NWADG Prep Rally Football Preview


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47 PREP RALLY: CLASS 3A | 8.20.2023 1270 Hwy 412 W, Ste A GREENLAND PIRATES 2022 RECORD 8-4 overall, 5-2 3A-1 COACH Cody Napier RETURNING STARTERS 3 offense, 4 defense KEY PLAYERS QB David Hendrix (Jr., 5-11, 150), RB/OLB Tommy Whittington (Sr., 5-7, 160), RB Sam Wilhite (Sr., 5-9, 170), WR Brandon Vaughan (Jr., 5-8, 150), OL Aiden Schoonover (5-11, 280), C Jack Stockton (Jr., 5-10, 220), OL Joel Mendonca (Jr., 5-9, 200), WR/LB Avery Eubanks (Jr., 5-11, 160), WR Zander Sylvester (Soph., 5-10, 130). NOTEABLE Home sweet home. Former Pirates' standout Napier returns as the school's head coach. He spent time as an assistant at Farmington and Gentry. … The Pirates won eight games (8-4) with a talented senior class in 2022. They won with offense and a lot of defense. The Pirates had 21 interceptions last season. Junior all-conference receiver Vaughan caught 33 passes for 570 yards and eight touchdowns and had nine of the team's interceptions. "He's a football player," Napier said. … Whittington will split time at receiver and outside linebacker. He had five interceptions in 2022. … Hendrix is taking over for all-state quarterback Max Meredith. Meredith threw for 1,657 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 504 yards and seven more scores. QUOTEABLE "It's a huge honor to be back in my hometown. I was fortunate to play for coach (Lee) Larkin. I have a lot of respect for coach. As for the conference, it's the toughest in the state. You have the defending state champion and runner-up. There are no easy nights in this conference." — Napier. BOONEVILLE BEARCATS 2022 RECORD: 12-3 overall, 6-1 3A-1 COACH: Doc Crowley RETURNING STARTERS: 6 offense, 5 defense KEY PLAYERS HB/S Dax Goff (Sr., 6-1, 215); FB Rylen Ray (Sr., 5-10, 215); QB/S Jace Washburn (Jr., 6-1, 160); OL Matt O'Bar (Sr., 6-0, 245) NOTABLE The Booneville Bearcats won 12 games without Ray last season. It's scary to think how much better they may be with a healthy Ray back on the field. Ray, who missed the bulk of the season (14 games) after an early ACL injury, is among a stable of backs coach Doc Crowley has to work with. Ray's dad, Gator, played for former coach Ken Rippy's Bearcats in 1997-99. Rylen's brother, Randon, accounted for 4,674 all-purpose yards during his three seasons (2019-21). … Goff is 1,073 yards shy of breaking Randon Ray's school record for career rushing yards (4,342). All Goff did as a junior was run for a school-record 2,323 yards and score 25 touchdowns. He might have had more, too, had the Bearcats' 2023 graduate Cody Elliott not accounted for 23 rushing touchdowns of his own. … The Bearcats have won three of the school's four state titles since 2000 (2000, 2013, 2018). QUOTABLE "I say it all the time, I'm very fortunate to be at a place like Booneville. I show up at track meets or baseball games in the spring and coaches will ask, 'How do you get kids to do this? I tell them they're just Booneville kids.' They're tough, they're brought up through a great little league system, and they know what it takes to win." — Crowley. SCHEDULE Sept. 1 .......at Ozark Oct. 6 ............. Greenland* Sept. 8 .......Camden Fairview Oct. 13 ........at Mansfield* Sept. 15 .....at Harding Academy Oct. 20 ...... at Charleston* Sept. 22 .....Hackett* Oct. 27 ................ Lavaca* Sept. 29 .....at West Fork Nov. 3 .............Cedarville* * — Denotes 3A-1 Conference game All kickoffs 7 p.m. unless noted GREENLAND PIRATES Aug. 25 ......Lincoln Oct. 6 ......... at Booneville* Sept. 1 .......at Green Forest. Oct. 13 ................ Lavaca* Sept. 8 .......Berryville Oct. 20 ........at Cedarville* Sept. 22 .....at Charleston* Oct. 27 ........... at Hackett* Sept. 29 .....Mansfield* Nov. 3 ........ at West Fork* * — Denotes 3A-1 Conference game All kickoffs 7 p.m. unless noted SCHEDULE CEDARVILLE PIRATES 2022 RECORD: 2-8 overall, 1-6 3A-1 COACH: Spencer Adams RETURNING STARTERS 4 offense, 4 defense KEY PLAYERS QB Chasyn Oden (Jr., 6-2, 160), RB Colton Arnold (Sr., 5-11, 155), FB/LB Jace Baker (Sr., 5-11, 165), OL/DL Briley Small (Sr., 6-1, 192), RT/DL Bryson Turner (Sr., 6-0, 280), WR Dylan Adkins (Sr., 6-1, 150), OL Braxton Bentley (Sr., 6-0, 280). NOTABLE First-year Pirates head coach Adams grew up around the game. His dad, longtime Arkansas high school coach Mike Adams, spent time at Charleston, Fayetteville and Farmington, where Spencer graduated. … Adams is chunking the Pirates' run-oriented ground attack for the spread. This suits his players fine. "It's completely new, and everything is pretty much new on defense, too," Small said. "Coach Adams coming in is really for the better