Berryville excited for Homecoming
By Ty Loftis
The Berryville Bobcats are facing the Gentry Pioneers for homecoming on Friday night and despite their 0-4 record, coach Doug Shott isn't taking the Pioneers lightly.
"They have some good skill kids," Shott said. "The quarterback (Brandon Atwood) does a good job running the run-pass options (RPOs). Defensively, they mix things up. They will be in an odd front one minute and a split or even front the next. They are big up front. The tackles go 6-3, 290. One is 6-1, 250. Linebackers are probably the strength of their defense, so we will need to play well. We look forward to the challenge."
Homecoming week can be challenging for coaches and Shott is trying to keep his team focused on the task at hand Friday night.
"Every day this week, we have preached to them that homecoming is great and it's a great time for Berryville alumni to come back home," Shott said. "It's a great celebration, but I preach to them that homecoming isn't for us until after the game is over. The kids are having to deal with the distractions that goes on with homecoming. It's definitely had some impact on us, but hopefully our kids are mature enough to take care of business."
Jon Faulkenberry was a three-year starter at quarterback for Gentry. He is gone, but Shott said plenty of other weapons return.
"Atwood has a good arm," Shott said. "Coach (Paul) Ernest has done a good job coaching him up on his reads. He isn't quite the threat Faulkenberry was when it comes to running, but he will run. They return their running back in the backfield. They have a little experience their, too."
Shott said Berryville will have to stop the RPOs if the Bobcats want to beat Gentry.
"Over the last five years, spread offenses have been incorporating a run-pass option whether or not a linebacker leaves his area to pursue the quarterback," Shott said. "We will have to maintain our coverages."
The Pioneers are 0-4, but have lost to the likes of Dardanelle, Greenland and Pea Ridge. After watching those games on film, Shott knows the Pioneers won't lay over for Berryville (2-2, 0-1 4A-1).
"Their physical size presents an issue with moving kids," Shott said. "We preach hitting on the rise all the time. That's the way a smaller guy beats a bigger guy and we have been emphasizing that."
Homecoming festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.