Camping Under The Sun

WHITE HALL — The run to the state 5A baseball championship has not hindered White Hall’s spring football preparations one bit, football coach Mike Vaughn said. Even if it cut into his numbers during spring camp.

“It’s a good thing,” Vaughn said Thursday after hosting a four-team camp. “Winning begets winning, hopefully. We had a good football season and good baseball and softball. When you have that kind of year, it speaks well for the senior class.”

Vaughn is finding starters to replace the 14 that graduated from his 2011 5A-Southeast Conference championship team. He said he has an idea who will fill the roles.

“There’s a handful,” he said. “Probably next year, it’ll be more by committee. There are a lot of guys who got playing time because they’re young. We have to do that because of youth.”

The Bulldogs will begin competition in the new 5A-South, joining mostly teams that made up the 5A-Southwest. One of them, Hot Springs, participated in the camp along with 4A state runner-up Malvern and Dollarway.

Vaughn said the Bulldogs didn’t gain any advantage from seeing Hot Springs in the camp because both clubs are getting down to basics.

Dollarway is retaining the basics it learned last year, when it made a charge into the 4A state semifinals. Pulaski Academy beat Dollarway and Malvern for the championship.

“I’m enjoying the stages we’re in right now,” Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said. “We’re not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves, but at the same time we have a lot of returning guys, so they’re retaining a lot of the information.”

The Cardinals made their mark on defense as usual during the camp, consistently putting pressure in the backfield. On one play against White Hall, a Dollarway player made a hard-enough tackle to take the helmet off the ball carrier.

Dollarway, too, is gearing for a new conference, as it heads north for the 2-4A Conference. The Cardinals were in the 8-4A since 2002.

“You just prepare your team the best you can, concentrate on the things that you do well, and the other teams, you take them for their face value, study old film and go out there and compete,” Lee said.

For the Bulldogs, senior Terrance Warren has taken snaps at quarterback as well as sophomore Kirk Baugh, who was a hero in the baseball team’s championship run with his clutch hitting. But the Bulldogs have improved the most on the offensive line, Vaughn said.