Saints hope to slow LR Christian’s playmakers

Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway is hopeful a top offensive lineman can play, but remains uncertain about his top two receivers heading into tonight’s game at Little Rock Christian.

Senior center Chase Bowerman missed the season-opening, 35-22 win at Elkins after suffering an ankle injury in a preseason scrimmage at Springdale. Bowerman is a third-year starter and handles all the calls up front.

Tyler Roth and Jake Nelson, who combined for more than 100 catches and nearly 2,000 yards in 2015, didn’t play against Elkins due to leg injuries. Roth is doubtful to play while Nelson is questionable after practicing “very, very light” this week, Conaway said.

The most positive news is the Saints’ defense is relatively healthy and played well despite giving up a few long plays on busted coverages against the Elks. As a unit, they finished with 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including nine sacks.

“I thought they played with a lot of intensity, a lot of toughness and we tackled well,” Conaway said. “We did a lot of things well, but we did lose some (receivers) in coverage at times.

“It’s never as bad as it seems, or as good as it seems. We were able to take a lot out of that game and have had a great week of practice, so they responded well.”

Conaway hopes the team made all the necessary corrections heading into a game against one of the more traditionally prolific offenses in the state. Little Rock Christian, a Class 5A which averaged nearly 48 points per game while posting a 12-1 record in 2015, lost its opener 55-48 against perennial 4A-power Warren.

The Warriors are led by junior quarterback Jackson Bowersock, who completed 36 of 46 passes to eight different receivers for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns. Trey Harris and Henley Bland combined for 16 receptions for 248 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ladarius Barnes led the Warriors in rushing with 10 totes for 93 yards.

“I think they are extremely explosive,” Conaway said. “They have a lot of talented, skilled players who can make plays in space — and a great coaching staff that does a good job of creating space for those playmakers.

“We’ll have to cover 53 1/3 yards from sideline to sideline, and also have to cover vertically, to try to slow them down.”

Mike Capshaw
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Mike Capshaw

Sports writer at NWA Media
Mike primarily covers Fayetteville and Farmington.
Mike Capshaw
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