Watson Chapel senior defensive lineman Edwin Williams has not played football since junior high. But in his varsity return, Williams has already made quite an impact.
“He has been the biggest surprise so far,” Watson Chapel head coach Jared Dutton said. “He’s about 6-4, 305 pounds and runs a 5 (second) flat 40. For a guy his size, that is top speed.”
Dutton said Williams is eager to learn.
“He is picking it up,” Dutton said. “But the biggest thing has been his motor. He wants to play football, he wants to be there.”
Williams isn’t the only D-lineman to impress Dutton. Defensive end Michael Barker “has really steped up this year as a senior,” the coach said.
“He is a big strong athletic kid,” Dutton said. “We are expecting big things from him.”
Dutton is in his first season with Watson Chapel after George Shelton retired earlier this year.
“We are going to be undersize a little bit this year, but we are going to make up for it by getting after people,” Dutton said.
Dutton played the lineman position in high school and college.
“I know how to play there, you have to be hard-nosed and get after it daily,” Dutton said. “You have to be mentally and physically tough.”
On the offensive side, junior Coy Simpson has proven to be a physical presence at the line of scrimmage.
“He gets after it,” Dutton said. “He is a big, tall kid and has good speed. He can really open up some holes.”
Dutton also said center Josh White “plays with a lot of heart.”
Watson Chapel will host a three-team scrimmage on Tuesday and will begin the regular season on Sept. 5 when the Wildcats host Batesville beginning at 7 p.m.
Experience leads Dollarway’s OL
Three seniors — Franklin Giles, Brandon Blake and Donald Robinson Jr. — return this season to anchor the offensive line for Dollarway.
“We have counted on them the past two years,” Dollarway head coach Cortez Lee said. “I’m expecting them to be leaders on the line and on the team as well.
“We also have one two-year starter and a first-year starter. I’m expecting big things from them this year.”
Lee said his offensive line will be the “catalyst for our team.”
“I feel comfortable about our line of scrimmage,” Lee said.
Dollarway’s defensive line will have a mix of experience and newcomers.
“Right now our depth is an issue,” Lee said. “We are developing our back up talent. That is a need we have to address.”
Dollarway went undefeated in the regular season last year and made it to the semifinals before being eliminated by Booneville. The Cardinals will face McClellan in a scrimmage on Tuesday and will face Helena-West Helena Central in the season-opener on Sept. 5.
“Guys are getting their opportunity after some guys who were real good played last year,” Lee said. “Guys will get a chance to play their part this upcoming season.”
Skelton, Zebra offense ready to go
Pine Bluff head coach Bobby Bolding has preached all month about how far ahead the Zebras are from this point last year.
On Tuesday, Bolding said his offense has been completely installed against both odd- and even-front defenses ahead of Pine Bluff’s scrimmage next Tuesday at West Memphis.
“We’re where we know what to do against pretty much everybody on our schedule,” he said.
The offense’s progression has been instep with the continued improvement of junior quarterback Ladarius Skelton.
“When things break down, he’s doing what a quarterback’s supposed to do,” Bolding said. “He throws it away or he runs and gets positive yardage.
“He’s also not throwing picks. He’s not forcing balls.”
Vaughn: Scrimmage will tell us where we are
Mike Vaughn hasn’t been surprised with what he’s seen out of his White Hall Bulldogs during the first few weeks of practice.
Vaughn is hesitant to comment on how successful this year’s squad can be until they’ve gone up against somebody other than themselves. White Hall will get that chance next Tuesday when it hosts Malvern in a scrimmage.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said. “We have a lot of things to finish up before (next) Tuesday.”
The scrimmage will likely tell Vaughn and his coaching staff a lot about the depth of the Bulldogs.
“We don’t know how deep we are really,” Vaughn said. “Malvern is a good football team; we already scrimmaged them once this summer. …
“The scrimmage always lets you know where you stand, maybe this year more than ever.”