Herald Leader / Eagle Observer Football Preview

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COLCORD, Okla. — After a winding road that's taken him to several different schools, Austin Martin is back home in Colcord. Martin, a 2006 Colcord graduate and former standout football player, was named the Hornets' head football coach i n M a r c h a f t e r C u r t i s Wa l t m a n resigned after two seasons and a 8-13 record, including a 5-6 mark in 2017. The back-to-back losing seasons interrupted a string of 19 straight winning seasons. Martin was a four-year starter at Colcord under then-coach and current superintendent Bud Simmons from 2002 to 2005, including guiding the Hornets to a 12-1 record in 2005. The Hornets' only loss his senior season came 35-33 at Comanche in the state quarterfinals. Martin played quarterback on offense and safety on defense in his later years and tight end and cornerback as a youngster. "It's good, feels like home," Martin said. "Lot of familiar faces. I've got good support all the way from Bud Simmons, the superintendent, to Terrill Denny, the A.D. Scott Hamby, it's good to get him back. Just the parents and the commu- nity, I think they want to do good in football. They care about the community. They really do care and I think it shows. They want the boys to do well." Martin graduated in the spring of 2006 and went on to spend five seasons, which included a redshirt year, at North- eastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., where he played H-back. After graduating from NSU, Martin spent two seasons as an assistant coach at McDonald County (Mo.) High School and then two years as head coach at Fairland (Okla.). Martin served the last three years as the offensive coordina- tor at Pryor (Okla.) before returning to Colcord. "He was a stud for us — great young man," Simmons said. "No one worked harder. We are blessed to hire him." Martin isn't the only familiar face returning to the Colcord sideline in 2018. Scott Hamby, longtime offensive coordi- nator for the Hornets under Simmons, also is back on the football staff after several years away. Hamby was Martin's offensive coordinator in his playing days at Colcord and coached him from the sixth through 12th grade. "First off, it's a blessing to have him back," Martin said of Hamby. "It made the decision a lot easier when I knew he was going to help. I think the world of him." Martin was able to go through spring ball with the Hornets and said the team has had a strong summer conditioning program. "I really just want to get back to work- ing hard and being tough," Martin said. "I always felt like we won a game or two every year because we were in better shape, we were a little tougher and wanted it a little bit more than the other team. It really doesn't have anything to do with the talent side of it. It was just the will to win." Colcord enters the season with around 28 players on its roster and is dropping in classification to Oklahoma Class A. "Numbers have gone down, but I expected around 30 (kids)," Martin said. "I think there's a lot of kids that will have an impact right now. They've been working hard, and I think they want to do good and they want to start now." With Hamby back in control of the offense, football fans can expect the Hornets to be very multiple in their offensive scheme. Colcord will line up in spread-look formations, but they'll also get into a flexbone set and play power football with some misdirection. Raven DeFrancisco (5-10, 175) has been tabbed to start at quarterback for Colcord and the senior QB has put in a lot of time this summer, his coach said. "He's taken the time to throw and condition, work in the weight room," Martin said. "I think he has a desire to have a really good senior year." Freshman Stormy Odle (5-7, 145) is the backup quarterback, and he's athletic and fast, Martin said. "He'll get a lot of playing time on defense as well," Martin said. "He's going to be a kid you want on the field because of his speed." 1004 S Mt Olive St Siloam Springs, AR -TUESDAYS- -TUESDAYS- 479 238.0289 You have to eat well to play well! Go Panthers! 2018 Football Preview 22 n Wednesday, August 22, 2018 The Herald-Leader/Westside Eagle Observer Tyler Duncan Benton Denny Colten Dale Dustin Foreman Blake Gonzalez Chad Kendrick Malcolm Potter Raven DeFrancisco 2018 ColCord Hornets Austin Martin Head coach Former Colcord standout returns to lead Hornets n Head coach Austin Martin aims to restore winning tradition. By Graham Thomas Staff Writer n gthomas@nwadg.com See COLCORD on Page 23

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