Tigers believe third place underestimates potential
BERRYVILLE -- When the latest Hooten's Magazine was released earlier this month, Green Forest was picked to finish third in 1-3A Conference. Not only did that draw the ire of the Tigers, it created a little motivation.
"It made us all mad," Green Forest senior quarterback Treyton Anderson admitted. "But they have never liked us. The last three years the team they have picked to finish third won the conference. I am game for that."
Anderson said the Tigers, who made it to the first round of the playoffs before being dismantled at Fountain Lake, were making strides during the summer and would be ready for the season opener.
"We have a lot of new guys coming in," Anderson said during team camp at Berryville on Thursday. "We are working a lot of guys into the lines and in the skilled positions. We are heading in the right direction. We are getting there."
He said the absence of a few starters over the past couple of weeks has allowed some of the younger players to gain valuable experience.
"It's a good thing," he said. "We are getting some of the backups time allowing us to create timing with the passing game and the running game."
As far as which team would claim the conference crown, Anderson said time would tell.
"We are going hard every game," he said. "We expect to win every game. I think we are capable of winning every game. But we have to play in every game too. There is nobody on our schedule that's going to be an easy game. We are going to have to fight through every one of them."
He said experience would play a key role.
"We have a lot more experience," he said. "Everyone in the skilled positions are either two or three year starters. That is a big help. Experience will be one thing. A lot of us have gotten faster and the line is better. We should be able to make those clutch plays this year."
Green Forest coach Jay Martin said he is seeing signs of improvement, even without a handful of starters, including All-Conference receiver Clayton Watson.
"I'm not worried about him," he said. "He's here when we are. Hopefully it will drive him a little batty and he will be that much more eager to get back."
Watson is expected to return when the team begins fall drills in early August after having surgery to drain a cyst in the temporal region of his brain earlier this month. Until then, Martin is focusing on the players that are wearing pads.
"We are trying to find some defensive ends," Martin said. "If we can ever get everyone here we will be really quick. We are going to be able to run. But we have more of the starters back. We still have probably five guys that weren't here."
The Tigers will have a regularly scheduled practice Tuesday before resuming team camp at Huntsville next Thursday.
"We are getting better," he said. "I thought Carl Roberts ran the ball real well today. I thought at times we blocked better. Defensively, we had more stops. We had less missed tackles. We saw a few things in the secondary that we can fix real quick."
As for the ranking by Hooten's, Martin is not concerned so much about anyone's opinion.
"That's just a publication," Martin said. "Until we block and tackle better, that will decide the conference champion. That's what it comes down to. We have to get better at blocking and tackling and understanding our assignments."