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‘Cats expected to finish near bottom of conference

By Staff, 08/20/20 10:06 AM

HOPE – A statewide publication doesn’t think much of Hope’s chances for a winning season during the 2020 grid campaign.

In fact, the publication picks the Bobcats to finish sixth in the 5A South conference, only ahead of DeQueen. Texarkana is picked to win the conference, followed by Camden Fairview, Hot Springs Lakeside, Magnolia and Hot Springs.

In a way, though, this is understandable as the ‘Cats have had a few rough years of late. Last year the squad finished with a 1-9 overall record, with the only win coming against the DeQueen Leopards.

Phillip Turner is in his third year as head coach and thinks the team’s chances can be improved through the weight room. Turner said the team needs to develop strength and depth, adding the team has the athletes, speed and quickness to compete. Depth has been a problem for the ‘Cats as the squad has fielded teams of less than 40 players in recent years.

Offensively Ammorrion Dempsey moves from receiver to quarterback as Turner believes Dempsey needs to touch the ball on every offensive play. Dempsey took a lot of snaps last season against Little Rock Mc Clellan, hitting five of seven passes and running for a touchdown.

Zykeis Raglon joins the team from the basketball squad. Raglon hasn’t played football since junior high, but is considered to be the best athlete in the school.

Kenneth Anderson is tabbed to start at running back, though he didn’t play last season. Keyvan Booker averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season and is always moving forward. Davion Durton will be a receiver. He caught three touchdown passes last year and is the go-to guy for first downs. Trey Rhodes, another basketball player joining the team, hasn’t played on the gridiron since junior high but has caught the ball well during the off season drills. Corey Lewis is considered the squad’s best blocking receiver and Zack Woeckner will be another inside receiver.

The senior leader of the team, Darton Davis, returns for his fourth year as center. Davis bench presses 320 pounds. Oscar Nava and Anthony Hall will be on either side of Davis at guard, while Oathis Ward and Kia Hamilton will be tackles. Ommorrio Watson will also see time at tackle while soccer player Adrian Dominguez is expected to help out up front. Chris Torres, the kicker, is pretty much automatic up to 45 yards, Turner said.

However, last year’s Bobcat defense was porous. The fewest points  the defense gave up was 35 against DeQueen and allowed 51 points per game during the year.

Montavius Eason will be one of the defensive ends, while Durton will be on the other side. Andre Dafney made four tackles against Magnolia last year and forced two fumbles along with blocking a extra point. He will be on the defensive line. Davis will anchor the unit as the team’s noseguard with Ward and Hall helping out up front as well.

LaDarius Allen leads the linebacking corps and is a player Turner says will “knock you out”. Allen made 71 tackles last year. Lewis, Austin McWilliams and Jaden Simpson will work at outside linebacker.

Kobe Conway will be one corner, while Dempsey will be at the other. Javarious Solomon will also help in the secondary.

According to the publication, the team’s strength is its speed, but it’s weakness is the lack of depth and strength.