In terms of wins and losses, there hasn’t been a lot to smile about over the past seven years for North Pulaski.
The Falcons have won just six games since 2006, a stretch that includes two winless seasons on the field. North Pulaski finished 0-10 in 2011, but Crossett later had to forfeit a 40-29 victory because of noncertified coaches on its staff. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, and coach Teodis Ingram is determined to see that his team reaches it.
North Pulaski won its first game of the 2012 season, a 13-12 come-from-behind victory over Little Rock Fair. But the Falcons struggled throughout the rest of the campaign in losing their final eight games. Of those eight losses, six were by 26 points or more.
The good news for the Falcons is that several of those players who experienced those lopsided losses are back this season and ready to make amends.
North Pulaski has 10 starters returning with the expectations that they can help the team reach the postseason for the first time in the school’s history.
Early prognostications, though, insist that Ingram’s team may fall short of that goal. North Pulaski was picked to finish eighth in the 5A-Central conference by the league’s coaches in their preseason poll. Pulaski Academy, a state semifinalist a year ago, is again the choice to win the conference, followed by Jacksonville and Pulaski Mills. Those three teams outscored North Pulaski 143-21 during their 2012 regular-season meetings. The Falcons will play all three during a key four-week span, beginning with a home encounter with Pulaski Academy on Sept. 27.
Junior Michael Barnes (5-11, 165) and senior Steven Farrior (6-2, 170) battled throughout the spring at quarterback for the right to lead Ingram’s Spread offense. Whoever gets the nod in the season-opener against Fair will have the pressure of leading and producing immediately for an offense that scored just 58 points total in its eight conference games.
Ingram will have a trio of running backs that he’ll depend on to churn up yardage on the ground. Senior tailback Fred Thomas (5-9, 180) and juniors Deandre Allen (5-7, 145) and David Jackson (5-10, 225) provide depth and stability in the backfield. All three have specific attributes that give the Falcons different dimensions in their group attack.
North Pulaski’s backfield will also have a fairly experienced offensive line, which could turn out to be the team’s biggest strong point. Seniors Jesse Ringold (6-2, 210) and Dakota Wilson (6-3, 265) are three-year starters who were a part of the last Falcons team to take a league game.
Ingram and his team know they need to be much improved on defense, as well, if they’re to compete in 2013. North Pulaski’s defense will be a junior-laden bunch, led by defensive ends Tracy Reed (6-2, 210) and Keaton Nichols (6-3, 215). Classmate Brandon Greene (5-10, 260) is expected to be the team’s “run stopper” inside.
Both Thomas and Jackson will double up from their running back positions to linebacker on defense, while juniors Jessie Baltimore (5-9, 145) and Dontrell Allen (5-6, 175) man the corners.