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Maumelle Hornets: Hornets look to build on last month's successesPublished August 25, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
Maumelle opened 4-4A conference play last year with four consecutive wins, but the Hornets closed with four straight losses, including a 55-20 loss at Nashville in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
“We had a decent season last year,” Hornet coach Mike Buchan said of the 4-6 campaign. “We look forward to a better year this year.”
Maumelle opened 2012 with an 18-14 loss to Fountain Lake, and after an open date, the Hornets dropped to 0-2 with a 12-7 loss to Jacksonville.
But they rolled to start the conference schedule, beating Mena, 41-29; Waldron, 42-0; Dover, 42-7; and Subiaco Academy, 41-7. Then they struggled against playoff teams Pottsville, the conference’s second seed, 33-0; Dardanelle, No. 3, 19-14; and Booneville, the champion, 35-16, before the playoff loss at Nashville.
At press time, Buchan said he had several possibilities for the starting lineup, but one thing was definite: After “dabbling” with the Spread offense for the last several years, the Hornets will go full-out in 2013 with the help of new assistant coach Nick Evans, newly arrived from Mineral Springs.
Junior J.B. Minix (5-8, 160) secured the starting quarterback position with his summer work, Buchan said.
“He has been at summer practice by far the most and has shown the most promise of all the quarterbacks,” Buchan said.
Junior Tyshawn Robinson (6-0, 180), as well as Regan Gulley and C.J. Griffen, will also compete there.
Senior Jesse Hopkins (5-10, 175) looks to be the leader at running back, although Buchan said several other Hornets could contribute there, including junior Nick Ingram (5-11, 175); junior Cory Cullens (5-7, 165); junior Jared Hailey (5-9, 160); senior J.D. Russell (5-10, 170); and juniors Garrett Crumley (5-9, 165) and Braylon Waits (5-9, 165).
Receiver, too, has various possibilities, Buchan said, including junior Nabil Bhimani (5-7, 150), junior Gary Burton (6-2, 180), senior Darayun Canada (6-1, 180), junior Michael Cole (6-1, 180), junior Blake Conner (6-1, 185), sophomore Gabe Jones (5-9, 160), junior Chris Ross (5-9, 160), junior Terrence Spratt (5-7, 155) and junior Michael Tidwell (6-1, 175).
Senior Austin Quimby (6-0, 210) returns at center. Also expected to contribute on the line are senior Keon Quince (6-2, 240), junior Jacob Reed (5-10, 190), sophomore Braxton Copeland (6-0, 220), sophomore Sam Edogun (6-0, 180), senior Tyler Iverson (5-7, 220), senior Xavier Jackson (5-9, 310), junior Devin Pittman (5-10, 220), sophomore Jamar Shaw (5-9, 185), sophomore Vaulah Shaw (5-9, 210), senior Fred Smith (6-0, 210), sophomore Jason Uzuh (5-10, 215) and junior Joshua Ware (5-10, 200).
Senior Kendall Donnerson (6-3, 215) returns at defensive end after an all-state campaign there in 2012. Other stalwarts on the defensive line include senior tackle Malique Singleton (6-2, 220) and senior end Don Taggart (6-1, 210). Leading candidates for the linebacking corps, Buchan said, would be Hopkins, junior Michael Cole (6-1, 180) and senior Dan Viera (6-2, 180). Senior J.D. Russell (5-9, 170) is a returning all-state safety. Buchan said Conner, Canada, Ingram and Jones were looking good in the secondary in preseason drills.
Hunter Cockrell returns for his third season as the Hornet placekicker.
Maumelle will open the season Sept. 6 at Fountain Lake.