CONWAY CHRISTIAN | On the rise
By Eric Moore Contributing Writer
August 23, 2009
Eagles primed for playoff run with returning talent
RIVER VALLEY and OZARK AREA Last season the Conway Christian Eagles became one of the few teams to qualify for the playoffs in their first year as a member of the Arkansas Activities Association with a 4-7 record.
With nine returning starters on both offense
and defense, head coach Chuck Speer expects even
bigger things from his team this year.
"I think we'll
be pretty good,"
Speer said. "The
big challenge will
be to get them to
believe they can compete at this level." Taking snaps this season for the Eagles will be
junior Kirby Powell, who Speer expects to "step up
and be more of a leader," this year. The 6-2, 210-
pound Powell is a threat to run as well as to throw
the ball, giving the offense an added dimension.
"He has been real smart on where he's throwing
it," Speer said.
The running game will be done by committee once again this year with juniors Adam Ragland and Bates Isom returning to the lineup. Ragland rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season while Isom added another 800.
"We're looking for big things from these guys," Speer said.
At fullback, the Eagles will utilize the talents of senior Mark Harris, who "runs real hard," Speer said.
Speer said he expects his team to pass the ball much more this season from the Spread formation, and aiding in that endeavor will be a group of senior receivers including Jeremy Jacobs and Will Wooten, who saw "a lot of action" last year, Speer said.
Although there are just seven players competing for the five starting offensive linemen positions, Speer is comfortable with his team heading into the fall. Most, if not all, of the linemen saw considerable time last season, including Forrest
McDougal and Tyler Spangler, and the team will benefit from the return of Steven
Hay, who was lost in the first game of the season last year to injury.
The defensive line will see many of the same names from the offensive line along
with sophomore Wilden Hartogg, who saw action last year as well. In this year's de
fensive scheme, the Eagles will play to their strengths, which will be speed.
The core of the defense this season will be inside linebacker Jonathan Watson, who
made a name for himself last season as a tight end who could find the end zone. He
will be joined at the linebacker post by Mark Harris and Kirby Powell.
The secondary will be anchored by cornerbacks Jeremy Jacobs and Jackson Wilson
and free safety Will Wooten.
Going into this season, the team's goals have changed slightly from their first
"Our team goal last year was to make the playoffs," Speer said. "Now our goal is
to do something when we get there. It's going to be fun, because this is an easy group
to coach."CONWAY CHRISTIAN EAGLES
Sept. 4 ..................... at Earle
Sept. 11 ............ at Lutheran*
Sept. 18 Cutter Morning Star*
Sept. 25 ................ Danville*
Oct. 2 ...............at Quitman*
Oct. 9 .......at Mountain Pine*
Oct. 16 ................... Bigelow
Oct. 23 .............at Norphlet*
Oct. 30 ..............Two Rivers*
Nov. 6 ...................at Hector
Special, Pages 209, 210 on 08/23/2009