PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg Purple Dragons host the Labette County Grizzlies on Friday night, aiming for their first win under head coach Josh Lattimer.
The Purple Dragons and Grizzlies are both 0-2 heading into Friday’s matchup.
Pittsburg is an independent program, and is no longer part of the SEK league – but these old league rivalry games against teams like Chanute, Fort Scott and Labette County still mean something to the Purple Dragons.
“They always are going to mean something,” says Pittsburg head coach Josh Lattimer, “This is southeast Kansas. You can having bragging rights on who beats who and all that. You have to give everybody your best shot anyway. Paper doesn’t win you games. Going out and actually playing, and executing alignment, assignment and execution wins you games.”
“Those are my favorite games for us. Those games are still important, regardless of our status as an independent team,” says Pittsburg junior RB/LB Wyatt Rink, “Those old SEK rivalries still mean a lot. We just have to show that we’re on top of the SEK as always.”
“Everybody always wants to give the Dragons their best,” Lattimer adds, “They’re going to come out and give us their best shot. We have to be prepared for that and ready to go.”
The Purple Dragons’ two losses have been an overtime loss to Emporia in week one, and a 28-13 loss to another former SEK rival Chanute last week.
While 0-2 isn’t where they wanted to be after two weeks – those first two games have been learning experiences for a younger Pittsburg roster.
“We knew the first two games were going to be a little bit rough and they were going to be tougher games,” Rink says, “We tried to keep our heads on straight. That was our biggest thing in those two games was just keeping our heads on straight, and just worrying about the next game after that first loss.”
“The energy they have…we’re making mistakes, but we’re going 100 miles per hour,” Lattimer says, “You want that. Not that you want mistakes, but at least they’re playing hard. All the mistakes that we’ve made are very, very correctable.”
Friday night’s game begins at 7 PM in Pittsburg. You can check out highlights Friday night on KOAM at 10 PM and FOX 14 at 11 PM.
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