Shott pleased with Bobcats’ progress

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Berryville senior quarterback J.D. Smith (front) and junior fullback Zach Boaz run sprints during a recent practice at Bobcat Stadium.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

The Berryville Bobcats completed their first full week of practice in helmets and pads on Friday, and coach Doug Shott said he and his staff were pleased with how the team is progressing.

“We felt like we had a decent week last week,” Shott said Monday. “We kind of feel like a couple of sophomores finally got comfortable. A couple of sophomores that we feel like are going to contribute started getting comfortable by Thursday or Friday, and also a couple of the new kids that are here. They were like trying to learn Chinese that first week. We feel like the new kids and the sophomores for the most part most of them got comfortable, the ones that are going to contribute. And our returning kids got more polished as the week went on.”

Like every other high school team in Arkansas, the Bobcats are dealing with an abbreviated preseason. Arkansas high school teams were allowed to begin wearing helmets on Monday, Aug. 3, and were allowed to don pads for the first time two days later.

“Normally we have a pretty good month in July and even part of June where we’ve been going to team camps and our kids are acclimated to the contact,” Shott said. “We didn’t actually get started full-contact until last week, so it concerns me some. It does, but I’m assume everybody’s in the same situation we are.”

Shott said he’s been pleased with the leadership shown by the team’s veterans.

“We like the leadership of our returning kids,” Shott said. “J.D. Smith has been a good leader at quarterback.”

Shott also cited junior running back Jaeden Tanksley and senior running back Dominic Henry as providing veteran leadership for the Bobcats.

Shott, who says he expects Berryville to have 34 to 40 players on its roster, said junior Zach Boaz has been a pleasant surprise at fullback — where Berryville must replace the now-graduated Brett Parsons.

“That was a big question mark for us going into the season, who was going to replace Parsons,” Shott said. “Zach has looked pretty good, as good as we could expect that he would look. If we have a standout it probably would be Boaz at fullback.”

Berryville’s junior high benefit game at home against Lincoln on Thursday has been canceled. The high school team will play a benefit game at Lincoln on Friday.

Berryville opens the regular season on Aug. 28, hosting Cedarville at Bobcat Stadium.

Berryville Bobcats 2020 Schedule

Aug. 28 — Cedarville

Sept. 4 — at West Fork

Sept. 18 — Greenland

Sept. 25 — at Shiloh Christian

Oct. 2 — Gentry

Oct. 9 — at Elkins

Oct. 16 — Gravette

Oct. 23 — at Huntsville

Oct. 30 — at Prairie Grove

Nov. 6 —Green Forest

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