Pulaski County preview: Little Rock Parkview
August 9, 2011
LITTLE ROCK Today is part 11 in an 18-part series, previewing every team in Pulaski County.
I'll be going over all the county teams over the next few weeks, in conjunction with the team previews in Northwest Arkansas, giving readers the low-down on all thing Pulaski County football, along with mixing in some state teams of note.
Today's installment: Little Rock Parkview
Chris McClendon is gone. It's something that everyone in and around the Little Rock Parkview program knows this.
And you won't see anyone, especially coach William Hardiman, fretting about it. They've got too many weapons to worry about it.
The Patriots will replace the 1,000-yard rusher with a plethora of backs, but it'll start with junior Rashad Earls, who complemented McClendon in the backfield last season.
(Earls) is a different kind of back," Hardiman said. "...He plays the role that he can get the ball anywhere. He'll play a lot of slot back. He's in that the mold of what we like to see. He can do just about anything."
That versatility will help Caelon Harden, the returning starter at quarterback. Seven players return on offense, including the entire receiving corps. Harden did a lot in Parkview's multiple offensive sets, but thrived on the ground with McClendon and Earls.
"We'll get in whatever it takes to beat you," Hardiman said.
That rings true defensively as well, with multiple fronts — including three, four and five man fronts — being the main focus.
Unfortunately, one of that line's stalwarts probably won't see the field this season. Senior defensive end Chris Winston battled heart problems most of last season and into the off-season.
Hardiman said that Winston probably won't see the field again as a Patriot.
"He's on the team, but he's not practicing," Hardiman said. "I doubt it, I don't plan on it. His life is worth more than 100 touchdowns and 100 first downs."
It's a tough blow, but not one that Parkview can't overcome with five defensive starters returning, including three additional linemen.
But they'll need more than good linemen to surprise folks in the 7A/6A East Conference, especially with teams like perennial power West Memphis and Jonesboro sitting at the top.
But that doesn't stop Hardiman from setting the bar high.
"Being that this is the last year we'll play against teams relatively our size (before conference realignment), we hope to do well in hopes to take that momentum to whatever conference they throw us in next year."
Little Rock Parkview
2010 record - 4-7, 6th in 7A/6A East Conference (lost to Lake Hamilton in first round of playoffs)
Coach - William Hardiman
Starters returning - Offense - 7, Defense - 5
Key players returning - Jr. Rashad Earls, Sr. QB Caelon Harden, Jr. SS Traveion Garrison
Key players lost - RB Chris McClendon
Big game - Sept. 23 vs. Jonesboro
Interesting fact - The Patriots have been ousted in the playoffs by Lake Hamilton the past two seasons.