After two weeks of spring drills, Pine Tree head football coach Kerry Lane still has “Help Wanted” signs hanging in the locker room.

The good news: The Pirates still have eight workouts and a spring game to fill those positions.

Pine Tree has held eight practices so far, and will return to the field on Tuesday. The team will work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week, with workouts scheduled on various days through May 12.

The annual spring game is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 13.

“The thing I like most so far is the eagerness to learn and get better,” said Lane, who led the Pirates to one of the most successful campaigns in school history in 2020.

“We’ve got a lot of open jobs and a lot of kids excited about getting on the field and trying to earn those jobs. The energy has been good almost every day. We’re really getting after it in the live sessions.”

But, there’s still work to do.

“We’ve got to get better. I told the kids today (Friday) we’ve only got about a full week left, and we need a sense of urgency. We’re looking for starters at several places.”

Lane said linebacker Dallas Dixon, defensive back Jeremiah Blinks and linebacker Tyrese Jones have done solid work on defense this spring, and running back Devonte Davis and receiver Jonathan Fuller have had good moments on the offensive side.

“Dallas is a leader on defense,” Lane said of Dixon, a three-year starter who has recorded 153 tackles, 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss the past two seasons. “He’s doing a good job pushing the pace and leading. On offense, several guys have played well. We’re really young over there, but we’ve had some guys make some plays. Devonte Davis has been physical and has run hard.”

Lane said other than the usual goal of staying healthy, his biggest hope is for the Pirates to have probable starters lined up on both sides of the ball when the spring session ends.

“What would make me the happiest is if we have 22 starters penciled in,” he said. “I know that’s always the goal, but we need for some kids to step up and win a job. We’ve got good competition at spots, but it’s that old saying that if you have two, you really don’t have one.”

NOTES: The Pirates 2021 schedule will feature a scrimmage at home against Gilmer on Aug. 19, followed by back-to-back home games to open the season on Aug. 27 against Liberty-Eylau and Sept. 3 against Lindale. A trip to Kilgore on Sept. 10 will end the non-district schedule, and after an open date on Sept. 17, PT will host Marshall on Sept. 24, visit Nacogdoches on Oct. 1 and Jacksonville on Oct. 8, host Texas High on Oct. 15, visit Whitehouse on Oct. 22, host Mount Pleasant for homecoming on Oct. 29 and close the regular season at Hallsville on Nov. 5.

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Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports

Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.