Prep football: Capital's senior Pratt comes of age
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When opposing defenses game plan against the high-octane Capital offense, most teams have the last name of Pratt heavily emphasized.
But, it's not all about sophomore quarterback Tyhree Pratt, who is beginning to share the spotlight with senior wide receiver and brother Cliffaun.
Cliffaun Pratt is the leading pass-catcher on a Capital team loaded with offensive playmakers, making him just as well known as his brother.
They'll certainly get the attention of Woodrow Wilson (3-3) this week when the Cougars (5-1) and Flying Eagles meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at University of Charleston Stadium.
The Pratts continue to serve notice on the opposition, including Cabell Midland, which dropped a 35-26 decision to the Cougars last Friday night, dropping the Knights from No. 7 to No. 10 in the Secondary School Activities Commission playoff ratings.
"Everybody talks about us," Tyrhee said. "It's the Pratt brothers at Capital. It feels really good. I have someone I know is here with me all the time. He helps the offense out a lot. He's the main receiver. He's really good."
While Cliff may not get as much attention as the flashy Tyrhee, Capital Coach Jon Carpenter couldn't be happier with the production he has gotten out of his receiver.
"Cliff is really good," said Carpenter, whose Cougars enter Friday's game No. 5 in the ratings. "He has started four years for us. He is really dangerous. He is having a very good year and has a huge role for us. We think he is one of the better receivers around here."
Cliff Pratt has caught 14 passes for 279 yards (20 yards per catch). With his three touchdowns, he has hauled in half of Tyrhee's six scores.
"It's a blessing to have each other," Cliff Pratt said. "It's been a great opportunity for us both. I'm very excited and proud for Tyrhee. To be so young and only in 10th grade, that's God-given talent.
For him to be my brother is great, too."
Carpenter likes having plenty of talent, including the Pratts, Kashuan Haley, Silas Nazario and James Richmond, although he realizes there are potential pitfalls.
"It's good to have so many weapons but if you turn them on yourselves, it's not good," Carpenter said. "We are getting out of that, though. If we can have them pointing at the other team, it's really good."
Carpenter knows with so many offensive mouths to feed, Cliff Pratt would receive more statewide attention on a less-talented team, but is glad the senior has stuck things out.
"A lot of those years we couldn't get him the ball," Carpenter said. "He stuck with it and is reaping the benefits. He could play at some of these other schools and they would throw the ball to him 40 times. My principal would fire me if I try and embarrass people just for individual stats.
"Cliff is a team guy. He understands our goal is to win a state title. At the end of this, in 20 years you won't remember how many passes you caught or the other stuff people get excited with. You will remember how good a team you had."
Pratt also knows the benefits of playing elsewhere, but is happy he hung around Capital.
"I think about if I would have went to another school I could have had more stats," Pratt said. "But I really love playing with these guys. We have a lot of weapons. It's not a one-person team. Coach (Carpenter) keeps telling us not to be selfish. If we do that, we will get beat."
Cliff Pratt experienced what he called the best play of his career when he hauled in a 44-yard Hail Mary pass from brother Tyhree on the final play of regulation against South Charleston. The Cougars won in overtime, 34-31.
"That felt so great," Cliff Pratt said. "The last 5 seconds, coach told me to keep going. My brother (Tyrhee) looked at me and gave me the nod. He believed in me to go get it, and I was able to get it for us."
"It's like they have ESPN," Carpenter said jokingly, referring to extrasensory perception. "It was huge and made it more special them being brothers. It's kind of neat to see them out there together. They know each other so well and have a feel for one another. They know where to go."
Cliff Pratt said he wants to end his high school career on the highest possible note before shuffling off to play football in college.
"It would be blessing to be able to go out as a senior with my brother and my friends that I have been with since eighth grade," said Pratt, who is receiving mostly interest from schools in the Division II Mountain East Conference. "We want to leave here and go on to college with a ring on our hands."