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Off and 'running': Patriots busy preparing for uncertain season

Bill Althaus
Truman football head coach Charlie Pugh, center, works with a pair of players, including senior quarterback Quincy Scott, right, during drills in practice Wednesday morning on the high school's field.

Charlie Pugh is a teacher, a philosopher, a mentor and a leader of men as the head football coach at Truman High School.

He ended a spirited practice session early Wednesday morning with some words of advice for his Patriots team.

He talked about the importance of “running.”

Running to and from the sidelines between plays.

Running a play to perfection.

And in the case of a young gazelle, running for your life.

Pugh painted a vivid picture as he talked about a lion, who must outrun a gazelle, or go hungry.

He then flipped sides to talk about the young gazelle, who must outrun the lion to keep from being its midday meal.

“What I’m talking about is running,” Pugh said. “Run to the sidelines, don’t walk. … Are you the lion or the gazelle? Running – remember that! Get to work. Work hard, and take that philosophy into your life.”

As he wrapped up the practice, players were smiling, high-fiving and ready to take that philosophy off the field.

“I’m the lion,” senior linebacker Jason Boatright said, still pumped from his coach’s post-practice parable. “And you’re the gazelle.”

He was pointing to a swift and sleek Quincy Scott, the Patriots’ senior quarterback.

“You’re not catching me,” joked Scott, already taking what Pugh had talked about to heart.

It was an emotional day of practice for the Patriots as on Tuesday, the Big Ten and Pac 12 college football conferences announced they would not play in the fall.

That was followed by the Kansas City, Kansas, school district deciding it would have no prep sports in the upcoming fall season.

“I heard all that and thought, ‘That has to be fake,’” Scott said, “but it’s not. It’s real, but it’s not going to keep us from working hard and being ready for the season. And if we don’t play, we’re still better men because Coach Pugh has taught us the value of hard work – and running.”

The Patriots, who finished 1-9 last season, are scheduled to open their season on Aug. 28 at home against Grandview, but no one is sure now if that will be played.

“The only things we can control are how hard we work and how much we want to put into practice, and Coach Pugh has us working hard!” Boatright said. “Quincy and I are seniors – this is it for us – and we both want to have solid seasons to help us play football at the next level. If it happens, great, if it doesn’t, well, we can’t control that.

“So we’re just going to keep on running hard, practicing hard and getting better every day.”

Truman High School football players work on blocking techniques during practice Wednesday morning.