Last chance|Carter, Ard, Gabler believe Raiders can find a way to the postseason

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pine seniors Demoreo Carter, Trent Ard and Eddie Gabler understand that if the Raiders are to get into the postseason it starts with working hard to set an example for younger players.

“I think we have the pieces in place to try and make a run to get into the playoffs,” Pine first-year coach Bradley Seal said. “We just have to take it one game at a time but I think the talent is here. It is just about going out and executing.”

Pine was 2-8 overall last season under Chris Fussell winning their first district game in over three seasons to go 1-4 in District 8-2A play. The last time the Raiders made the postseason was 2006 when they fell to national power John Curtis in the first round.

Seal takes over the reigns after serving as an assistant at Bowling Green, Franklinton and Pine.

“It is a great opportunity,” Seal said. “I got to be an offensive coordinator early on and saw things from a different set of eyes. The one thing I wasn’t sure about coming in was these kids’ work ethic being they haven’t won a lot in the past but they are doing all the right things.”

Carter returns at wide receiver, running back and cornerback after developing into a solid play maker. Ard, a hard hitter, returns at offensive tackle and moves from the front to linebacker. Gabler is back at center and the defensive line.

“I am their third coach in four years but this is one of the best groups of classes I have ever been around,” Seal said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more out of them. They have been working hard and deserve to win.”

The trio are part of a strong senior class of 14 that includes Adaryle Bickham, Tevin Causey, Curtis Hart, Brad Ladner, Tyran Holmes, Tanner Graham, Bobby Kelly and Peyton Luper.

“You have to come out everyday and push them to give everything they have,” Gabler said. “This is our last chance and it is all about now. The school is behind us, so we just have to come out this year and give them what they came to see.”

“You can talk all you want to but if you don’t put forth the effort, no one is going to listen to you,” Ard said. “You have to go as hard as you can and do all you can to win some games to bring the morale up.”

“I feel like we have a good team and if they see how hard we work, they should do the same thing,” Carter said. ‘They are interested in listening and need good leaders.”

Football and family means a lot to the trio. Their inspirations include Gabler’s father, Eddie, Carter’s mother, Janice and Ard’s late grandmother Jena.

“Football is everything,” Gabler said. “That is where you learn how to be a man. You start off following and then show everybody else how to do it. My daddy told me if you are going to start something, you have to finish it no matter how hard it is.”

“Football teaches you leadership skills for the outside world,” Carter said. “My mom is raising a family of five and she has been both mom and dad all my life. She is strong and stood by our side never giving up on us and always makes a way.”

“You got to have heart to play football,” Ard said. “My grandma passed away several months ago but she never quit. She was always uplifting and happy. She did that for us and that gives me inspiration out here. When times are down, don’t think about it.”

A return to the postseason would be a major statement for the Raider program this year.

“We just want to give it all we got and show everyone what we are capable of,” Carter said.

“Our main goal is to go to the playoffs but more important than that is showing these younger kids what they can accomplish if they put themselves through it,” Gabler said.

“We haven’t been to the playoffs since I was in junior high,” Ard said. “We are just going to work hard and do everything we can to get there.”