Anybody who has tried their hand at predicting the results of anything knows that occasionally, you will "drink the Kool-Aid," so to speak.
It's part of the landscape of predicting and we've all been a part of a contest one way or another when you predict what will happen.
I know I have been accused of drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid over the course of nearly 35 years of doing this.
It's no secret that there are a lot of positive vibes coming out of the Wyoming East football camp. Larry Thompson, a young, enthusiastic coach, who guided Mount View from the cellar to a spot in the Class A quarterfinals last season, has taken over the program. Immediately, several athletes in the school, who had not played before, decided to go out for the team.
Add the fact that the team returns a quarterback who has thrown for over 2,000 yards in his career, a receiver with close to 1,000 career receiving yards, a running back who broke out with 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with a line that returns intact, and you have the making of a good team. Stir in Thomson and the added athletes, and people are talking playoffs around these parts for the first time since 2014.
Funny thing about preseason enthusiasm. It's great until the hitting starts. It also doesn't take into account which way a team goes after encountering turbulence.
Does it nose dive? Does it cut through the chaos?
It also does not take into account what other teams have returning. Let's remember that the last time we saw the Warriors they were getting shellacked by Liberty 30-0 in the season finale team that had not won a game.
Read into that what you want, but it's like the scene in the "Lion King," when Rafiki hits Simba in the head with his staff. "What was that for?" Simba asks his friend. "It doesn't matter, it's in the past," Rafiki answers.
Indeed, anything that has happened in the past to this team really pays no dividend moving forward.
So, drink the Kool-Aid. Don't drink the Kool-Aid?
I'm gad this isn't Jonestown because I am drinking it.
For all the reasons above. And because Wyoming East returns more than most of its opponents.
The Warriors open with a bye, not generally what any coach wants. But, it also gives the Warriors an extra week of practice with Thompson.
The opener is the annual battle with county foe, Westside on Sept. 6.
The Renegades have been down, and won't have the bodies to match what Wyoming East has. If Westside can keep it close going into the fourth quarter, it will be interesting. Ironic the first game in the Larry Thompson era is against the rival. Remember it took a late pass from Ross to Bishop to beat Westside two seasons ago at East in a game most thought Westside would win.
On Sept. 13, the Warriors go on the road for the first time under Thompson to face a playoff veteran Nicholas County team. The Grizzlies lose multi-season 1,000-yard rusher Jacob O'Dell and 1,000-yard passer Jared Sagraves. They do return a great defense, and have a speedy receiver in Luke LeRose, better known for his basketball skills. This will be a test for the Warriors on the turf at Summersville's War Memorial Stadium.
The Warriors are at Oak Hill Sept 20. The Red Devils were a playoff team but lost quarterback Khori Bass (1,000 yard passer and rusher) and Abe Farrow, who nearly turned the rare 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. With them, they lost most of their offense and a few key lineman.
The rest of the season the Warriors will alternate home and away.
A football team with a great pedigree, James Monroe rolls into New Richmond on Sept. 27. They lost young standout Ryker Brown, who transferred to Bluefield, but ball-hawking Monroe Mohler, a defensive back/athlete is back and the Mavericks are never a pushover.
On Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 the Warriors will be at River View and Man.
But right between that game sit Shady Spring, which did lose some outstanding players but, they return speedster Isaiah Valentine, who was hampered by injuries last year, and two intimidating linebackers in Haven and Dane Chapman and quarterback Drew Clark. That is key game No. 2.
On Oct. 25 there will be a homecoming of sorts, PikeView coach Jason Spears is a Wyoming East alum, and played on the 1999 state championship team. PikeView lost the franchise in Evan Rose, but like Thompson, Spears brings youthful enthusiasm to the job.
Independence waits in Coal City Nov. 1. This is key game No. 3. The Patriots beat Wyoming East at New Richmond last year. The Patriots lost 1,000-yard rusher Niko Burgess but quarterback Phil Spurlock is back with a few weapons. And longtime area coach John H. Lilly, like Thompson a firm believer in the weights, has had his kids in his weight program for over a year after taking the job last season. Both these teams could be vying for a playoff spot.
Liberty ends the season at New Richmond Nov. 8.
I'll drink that Kool-Aid (hopefully grape, that lemonade kind is disgusting) and say 8-2 and playoff berth for the Warriors.
Email Independent Herald reporter Dave Morrison at email@example.com.