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Wolves ready for season

By Staff, 08/16/17 9:37 AM

2017 WOLVES 003

PRESCOTT – Football season for the Curley Wolves will start early and on a Tuesday night.

This year, Prescott opens its grid campaign with a trip to Southern Arkansas University to play in the Mulerider Classic against Hampton. Prescott High School Coach Tommy Poole said it will be different until the lights come up, then it’ll be football. That’s what the team’s being told – “when the lights go up, it’s football.”

The Wolves will be looking to repeat as state champions after winning the title in 2016 with an undefeated season. This year, though, the squad will be getting every team’s best game as everyone wants to be the team to dethrone the champs.

However, Poole said the Wolves are being told to expect this, to forget about last year because this is a new season and every game is equally important. The focus, he added, is always on the team in front of us.

Practice began on Aug. 1 and Poole said he likes where the team is at this point. “It’s good so far. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re making strides to get there.” He added there aren’t any problem areas with the Wolves, though he’d like to have more depth (as would every coach ever). “I appreciate what we have and I’m not worrying about what we don’t have.”

He’s expecting Haskell Harmony Grove and Glen Rose to be two of the tougher games, as both are road games for the Wolves. Prescott has a storied history with the Beavers of Glen Rose and those games are always hard fought. On top of that, the Wolves will also be heading to Gurdon this year, never an easy place to play, nor will the game against Jessieville be a cakewalk because of the harsh atmosphere. “The biggest challenge will be ourselves. We don’t need to worry about last year, but to focus on our opponent of the week and do what we need to do. I don’t want the team to get overconfident.” Poole said Prescott will be getting every team’s best shot and the Wolves will need to return the favor in kind.

In discussing specific areas of the game, he said the kicking game is a work in progress, but isn’t worried about the coverage team. The Wolves use starters on special teams instead of substitute players and, he added, the starters take it serious. Over the past several years Prescott has stressed onside kicks after scores and this won’t change during the 2017 season. As far as punting goes, Poole said the Wolves won’t punt unless they have to.

Kade Honea returns as the team’s placekicker. Once the Wolves switched from trying point after touchdowns (PATs) soccer style and went to conventional kicking, Honea was nearly perfect and managed to kick a couple of field goals as well. This year he should be more accurate and confident when he lines up behind the ball.

Prescott is solid at quarterback, Poole said, with two returning who have game and playoff experience in Ryan Johnson and Cade Haynie. This will give the Wolves a leg up as the two can be used interchangeably as needed. The two will also be throwing to an experienced receiving corps as three of last year’s four starters are back. Poole said the receivers are one of the strengths of the team.

He pointed out the Wolves aren’t fast and no one has blazing speed, but said the team runs well. Prescott also won’t have a “star” running back this year, but will have running backs by committee. Poole said it’s unlikely any back will get 20-30 carries this year, but there could be two or three backs who get 10 carries each. This will help keep their legs fresh, an important aspect in the fourth period. In addition, the running backs will be blessed with a solid offensive line that includes two or three returning starters from last year. The problem, Poole said, is the Wolves aren’t deep at the offensive line position and injuries could pose problems.

Defensively the Wolves should be solid with several seniors up front who have experience. The secondary shouldn’t be a problem as the team returns several from last year’s squad as well. The Wolves are a bit thin at linebacker, but, as Poole said, there are players who can be shifted to fill in as needed. Additionally, Prescott returns its leading tackler from last year, which is always a good thing.

The squad has only had one week of what could be called hot weather to practice in. Mostly it’s been wet, but the Wolves have shown they can be mudders when the need arises.

“I like the kids we’ve got,” Poole said. “They’re coming together as a team and are coachable. They do what we ask and buy into what we’re doing.”

Fans, he said, can expect a good brand of Curley Wolf football during the 2017 campaign, something the school and community can be proud of.

Looking to the future he said there’s a good group coming up, but, most importantly, the Wolves have a tradition of winning.

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