Cyclones look to rebound from 2010
BY DONNA LAMPKIN STEPHENS CONTRIBUTING WRITER
August 28, 2011
LITTLE ROCK Prospects for Russellville are looking up after a disastrous 2010.
A year removed from a Class 7A state quarterfinal finish led by
a 28-member senior class, the Cyclones lastseason had to rebuild with a plethora of sophomores,who took their lumps during a 1-9 campaign that featured a nine-game losing streak.
“Tough year,” coach Jeff Holt said. “We were very young, and it was tough for us to compete. We had to play too many sophomores. I hope the experience we gained last year will really help us in 2011.” Russellville beat Morrilton, 28-20, in the season opener, but after that, the Cyclones only came within single digits of a win twice: 25-16 at Alma and 28-27 in overtimeagainst Little Rock Central that ended that school’s long losing streak.
“We gave up 34 points a game and only averaged 15 points on offense,” Holt said.
“Add to that a very below-average specialteams performance, and that is a recipe for disaster.” Five starters return on offense and seven on defense from a team that was winless in the 7A/6A Central. The Cyclones will run a one-back offense and a 4-3 defense.
Although the starting lineup wasn’t set by press time, Holt had his eye on several players who should be key for his team this fall: senior quarterback/tight end/linebacker Lane Reves (6-3, 200) and wide receivers junior Mason Freeman (5-9, 165), senior John Marasco (5-11, 165), senior Frank Chiolino (5-9, 165) and senior Jordan Barrett (5-11, 170).
The receivers could be a team strength.
“They catch the ball well and run good routes,” Holt said.
The offensive line starts with senior Zach Franklin (6-1, 270) and will also include junior Brandon Ruiz (5-8, 230). Senior running backs Kendall Bond (5-11, 200) and Antonious Davis (5-11, 180) will be complemented by sophomore Nick Hendrix (5-4, 155).
Junior Nick Williams (6-2, 195) and senior Sawyer Grace (5-10, 220) will anchor the defensive line at the ends. Look for the linebacking corps and secondary to include some combination of senior Aaron Dale (6-0, 160), senior Levi Scott (5-9, 205), Davis, Dre Johnson, senior Ben Jordan (6-1, 165) and Oscar Reyes.
Holt described the secondary as “much improved.”
But the Cyclones must rebuild their offensive line after graduating three all-conference players a year ago, and they need to be “much better up front” on defense, Holt said.
Russellville and Van Buren are the only Class 6A schools playing the regular season in the 7A/6A Central, so if the Cyclones can survive a brutal regular season, they coulddo big things in the playoffs.
“We want to compete well enough to give ourselves a chance at postseason play,” Holt said. “We expect to have a winning season.
Last year was a tough one for the Cyclones, and we expect to compete much better this year.” Key game?
“They are all key because every game will be a tough challenge,” Holt said. “(But) as is every year, the Conway game (Oct. 28) is a big one for our school and our community.”RUSSELLVILLE CYCLONES
SEPT. 2 ..................... @ MORRILTON
SEPT. 9 ...................@ FAYETTEVILLE
SEPT. 16 ............................... ALMA
SEPT. 23 ..... @ NORTH LITTLE ROCK*
SEPT. 30 ......LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL*
OCT. 7 ......................... @ BRYANT*
OCT. 14 ...................... VAN BUREN*
OCT. 21 ....... LITTLE ROCK CATHOLIC*
OCT. 28 ....................... @ CONWAY*
NOV. 3 ...............................CABOT*BREAKING DOWN THE CYCLONES 11-11 PLAYOFF RECORD 5 RETURNING STARTERS ON OFFENSE 7 RETURNING STARTERS ON DEFENSE1-9 RECORD FOR 2010 2009 LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE 42 RETURNING LETTERMEN FOR 2011 SEASON 39 TOTAL WINS IN LAST SEVEN SEASONS
River Valley Ozark, Pages 108 on 08/28/2011
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