Our next Gridiron Football Media Day preview focuses on the Pine High School Raiders led by veteran head coach Bradley Seal. Year in and year out, Coach Seal has led a consistent, playoff caliber football program. Entering his 12th season as the head coach, Seal has posted a 61-54 record guiding the program to 10 consecutive playoff seasons.
“I can’t say enough about what they do and what they mean to me. That goes a long way in the success of a football team that we’ve had over the years. We have some hard working kids that care about football. No matter what style of offense we run, the kids can adapt as long as they are bought in. That’s where it starts because we have a lot of kids that love football.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
Heading into the 2023 season, the Raiders hope to get off to a fast start like they did in the first seven games of the season in 2022 winning its first six including an upset victory over Amite, but stumbled in the final stretch to a 6-4 record. With 15 total starters returning back for the upcoming season, the expectations are high for the Raiders to have a complete season from start to finish.
“I thought we had a pretty good offseason. I like what we did in the spring and in the summer. We are not where we want to be, but I like where we are at. We got a lot returning, and I think that if we show up game by game and take it one game at a time, I think we will have a solid season.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
Three of those guys that will be leading the way for the Raiders all have been working hard this offseason and have showed out to our Gridiron Football Elite Camps in the spring.
Offensively, the team will run the Wing T offense as two of the three players that came to the Gridiron Football Media Day will be sharing carries in James Owens and Aiden McIntosh. The duo of Owens and McIntosh compliment each other as Owens brings the speed and McIntosh brings the power.
Owens earned an invitation to play in the Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game at the end of the season based on his incredible camp performance at Rayville High School in Rayville, Louisiana with a 10’2″ broad jump. Owens can play multiple positions and is coming off a good junior campaign in which he accounted for close to 900 total yards and seven touchdowns.
Meanwhile, McIntosh brings the power at over 200 pounds, but he also possesses good hands coming out of the backfield as a veteran All-District playmaker. Whether it is Owens or McIntosh, Coach Seal knows that the football will be in good hands.
“James is more of a big play guy. He’s got great speed. He’s explosive and Aiden is a big 200 plus pound back. It is going to be a challenge for teams to tackle him all night, but the key to both of those guys is how well they block for one another.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
The third player that came to our inaugural media day event is the guy that is going to help open up holes for the wingback duo in Tre’ Magee. Physically, Magee looks the part at 6’4, 245 pounds, but he is also versatile too. Last season, he stood out defensively playing both defensive end and defensive tackle, but he will also contribute on offense as a two way player at guard too. The three seniors set the tone for the entire team.
“First and foremost, those three guys are excellent human beings. That is the kind of people that you want to be around. It makes the job enjoyable and also, those guys really love the game of football so they are the leaders as far as getting everybody on the right path. They are all great football players and started a long time for us. We are excited about what they are going to do this year.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
Just when the run game is going to be tough enough to stop, they have another offensive lineman that is going to be bulldozing defensive linemen and clearing paths in rising junior Jackson Jones, who at 6’7, 295 pounds, has already received offers from Tulane, Louisiana Tech, TCU, Ole Miss, Baylor, and Kansas State, but the Raiders can throw the football if needed as they return four year starting quarterback Luke Spears along with a couple of veteran receivers in Preston Stogner and DJ Garrett along with talented tight end Zach Thomas.
“We return all of our skill guys. Every skill guy is back. We are replacing a couple of offensive linemen, but it is going to be a seamless transition. This year, when we get to scrimmage time, I hope that we are in midseason form on offense.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
On the other side of the football, Ethan Ryals is the quarterback of the defense at linebacker and the secondary returns quite a lot of experience with guys like Thomas Bernard, Garrett, and Owens leading the backend.
“We return three of the four starters in the secondary. We feel like that is a strength and then at linebacker, we feel that we have five guys that are capable of starting. We have to figure out what each of their roles are going to be and the one thing that we need to do is is develop some depth on the defensive line because we do have some guys going both ways. That’s the thing that we want to look at in the spring and the jamboree.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
For the schedule this upcoming season, the Raiders open with back to back home games against Varnado and Independence, a road game against Pearl River, and home games against Livingston Collegiate and East Iberville before opening district play against the likes of Albany, Amite, Jewel Sumner, Bogalusa, and West St. John.
“Independence has a new coach and they are putting some energy over there. They are going to have a solid season and that is a team to take your eye on as far as how much they improve. Then, we go to Pearl River. They always got good running backs, and they are always tough. Livingston had a strong year last year going 9-3. That is going to be a tough game for us early on.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
Pine has consistently been a playoff team, but for Coach Seal, that is not good enough. He along with the rest of the team want to not only make the playoffs, but also to make a big postseason run at the end of the season.
“Last year, we got beat in the first round on a last second field goal which came up a yard short against Westlake. We lost a heartbreaker to East Feliciana two years ago when they had the big wide receiver. It was a back and forth game. They beat us at the end. We got to get there first, but we want to win playoff games. That is something we don’t harp on, but in the back of our minds, we feel that we are good enough of a program that we shouldn’t go a couple of years without winning a playoff game.”
“This season should be an exciting season and we are looking forward to everybody checking us out.”Pine Head Coach Bradley Seal
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