Warriors’ inaugural eight-man football season will be a learning experience

Warriors'
Trinity Christian coach Caleb Price is interviewed Saturday by Jim Davenport at the Fox Sports Fan Fest at Texarkana's Central Mall.

 

Trinity Christian Schools in Texarkana now has high school football fans. Hopefully, these folks will be realistic and patient.

The Warriors will be a handful of schools in Arkansas this fall playing eight-man football. Unlike Trinity Christian, some of the schools have a long tradition in 11-man football, and they’re stepping down in class because of low numbers. Augusta and Decatur are two such schools that won consistently in Class 2A.

Trinity Christian’s first-year experience should be exciting if the Warriors can keep eight healthy bodies on a smaller football field. TCS will be playing all of its games on the road in 2019, most being located in the northern and eastern sections of the state.

“Right now we’ve got nine players on the high school team, but we’re expecting a few more,” said rookie head coach Caleb Price. “Some of the kids had summer jobs. We’re also fielding a junior high team this year.”

It should be noted that eight-man football is just like 11-man in most cases. The playing field is smaller, only 40 yards wide. Some fields are 100 yards long, and some as short as 80 yards. Games are usually high scoring as you might expect.

Warriors have talent in 2019

Price will have talent on the Warriors’ inaugural squad. The team has size, but that’s not necessarily a good thing in eight-man.

Look for Trinity Christian to rely on a ground-oriented offense.

“A lot of what we’ll be doing is ground and pound; wear the opponent out,” said Price. “We’ll pass some, too, but we want to beat them on the ground.

“We’ve got quite a bit of size up front, and the ones that don’t have size have quite a bit of athleticism. We have a good rotation for our line, and the big guys are not slow.”

Zach Franklin will lead Warriors’ offense

If you’ve watched a Trinity Christian practice, the Warriors’ size is the first thing to catch your eye. Junior quarterback Zach Franklin might be the next thing. He’s over six-feet tall with good quickness and a strong arm.

“Franklin is a very good athlete with good leadership skills,” said Price. “He’s mentally and physically tough.”

Others contributing this season will be Griffin Brocato, Matthew Jones, Jayce Leeper, George Cox, Hunter Phillips, Thompson Kemp, McCall Warren and J.J. Lane.

“Jones will be one of our centers; he played football in California before coming here,” said Price. “He’s been a big help, helping other linemen out. His experience and ability is going to help us a lot.”

Kemp is the team’s fastest player. Price said he’s working on ways to get the diminutive speedster in space, and on the edge. Warren is labeled a bull, not shy of trying to run over two or three tacklers.

The Warriors’ season kicks off Aug. 30 at Southwest Christian in Little Rock. The next two Fridays they play at Hermitage and Brinkley. A bye-week follows, with TCS concluding its season at Woodlawn, Augusta, Western Yel, Decatur and Episcopal of Little Rock.