to do from week to week. If we need to shorten the game and run the football we will. If we can spread it out and throw it will. We plan on taking what the defense gives us. (Green) has been associated with state championship programs in South Alabama. And he brings a world of expertise to that side of the ball and to the program.”
For Peak this will be a transition season while the school searches for a new coach.
“I’m looking for a man that can lead you men in a Christian manner,” Peak said. “I’m looking for someone that will demand excellence and not be afraid to step out and compete against the world.”
The school will establish a search committee to find Prater’s replacement for the 2014 season.
“We are going to hire the best gentleman for the job,” said Peak. “Whether it be old, middle-aged or young. We are looking for the person that best fits Prattville Christian.”