Herald Leader / Eagle Observer Football Preview


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"We've got to crank his motor and go," he said. Junior Kerlose Ruzek will also play some of the defensive line, but he's needed most on offense. "He should be starting there on de- fense," Ernest said. Juniors Austin Williamson, Brett Hester and Kyle Dilbeck also could play some on the defensive line, Ernest said. The Pioneers will play four lineback- ers with seniors Peyton Wright and Devin Ellis manning the inside spots. "Both are kids that run pretty well," Ernest said. Wright has been a three-year starter for the Pioneers in the secondary and is making the move up to linebacker. He's also one of Gentry's top offensive players at wide receiver. "He's just a kid that enjoys football," Ernest said. "He's really shown us something moving to the linebacker spot. He flies to the ball. He's physical. It helps he's over 200 pounds and runs like he can. He plays the game right. He's going to be fun to watch there." Ellis, a two-year starter at inside line- backer, is the "gap plugger" according to his coach, while Wright operates more sideline to sideline. "(Ellis is) the guy we expect to handle the inside runs," Ernest said. "They're a good combination there together." Junior Jose Barrios and sophomore Brennan Crosby are backing up at in- side linebacker. The Pioneers are excited to get se- nior Hunter Butler back at outside linebacker. Butler started for Gentry through the Greenland game when he dislocated his elbow. He missed several games before returning for the regular season finale against Gravette and the playoff game at Batesville Southside. "Butler is a senior who's a smart, undersized kid and plays good with his hands," Ernest said. Senior Dylan Rayburn manned a corner position last year, but the Pioneers are hoping he can move up in the formation to help at outside linebacker. "He's pretty physical and likes to be on the run," Ernest said of Rayburn. Sophomore Seiren Reding has been a pleasant surprise for the Pioneers on defense and also is competing for playing time at outside linebacker. Junior Azariah Wood and senior Jamon Mathias also are competing at outside linebacker. In the secondary, senior Rowdy Trammell wound up starting for the Pioneers at cornerback about midway through last season. He returns at one corner while the other corner was a "wide open battle" going into fall camp between senior Ayden Smartt and Gavin Taylor and juniors Ben Philpott, Beau Tomblin. "All those guys are competing for that next corner spot," Ernest said. Junior Charlie Reams leads a group of athletes competing at free safety, which include junior Brandon Atwood and sophomore Zach Jarnigan, who are also playing quarterback on of- fense. Ernest said several of the players competing at cornerback also can play free safety as well. The Pioneers have made some changes offensively, scheme-wise, though Ernest said to the casual ob- server the changes might not be very noticeable. Gentry is shifting to an unbalanced spread formation look that incorpo- rates a lot of single wing concepts. "For the most part you'll see the same plays as last year with more un- balanced sets and more fullback and power runs," Ernest said. Atwood is slated to take over as start- er at the position, but Jarnigan also will play back there some. "Atwood is the starter but we will play both of them," Ernest said. Ernest said Atwood is "just one of those kids that makes coaching fun." "He shows up, he's a good leader," Ernest said. "He's a tailback with a quarterback's arm and a quarterback's mind." Jarnigan, meanwhile, runs the ball better than he throws it and hurts de- fenses with his sneaky-like quickness. The Pioneers will have two backs — a fullback and a running back — in the backfield with the quarterback. Hays and Butler will rotate at the fullback spot since both are starters on defense. "We'll give them their rest on of- fense," Ernest said. Four players are working at tailback and the Pioneers "feel good about all four of them," Ernest said. Ellis rushed for 274 yards last season, while Reams was the junior varsity tail- back last year. Taylor and Crosby also work at tailback, though Ernest said don't be surprised to see one move to tight end or wide receiver before it's all said and done. The Pioneers will throw the ball Have a great year all local teams! Gentry Veterinary Clinic Desirae Self, DVM (479) 736-2354 21499 W. Hwy 12 Gentry, AR Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm Everyone have a good year! from the Dental Offi ce of Alan L. Lamb, D.D.S. Scott Stubbs, D.D.S. 1102 Jackson St. • Gravette • 479-787-5256 Main St. • Gentry • 479-736-2800 2018 Football Preview The Herald-Leader/Westside Eagle Observer Wednesday, August 22, 2018 n 13 GENTRY Continued from Page 12 H e's just a kid that enjoys football. He's really shown us something moving to the linebacker spot. He flies to the ball. He's physical. It helps he's over 200 pounds and runs like he can. He plays the game right. He's going to be fun to watch there. Paul Ernest Gentry head coach on senior WR/DB Peyton Wright See GENTRY on Page 14

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