Herald Leader / Eagle Observer Football Preview

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2018 Football Preview The Herald-Leader/Westside Eagle Observer Wednesday, August 22, 2018 n 9 GRAVETTE — In 2017, the Gravette Lions defeated Shiloh Christian for the first time in 15 seasons, made the playoffs for the 11th straight year, and had a 2000- yard rusher. Now, for the first time since 2006, the Lions will take the field under a new head coach as Bill Harrelson stepped down and took the head football posi- tion at Fayetteville's Ramay Junior High. During Harrelson's tenure the Lions won the 4A-1 (2007), had two 10-win seasons (2007, 2011), and qualified for the 4A semifinals and quar- terfinals. Now, the Lions will take the field under a coach who comes from being an assis- tant at a traditional regional power and will be looking to shake off the notion that Gravette football could now be a "middle of the pack" team in 2018. Doug Greenwood — who was previ- ously at Jenks, Okla., under legendary head coach Allan Trimble — was hired in mid-May and looks to continue to build on the tradition Gravette has built in the last decade. "We are excited to be here," said Greenwood. "For the most part, the kids have really done a good job (adjusting). Coach Harrelson built a great foundation and we want to build on that, so we are just sort of upping the ante and the boys are getting in the boat with us and we're excited about that." Greenwood said he has high hopes for his program and that intensity and aggression are going to be some of the cornerstones of the Lions. "I definitely believe a football team takes on the characteristics of their coach and I'm not really docile," said Green- wood. "Hopefully the boys are feeling that, and with our coaching staff as well. We just want to play hard-nosed football and work to correct problems." The Lions possess a strong offensive line which paved the way for a record-set- ting season for departed 4A All State running back Austin O'Brien (2,294 rush yards and 27 TD in 2017). Seniors Aidan Patton (6-foot-3, 261 pounds), Jarrod Barker (6-2, 238), and Beau Hamilton (5-11, 246) return to anchor the trenches for the Gravette offense and have the ability to help another Gravette running back to a breakout season. "The offensive line is going to take us where we need to go," said Greenwood. "Our tackles (Patton and Barker) are just as big as we had at Jenks (Oklahoma 6A). That is really nice to have. I'm really looking forward to building onto the run game with them. It will be a bit differ- ent for them because we will be going to more zone schemes, and I'm very techni- cal and will be looking for them to really be working with the man to their left and right." Greenwood said the coaching staff is still trying to determine the best combi- nation of starters along the offensive line but the leadership and experience of the group will only be beneficial. "We are still trying to find that fit and looking for who is going to be 'that guy'," said Greenwood. "With these guys being seniors, they are going to drive this bus." Greenwood said the unit is making improvements in their pass protection assignments and credits them for adjust- ing fairly quickly to the differences in the old scheme and the new approach. "Some of the different types of pass protections we are putting in are proba- bly a little bit different than what they've done in the past," said Greenwood. "But, I have no doubt they are going to be able to step up to the challenge." The aforementioned O'Brien, who is now a member of the Hendrix College WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A DRUG STORE GO LIONS!!! Lindsey Watford, Pharm.D. Monday-Friday 8am-6pm Saturday 8am-1pm teasleydrug.com 205 Atlanta Street SE • Gravette, AR • 479-787-5966 TEASLEY DRUG Dakota Lemonds Beau Hamilton Cy Hilger Jarrod Barker Aidan Patton Colton Grimes Mason Dagley Tajae White Doug Greenwood Head coach Lions head into 2018 season under new leadership n First-year coach Doug Greenwood ushers Gravette into new era. By Seth McKinzie Special to the Herald-Leader I definitely believe a football team takes on the characteristics of their coach and I'm not really docile. Hopefully the boys are feeling that, and with our coaching staff as well. We just want to play hard-nosed football and work to correct problems. Doug Greenwood Gravette head coach 2018 Gravette Lions See GRAVETTE on Page 10

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