Herald Leader / Eagle Observer Football Preview

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GENTRY — Gentry enjoyed its best season under coach Paul Ernest in 2017, winning five games and going to the Class 4A playoffs. Ernest, going into his fourth season at the helm of the Pioneers, hopes his team can use the successful 2017 season to springboard into another solid 2018 campaign. "Going into the offseason our kids got a taste of the playoffs," Ernest said. "Around here offseason consists of basketball, baseball or soccer and then summer. They don't get a year-round offseason. When spring football came around we had good participation. Our numbers are low, but it's the same group of kids that have been putting in work since May." The Pioneers are going into the sea- son with around 26 players and will have to replace several key contribu- tors from last season, including their quarterback and a significant portion of the offensive and defensive lines. Defensively, Gentry had a wake-up call in Week 3 last year in a 76-71 loss at Greenland after starting the season 2-0. "Last year we made some changes after the Greenland game that were necessary from the nonconference schedule," Ernest said. "We had a false sense of how good we were." Ernest said the Pioneers were trying to play with a 3-4 formation with a lot of blitzing, but they didn't have the speed to defend the edge. "Now we're trying to squeeze every- thing inside to the linebackers instead of funneling outside," he said. Ernest said Gentry will move to a 4-4 formation, but at times the Pioneers could show a 3-4 look or even 3-3. The Pioneers only return one starter up front in senior Garrett Hays, who also has experience playing linebacker. "Hays is a kid that's been a three- year starter for us at linebacker and on the defensive line," Ernest said. "This year that experience will allow him to play with his hand down on the ground as a defensive tackle and standing up like a linebacker." Joining Hays on the defensive line is junior Ross Wilmoth, sophomore Abran Still and senior Dylan Kilgore. Wilmoth will play a defensive end spot and was solid for the Pioneers in junior high two years ago but didn't get to play a lot last year. Ernest said Kilgore's development on the defensive line will be extremely important. "Kilgore is an offensive-minded kid, but he's got to come around for us on the D-line," Ernest said. Still is a big kid who also plays bas- ketball and can move, Ernest said. Good Luck Pioneers! Come get your eats here! 140 W Main Street, Gentry, AR 7 days a week | 9-7 Mon thru Fri | 9-5 Sat & Sun Backyard Sales Locally Owned & Operated TDS Portable Buildings….and More! Portable Buildings & Carports FREE DELIVERY & SET UP! NO CREDIT CHECK! Siloam Springs 479-238-0326 • Gentry 479-525-6089 tdsbuildingsales.com TD "Your Hometown Drug Store" 479-736-2241 Hwy 12 East • Open M-F 9-6 p.m. & Sat 9-1 • Since 1980 479-736-2695 • Free Delivery in Gentry • Drive Thru One of a Kind Locally Made Gift Items ADAMS TRUSS, INC. 12425 Collins Rd. (Hwy. 59) Gentry, AR 72734 (479) 736-8581 (800) 228-9221 www.adamstruss.com Quality at a Competitive Price FREE Customized Materials Bid 24' - 60' Spans in Stock Complete Technical Support from Adams Truss 2018 Football Preview 12 n Wednesday, August 22, 2018 The Herald-Leader/Westside Eagle Observer Brandon Atwood Charlie Reams Garrett Hays Kerlose Ruzek Devon Ellis Dylan Kilgore Peyton Wright Rowdy Trammell Paul Ernest Head coach Pioneers hope to build off successful season n Gentry enters its fourth season under coach Paul Ernest. By Graham Thomas Staff Writer n gthomas@nwadg.com See GENTRY on Page 13 2018 Gentry Pioneers

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