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Chris Hughes

Most Improved 4A Team I've Seen: Porter Ridge

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I knew coming into this season that Porter Ridge would be a better team, but wasn't exactly sure how improved, especially with the offseason coaching change. 


Obviously the Pirates had a few tough hurdles to deal with in previous seasons, but I feel that former head coach, Zach Bevilacqua did the program a solid with his development of some really good looking young athletes that new head coach Mike Hertz has benefited from. 


Coming into this week's game against Olympic, the Pirates (2-1) have played some good football and could easily be undefeated as they took the tough Sun Valley squad down to the wire and made them earn it. 


Sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall, who started some as a Freshman as well has improved a lot and is starting to look more and more like a leader.  At 6-foot-2, I think he'll continue to grow and expand his frame and I feel he'll certainly get a few looks from some big colleges, but he's still young and has a long way to go. 


I also have liked what I've seen from their workhorse, Mason Mills.  I though he looked really good last year as a junior and he's packed on a few pounds and has been able to gain the tough yards rushing for about 109 yards per game. 


I also like Jared VanderVoort who just seems to be an all around leader and someone who can be plugged into about any position and perform well. 


The defensive improvement though is what I think the Pirates are going to be able to hang their hats on moving forward.  Obviously Mike Hertz is one of the better defensive coaches around and I think this scrappy bunch will make some noise in the SW4A. 


I think in the coming years, the sky is the limit and I feel this team could go from 1-10 to 7-4 this season. 

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