CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The lightning storm in Lewisburg on Aug. 24, 2012 only delayed the inevitable.
That night - the opening Friday to the 2012 high school football season - was planned to be the unveiling of Capital's two-pronged quarterback attack featuring Carrington Morris and highly touted, but raw and inexperienced, freshman Tyrhee Pratt.
Morris didn't make the trip to Greenbrier County, and Pratt was thrust into the starting role earlier than expected. It resulted in a weather-delayed but wholly electric 42-21 premier victory over Greenbrier East for the Cougars, who went on to a 7-4 record powered by an extraordinarily young lineup.
Pratt, at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, has never left the starting lineup.
"It was kind of tough. I was kind of young and for my first experience in high school as a ninth-grader," the 15-year-old Pratt said.
"But it was a good challenge, though, and my team helped me out."
Pratt finished his rookie season by completing 93-of-181 passes for 1,451 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He was named the 2012 Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year and later named to the MaxPreps.com All-Freshman team, which considered all ninth graders across the country.
He enters his sophomore year as one of two quarterbacks on the Daily Mail Preseason All-State Team, along with Hurricane senior Austin Hensley.
Expectations have been somewhat synonymous with Capital High School beginning with the school's opening in 1989 as a consolidation of Charleston and Stonewall Jackson high schools. After winning three Class AAA state championships in its first seven years of existence, however, Capital has fallen into the realm of also-rans in the past decade.
The Cougars are a respectable 83-59 since 2000, but have not reached the playoff semifinals since 1999. Fourth-year Coach Jon Carpenter said Pratt is at the core of a group designed to "Wake Up the Echoes," so to speak.