McGehee football coach Marcus Haddock doesn’t like to be overly optimistic but coming off a 8-4A title and dropping this year to 3A with eight returning starters, the McGehee Owls expect nothing less than a state championship this year.
“I learned from a master with Coach D not to overstate something or be too optimistic because you always want to play from that underdog standpoint but when you win the 8-4A and you go undefeated and you go into the quarterfinals and really should have won a quarterfinal game of 4A and then you drop down with eight returning starters that’s kind of like trying to hide an elephant under a rug — it ain’t gonna happen — and we’re not trying to hide that elephant, our kids earned that respect and they deserve it,” Haddock said. “I’m expecting a state championship. I’m not expecting anything else.”
Though dropping to the 3A, the Owls will not face easier competition but the number of kids playing in those programs will be comparable.
“The competition level is not going to change,” he said. “What’s gonna change is the number of people behind the coach. With us, the last few years we averaged 27 or 28 kids. When my starters are on the field, there’s not many behind me. That’s kind of the way it’s going to be in the 3A. Our numbers are going to be equal to their numbers, which is what you want. Being the smallest 4A school the last four seasons has been tough.”
The Owls start conference play with Camden Harmony Grove and end the season with three tough teams: Prescott, Smackover and Fordyce.
“I believe all three of those teams are ranked in the top 11 or 12 in the state in every publication that has been shown to me so far,” Haddock said. “So, just understanding that, and Fordyce being an old way-back, throw-back traditional rivalry of McGehee, that in itself is going to add a little pepper to the salt, if you know what I mean.
“There’s still a bunch of McGehee Owls that I know of that are my age that remember a game in 1990 where Fordyce faked three punts and ended up beating us by one touchdown in the state championship game so it’s a game that’s got a lot of history and a lot of tradition and goes back a long time so we’re kind of getting back to some of our old roots,” Haddock said.
McGehee kicks off the year with a preseason game against Monticello in the Hooten’s Classic at UAPB.
Maurice Hudson, Senior, (6, 185) Quarterback, Safety
Steven King, Senior, (5-10, 260) Fullback/Defensive Tackle
Michael Risner, Senior, (5-10, 185) Tightend/Linebacker
Layne Miles, Senior, (6, 185) Offensive Guard/Linebacker
Roger Blackmon, Senior, (5-7, 150) Wingback, Cornerback
Cedric Jones, Senior, (5-10, 160) Offensive Guard, Linebacker
Kendal Handley, Junior, (6-10, 190) Wingback, Safety
Jared Carter, Junior, (5-10, 210) Center, Defensive Tackle
Scott Sims, Junior, (5-11, 275) Defensive Tackle
David Shepard, Junior, (6, 175) Tailback, Cornerback
Davondrick Lison, Junior, (6-2, 190) Split End, Defensive End
Cody Mencer, Junior, (6-1, 220) Right Tackle, Defensive End
Stephon Lee, (5-9, 165) Linebacker
8-28 Monticello – Hooten’s Classic at UAPB. Kickoff – 5:30 p.m.
9-07 Dumas (Away)
9-21 Camden Harmony Grove
9-28 Drew Central (Away)
10-05 Genoa Central (Away)
10-19 Prescott (Away)
11-02 Fordyce (Away)