Pirates, Hicklin keep it simple

Porter Ridge sophomore quarterback Isaiah Hicklin had another solid outing in last week’s 69-0 win over Watauga. Hicklin completed seven of his 11 passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns while adding 57 yards rushing and another score on the ground.

“Facing our defense each day has really helped his confidence, and keeping a simple gameplan (has helped him) just go out there and have fun and manage the game,” said Pirates coach Blair Hardin.

Putting together a simple gameplan has been a point Hardin has repeated for much of the past two seasons as the Pirates have put together one of the best two-year stretches in the state. But while it sounds a bit like a cliché, Hardin said the approach pays dividends.

“(Especially when you’re working with) 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds, no question,” said Hardin.

Hardin pointed to traditional power Charlotte Catholic as an example. The Cougars haven’t deviated from their Double-Wing-T offense in decades, yet they remain a yearly contender for state titles.

“You know what (the Cougars are) going to do, but they do it better than anybody,” said Hardin. “At this level, I think you need to execute what you do well. When you keep things simple, your kids usually have confidence.

“Going into this second-round game against a good (Asheville) Reynolds team, you want to have some confidence.”

So far, Hardin has had no reason to change the approach.

“As long as we’re putting up points and playing good defense, we’re going to continue doing that,” said Hardin.

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