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Wolves picked to win 5AAA

By Staff, 08/20/20 10:57 AM

PRESCOTT – It should come as no surprise the Curley Wolves have been picked to win the 5AAA conference this year.

After all, the team won the conference last year dominating league play after dropping the first two games by one point each to Rison and Mena. Prescott breezed through conference play all the way to the AAA state semifinals where the team fell to Harding Academy, the eventual champions. The team only lost six seniors from the 2019 crew and bring back eight starters on offense and nine on defense.

A statewide publication says the team’s weakness is its new head coach, Brian Glass, but seems to forget Glass has been the Wolves’ offensive coordinator for roughly 20 years and developed the potent offense fans see week in and week out. The 2020 team has 55 players on its roster, most having seen action in the 2019 campaign. Glass replaces Tommy Poole who resigned after guiding the Wolves to an 87-20 record with five conference titles and the 2016 state title.

Offensively the Wolves are loaded. Jacobi Nolen returns under center after completing 62 percent of his passes last year for 1,408 yards and 21 touchdowns. Nolen also rushed for 741 yards and scored 18 times himself. This year, Glass could add more passes and designed quarterback runs and said Nolen could develop into a college prospect if he improves his touch and accuracy.

Jeff Williams, an all-conference player, has also spent time at quarterback, but mostly will start as an outside receiver. Last year he had more than 500 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Glass said the team doesn’t change its offense when Williams goes under center as he and Nolen have similar skill sets. Carston Poole, a sophomore, could see some time at quarterback as well. Poole led the junior squads to 18-0 records the last two years and knows Glass’ offense.

What should put a scare into every defense in the league is the return of Alex George at running back. Combining 4.7 speed in the 40 with the running style and power of Larry Czonka, George literally drags defenses downfield with him and very rarely loses yards. Last year he ran for 792 yards and scored 15 times. This year he could easily rush for more than 1,000 yards. Jaylen Hopson will join George in the backfield. Last year Hopson averaged 10 touches a game and ran for more than 8o0 yards, scoring 10 times. He’s also a dangerous kick returner and is the fastest member of the team with 4.4 speed. Cha’Darrius Hayney will be a fullback who’ll be expected to grind out the tough yards, while Bayliss Price, Jacob Jackson, Travion Dickens and Brannen Bailey rotate at running back to keep fresh legs in the backfield – and make opposing defensive coordinators lose sleep when they face Prescott.

The Wolves will also have no problems in the receiving area as Omarion Dickens returns for his junior year. Dickens has strong hands and long arms, Glass said, and can pick passes out of the air. Jace Ingram, an all-conference tight end will help provide blocking up front along with catching passes thrown his way. Caleb Harris will be the second tight end and has outstanding leaping ability for those jump balls. Tyler Morrow runs precise routes and holds for extra points and field goals. Damien Kisselburg is another receiver who can also block. Rashawn Bell and Jayce Moore will also see time as receivers as will newcomer Carter Neal, who worked as tight end during the off season.

The Wolves shouldn’t have any problems opening holes or protecting the quarterback as all state right tackle Justin Wilson returns for his senior campaign. Wilson dead lifts 540 pounds, squats 505 pounds and benches 325 pounds while lifting 305 lbs in the power clean. Wilson has been given the once over by most Division 2 schools in the state already. Landon Cross returns at right guard after starting every game in 2019. Cross recorded a team-high 52 pancake blocks last year. Jack Arnette returns at left tackle with Ty Koger at guard. Maddux Yates worked out as center in June and started the final five games at left tackle. Backup will be from Carlos Zacarias, Eli Quideras, Jackson Cornish and Luke Cole.

Luis Rabadan returns for his senior season as kicker. Last year Rabadan hit 67 of 73 extra points and owns the school record. He also made all three field goals he attempted last year. This year, he’s even stronger and could be more of an offensive weapon.

Prescott’s defense will be led by Arnette, who was all-league at tackle last year. He recorded 61 tackles last year, including 15 for losses and four sacks. He will be joined on the defensive line by Tristan Wilson as the other tackle and Zalean Hill at noseguard. Tryston Pettit tried his hand at defensive tackle in June as well. Daniel Contreras, John Dorrough, Avery Hubbard and Quentin Nolen made a solid defensive line during their junior high careers and are expected to do the same for the senior squad. Hunter Bearden and Austin Hurd joined the team in June as well.

Along with being a devastating running back, George earned all-state honors at middle linebacker for Prescott last year with 63 tackles. Glass said he’s the strongest member of the team, with a 525 lb dead lift, 515 lb squat, 330 lb bench press and 315 lb power clean. “He’s the strongest I’ve ever coached,” Glass said.  Haynie earned all-league honors last year as an outside linebacker, with 38 tackles. Jason Patrick, Jr., has improved since last year as well, when he had 123 tackles. Reed Jester, Jesus Ortiz, D’Lon Rash and Tidorian Thompson are also vying for linebacker positions.

Jeff Martin supports the run, but is primarily a cornerback for the team. De’Tavern Thompson rotated some as corner last year and is expected to see playing time there again this season. Braden Matthews and Brady Simmons, along with Jerry Glass, Jaylon Young and Armani Tidwell are all being groomed at the corner position as well.

Tywan Thompson returns at strong safety and will lead the secondary. With his 4.5 speed Thompson recorded 106 tackles last year with two picks. Williams has been working at free safety with Zachery. Kagan Martin, De’Jon Nolen, Tyquan Tribbett, Matt Chaney, DQ Hopper, Caden Dice and Khalil Lacy have been working out in the secondary as well.

As it stands, Prescott’s biggest opponent this year may well be COVID-19. Under normal circumstances there’d be no question about having a full season, but there’s nothing normal about today’s situation and there’s no guarantees the season will be completed as planned.