for Cedarville. Those (opposing) teams coming in are going to remember last year's Cedarville team, and that's what I want. I want them to come into something they're not ready for." … After compiling a 22-11 record between 2019-21, the Pirates slumped to just 2-8 last season, dropping their final four games of the season. QUOTABLE "We went from a run-oriented offense, with very little passing, to being able to incorporate the pass into our offense. It's a good change for our team. It's different … I think it's good because then you're able to expand your offense more. Of course, you still have to run the football to keep defenses honest." — Cedarville running back Colton Arnold on the team's new offensive look for 2023. SCHEDULE Aug. 25 ......Perryville Oct. 6 ................. Hackett* Sept. 8 .......Mountainburg. Oct. 13 ....... at West Fork* Sept. 15 .....at Green Forest Oct. 20 ........... Greenland* Sept. 22 .....at Lavaca* Oct. 27 ........at Mansfield* Sept. 29 .....Charleston* Nov. 3 ........ at Booneville* * — Denotes 3A-1 Conference game All kickoffs 7 p.m. unless noted CHARLESTON TIGERS 2022 RECORD: 14-1, 7-0 3A-1 COACH Ricky May RETURNING STARTERS 4 offense, 4 defense KEY PLAYERS WR/CB Reese Merechka (Sr., 5-9, 170), RG Trevor Jones (Sr., 5-11, 270), RT/DL Hunter Little (Sr., 6-0, 195), C/DL Hayden Claiborne (Sr., 5-11, 275), WR/DB Brycen Kindrix (Sr., 5-8, 155), RB Garred Smithson (Soph., 5-8, 155), QB/DB Eli Huck (Sr., 5-8, 165), OL/DL Maddix Terry (Soph., 6-1, 175) NOTEABLE How do you replace Brandon Scott? You don't. Scott, who was named the Class 3A Player of the Year, threw for 2,677 yards and 31 touchdowns while leading coach May's Tigers to a state championship win over Booneville. With Scott out, sophomore Carter Little is up. Like Scott did when he was a sophomore, May expects Carter to take a few lumps. But two years from now? … The Tigers return three strong linemen from last season's title run: seniors Jones, Hunter Little (Carter's cousin), and Claiborne look to get Carter Little settled in during a tough non-conference slate that includes Elkins, Ozark and Nashville. QUOTABLE "We got on the bus that night (following last season's state title win over Booneville) to come home and coach (Matt) Stewart and I started talking about this year. We were excited about the game, obviously, and when they had the ring ceremony later that was nice, but we pretty much stopped talking about it after getting our rings and started moving forward." — May. SCHEDULE Sept. 1 .......at Elkins Oct. 6 ..............Mansfield* Sept. 8 .......Ozark Oct. 13 ........... at Hackett* Sept. 15 .....Nashville Oct. 20 ...........Booneville* Sept. 22 .....Greenland* Oct. 27 ....... at West Fork* Sept. 29 .....at Cedarville* Nov. 3 ............... *Lavaca* * — Denotes 3A-1 Conference game All kickoffs 7 p.m. unless noted HACKETT HORNETS 2022 Record 1-9, 0-7 3A-1 COACH Mason Wann RETURNING STARTERS 6 offense, 5 defense KEY PLAYERS QB Cole Ketchum (Sr., 6-1, 175), RB Jeremy Lawyer (Jr., 5-10, 180), WR Brycen Hamilton (Jr., 6-1, 165), LG Alex Woody (Sr., 5-8, 210), OL Aden Elmore (Sr., 6-0, 190), OLB Braden Rhyne (Jr., 5-9, 155), WR Dawsyn Clay (5-10,160). NOTEABLE First-year coach Wann is one of five league coaches coaching for his alma mater (Lavaca's Mark Headley, Mansfield's Whit Overton, Greenland's Cody Napier, and West Fork's Rodney Selph are the others). … Transfer Lawyer is eager to prove himself. Lawyer had to watch the 2022 season because of AAA transfer rules. … Ketchum is back in the fold for the Hornets. The senior accounted for 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2022. … Hamilton is also back in the fold at receiver. He caught 11 passes for 174 yards during the team's loss to Greenland and had nine receptions for 205 yards and three touchdowns against Booneville. Hamilton had 14 tackles in the team's lone win last season, a 40-16 win over Pocola, Okla. QUOTABLE "I think for the offense it was good, just to run our (new) schemes, and defensively it was good to get some kids some experience. We have some inside backers who didn't play last year. We had some kids come back out that will help us." — Wann. SCHEDULE Aug. 25 ......Centerpoint Oct. 6 ..........at Cedarville* Sept. 1 .......at Pocola, Okla. Oct. 13 .......... Charleston* Sept. 8 .......at Panama, Okla. Oct. 20 ........... West Fork* Sept. 22 .....at Booneville* Oct. 27 ....... at Greenland* Sept. 29 .....Lavaca* Nov. 3 .............Mansfield* * — Denotes 3A-1 Conference game All kickoffs 7 p.m. unless noted CLASS 3A Rylen Ray Matt O'Bar Briley Small Braxton Bentley Hunter Little Eli Huck Andrew Bass Alex Woody

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