Bobcats ready to take some chances

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
First-year Berryville head coach Bryan Hutson watches the Bobcats get set to run a play during spring practice.
Charles Chappell /

The Berryville Bobcats will have a new personality on both sides of the football under coach Bryan Hutson.

Hutson, who left Elkins during the offseason to become the Bobcats’ new head coach, is installing a Spread offense that promises a more wide-open passing scheme. Defensively, he said the Bobcats are going to take some chances.

“We’ll do a lot of stunting,” he said. “We’ll have to do a lot of blitzing. We’re going to have to fly around the football. We’re not big enough to sit there and two-gap folks and do all that so we’re just going to have to fly around. We’re going to have to take some chances. And with that, we’ll make some big plays and hopefully we won’t give up too many.”

The Bobcats resumed summer practice on Monday after the two-week “dead period” mandated by the Arkansas Activities Association. Hutson said he’s been pleased with the players’ progress in picking up on the new schemes — but he pointed out that the team hasn’t practiced in pads yet.

“As good as could be expected, maybe a little bit better,” he said of the Bobcats’ early progress. “We can’t hit right now. We can’t go live, but against air, we haven’t lost to air yet. That’s the main thing. Air hasn’t beaten us.”

Sophomore Chris Hipps is the frontrunner to be Berryville’s starting quarterback.
Charles Chappell /

Quarterback is always a key position, but it’s especially important in a Spread scheme. Hutson said sophomore Chris Hipps is Berryville’s top quarterback at this point.

“We always compete,” Hutson said. “I always want people competing in practice. Right now, Chris Hipps is our number one guy and he’s been doing a good job. He’s got the offense down really well. He’s a really good athlete, smart, good football sense about him. I’m really pleased with his progression. If we had to go tomorrow, he’s our guy.”

Hutson said he is hoping to create some excitement around the Berryville program. Hampered by injuries and COVID-19 protocols, Berryville limped to an 0-7 finish last season.

Hutson spent the past three seasons as head coach at Elkins, leading the Elks to an 8-3 finish and a state playoff appearance last season.

“It’s going to be exciting for the kids to play, I think, and I hope it’s exciting to watch as well,” Hutson said.

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