A strong cadre of senior players should help Coach Phillip Turner complete the turnaround he began last year when he took over his alma mater.
Coach Turner had a seemingly insurmountable task when he took over Hope in 2018: win a game. The program had not added anything in the W column since 2015 when they won the conference championship.
After suffering an average margin of defeat of 41.7 points through the Bobcats’ first three games, Hope almost snapped the 24-game losing streak at De Queen, but the hometown Leopards prevailed in overtime 21-14. However, Coach Turner and his ‘Cats got that elusive win with a 26-20 victory over Hot Springs. What better place to earn it than the friendly confines at Hope High School?
Though it was a solitary win against nine losses in 2018, it was the foundation for something new.
The Bobcats will have experience under center with Hunter Hellums, who is also a pitcher for the Bobcats baseball team. As a field general and a pitcher, Hellums is used to having the game in his hands, which is what Hope needs. Hellums will also have three fellow seniors in the receiving corps with McKinsey Davis, Mekhi Henderson, and Ragee Lawson. While the quarterback and wideout trio are like Moses seeing the Promised Land but not able to enter, the seniors can nonetheless show youngsters Amarion Dempsey and Davion Durden, the sophomore quarterback-receiver duo, how to work and be great in practice to be great in games.
The running game is bolstered by Kenneth Anderson, a junior who was primarily the starter, and senior Kentravious Lawson with sophomore Eric Haney as the third option.
Senior linebacker Ladarius Watson is a four-sport athlete with track, basketball, and baseball part of his calendar year. The all-conference linebacker has a nose for the football both on the ground and in the air. Big plays from Watson and the rest of the defense could choke out opposing offenses or create takeaways to give the Bobcats offense extra possessions.
Fri., 9/6 — at Nashville — 7:30 p.m.
Fri., 9/13 — at Ashdown — 7:30 p.m.
Fri., 9/20 — Prescott — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 9/27 — De Queen* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 10/4 — at Hot Springs* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 10/11 — Little Rock McClellan* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 10/18 — at Hot Springs Lakeside* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 10/25 — Camden Fairview* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 11/1 — at Arkansas High* — 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 11/8 — Magnolia* — 7:00 p.m.
*denotes 5A South conference game