POCA, W.Va. -- Heavy rains on Wednesday forced the Poca football team to take its practice indoors and into the field house.
Once there, the Dots lifted weights and did situational walkthroughs and perhaps those simulations will pay bigger dividends than tackling drills or wind sprints.
Coach Bob Lemley said his team is talented enough to be successful, but what a lot of the promising young Dots don't have is game-time experience.
"We've got a lot of new faces and I think some of them are decent athletes, but we've got to get a lot of repetition and they've got to improve every day," Lemley said. "Maybe I'm impatient, but they need to improve quicker. We scrimmaged last week against Chapmanville, which is a good team, and we made a ton of mistakes, but I think they can be corrected - a lot of them."
Lemley thought he would at least have a seasoned quarterback coming into the season in senior two-year starter Jake Payne.
But Payne suffered a back injury in baseball season and chose not to play, creating another hole in the Dots' lineup for a newcomer to fill.
"I've not talked to Jake, he didn't come talk to me or anything like that," Lemley said. "It's tough, he played quarterback for us as a sophomore and as a junior. In my way of thinking, this was going to be his best year. He's been through it, he's got a lot of experience, and he would have been a natural leader. We just had to go in another direction."
That direction ended up being junior Justin Stewart, who didn't play football last season as a sophomore and had never played quarterback a day in his life.
However, he's not a complete stranger to the Poca gridiron as he was a tailback two years ago as a freshman.
Stewart also has a natural connection with his backfield mates, one of whom is his is brother, senior running back Kenny Stewart.
He believes those relationships will help him adjust more quickly.
"I've played with all these guys in the backfield since I was little," Stewart said. "We've got good communication - some of them are my best friends. We go good together."
Lemley also has faith in his new signal caller, but admits there are plenty of things for him to improve on.