ON THE COVER: Player to watch - Cleo FloydREAD ONLINE
Bauxite Miners: Bauxite headed in right directionPublished August 25, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.
Bauxite coach Shane Clancy said last year’s 2-10 season could have been better if the Miners could have been strong late in the game. Still, the Miners would have made the playoffs if they could have scored just one more time, in any way, against Ashdown in the fourth quarter of the two squads’ game.
“Our first half is good; it is the other half that hurt us,” Clancy said. “We let two games slip away and lost after having a 20-point lead.”
However, the coach said things could be different this year.
“We continue to take steps in the right direction,” he said. “We have 14 seniors and around 40 players who won their letter last year. We also have as many as 20 players coming up from junior high who could play a role.”
The team has reached a point where few players are called on to play on both sides of the ball, Clancy said
This year, the Miners will work from the Spread, trying to open up their games, the coach said. Bauxite will use what the opposition gives them.
“If they block our run, we’ll throw for a touchdown,” Clancy said.
Senior Trent Rooks (5-11, 165) and junior Ben Madison (6-2, 190), both of whom did not play last year, are considered the starters. In addition, sophomore Zach Baxley (5-9, 140), who led the junior high Miners to a 6-3 season last year, took snaps during spring drills.
Senior receiver Trent Taylor (6-0, 150) is set to be the big-play man for the team. Dan Gallion (5-8, 185), a senior, has good hands, Clancy said, and senior Justin Warren (5-9, 145) is the speed expert. Both are three-year players. Madison will also be a key to the receiver corps.
“Madison can run and help us in many ways,” said Clancy, who will also use him at cornerback.
In the backfield, sophomore Blaze Vinyard (5-10, 135) will be the tailback, while juniors Tyler Kemp (5-6, 190) and Estevan Padillo will also share running-back chores. Plus, senior Falcon Barnett (5-10, 150) will see time in the backfield.
Kemp, who was a defensive starter last year, will be the outside linebacker this season under new defensive coordinator Mike Guthrie.
“He is a winner, and I like Mike’s enthusiasm,” coach Clancy said about his new coach.
Two-year player Hayden Vocque (5-6, 130), the Miners’ leading tackler, again lines up at linebacker, but the coach said he can and might play anywhere.
Much is expected from another second-year player, Blake Yates (5-10, 195).
“He can stop the run and rush the passer,” Clancy said.
“Matt Bentley (a 5-9, 145 junior) and Alex Mendoza (a 5-8, 165 senior) are our most experienced players on defense,” the coach said. “They will be the leaders of the secondary.” Both play safety.
Bauxite faces another tough season, especially in the 7-4A Conference. The team has its eyes on the game with Glen Rose, after losing 35-0 last year to the Beavers.
“That was tough. We had to live through the offseason with that,” Clancy said. “All our conference games will be important.”
The coach said there are plenty of experienced players on the team, and they are especially good at the skill positions.
“They have a great work ethic, and this year will be better,” he said. “The seniors want to go out the right way.”
Still, he said, the team lacks speed and size, but the coach added, “We’re getting bigger.”