8th-graders filling key roles for Berryville
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville Junior Bobcats will be relatively young this fall, with several eighth-graders cracking the starting lineup, but coach Derrek Aynes is pleased with the team’s development in the preseason.
“They’re going to piece it together,” Aynes said Thursday. “I think we’re looking at a pretty good season.”
The Junior Bobcats held an intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday, finishing ahead of a storm that forced the cancellation of the high school team’s scrimmage.
One aspect that Aynes is particularly happy with is the team’s ability to execute the offensive system.
“I think we’re finally going to be able to run the midline and veer,” he said. “It takes a couple of years to learn how to read it right and run it correctly.”
That’s important not only for the success of the junior high team, but ultimately the high school team as well. Operating the same offensive system at both levels allows players to have a better understanding of what they’re doing.
“We run pretty much the same plays that our high school team does,” Aynes said. “We may not go into as much detail but the plays are the same.”
Individually, Aynes said a pair of eighth-graders have been standing out in practice.
Nick Utt will be the Junior Bobcats’ starting fullback.
“He’s been really running the bal well,” Aynes said.
At quarterback, eighth-grader Chris Hipps will start for Berryville.
“He’s starting to be able to read that midline really well,” Aynes said.
Another player the Junior Bobcats are counting on is freshman running back David Tapia, who Aynes calls “probably the most elusive guy in our whole program, 7-12.”
“He’s really shifty, really quick,” Aynes said.
Freshman Wesley Winters will be a two-way starter on the offensive and defensive lines, Aynes said. Eighth-grader Anthony Boche has locked up a starting spot on the defensive line and is competing for a starting position at offensive tackle as well.
The Junior Bobcats will play a benefit game against Elkins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bobcat Stadium. They’ll open the regular season at home against West Fork on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Berryville Junior Bobcats 2019 Football Schedule
Sept. 5 — West Fork
Sept. 12 — Huntsville
Sept. 19 — At Dover
Sept. 26 — Green Forest*
Oct. 3 — Pea Ridge*
Oct. 10 — Shiloh Christian*
Oct. 17 — Elkins*
Oct. 24 — At Huntsville*
Oct. 31 — At Gravette*
* — Conference game