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Dover Pirates: Pirates hope to improve in 2013Published August 25, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
Dover struggled through a 1-9 record last year in coach Greg Smith’s debut season.
The Pirates were outscored 379-135 in a campaign that included a bright spot — a 49-22 win at Waldron in 2012.
Losses came against Atkins, 34-18; Arkansas Baptist, 20-14; Lincoln, 26-0; Dardanelle, 44-6; Mena, 48-7; Maumelle, 42-7; Pottsville, 53-20; Booneville, 49-14; and Subiaco, 41-0.
The Pirates finished seventh (1-6) in the loaded 4-4A. Booneville and Pottsville tied for the conference title; the Bearcats reached the Class 4A state quarterfinals with the Apaches falling in the second round. Other playoff teams were Dardanelle, the third seed, which fell to the eventual state champion, Stuttgart, in the second round; Maumelle, which fell to Nashville in the opening round; and Mena, which upset Arkadelphia, top seed from the 7-4A, in the first round before falling to Ozark, the eventual state runner-up, in the second.
Thirty lettermen return to the Pirates for a squad that is working to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since an eight-win season in 2009. Dover will run the Spread offense and a 4-front defensive scheme.
Smith said the Pirates’ strength this season will be desire. The major weakness, at least early, will be youth, but the young players will get opportunities to mature quickly.
Returning starters on offense include sophomore Luke Price (6-2, 190), who played up as a freshman last year; senior left tackle Jesse Flores (5-10, 265); senior receiver Kendall Standridge (5-9, 145); junior left guard Ty Morphis (6-3, 250); and junior receivers Ethan Davis (6-2, 190), Dalton Haynes (6-2, 180) and Chance Stines (5-8, 145).
Returning defensive starters include Davis at outside linebacker, Stines at cornerback and junior Cort Griffen (5-10, 185) at middle linebacker.
Smith has several sophomores who could be counted on quickly, including running back/linebacker Christian Ewing (5-11, 230), linebacker Jacob Janseen (6-0, 185), defensive tackle Kaleb Fondren (5-9, 260), defensive ends Nick Warren (5-10, 190) and Tristan Enos (5-10, 220), offensive guard David Beavers (6-2, 250) and running back/defensive back Justin Rothman (5-7, 135).
Senior lineman Austin Leavell (6-2, 265) is a transfer from Pottsville. Sophomore running back/linebacker Dakota Sherrill transferred from Nashville.
Smith said he expects Booneville, Pottsville, Maumelle and Dardanelle to return to the playoffs in 2013. Mena was the fifth seed last year, but he said Subiaco would contend for that position this fall.
He hopes the Pirates are in the mix as well.