Football Preview of the teams in the River Valley and Ozark Edition area.READ ONLINE
Central Arkansas Christian MustangsPublished October 27, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
Coach: Matt Hall, first year
Assistant coaches: Hayden Cruce, Jordan Watson
2012-13 record: 26-6 overall and 14-0 conference, district champion, Class 4A Region champion. Lost in quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Tournament to Pocahontas, 45-31.
Returning starters: None.
Best inside players: Stephen Flanigan, a 6-3 junior, has good size and is a “very good athlete,” Hall said. Flanigan is one of the football Mustangs’ go-to wide receivers.
Best outside players: Davis Allen, a 6-0 junior shooting guard, is strong and smart, the coach said. “He shoots the ball well and plays very aggressively.” Joseph Strange, a 6-0 senior, is “very strong and very aggressive,” Hall said.
How will you match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year?: The Mustangs had a magical season last year, the third and final one for Steve Quattlebaum, the legendary Lady Mustang coach, to pull double duty with both CAC teams. With his decision to return full-time to the girls and the graduation of six seniors, including five starters, the Mustangs are in major rebuilding mode. But several players return from the squad that won 19 consecutive games and 24 of 25 before falling in the state tournament, so they know what it takes to win.
Team strengths: Hall, whose hiring was announced in December, said the 2013-14 Mustang roster includes a number of players who could contribute. “We will look to use our depth to our advantage this year,” he said.
Team weaknesses: Although Hall likes what he has seen of his team, he has not had much time with the entire team together because of summer conflicts and then football season. The Mustangs have some maturity but not much varsity experience.
Games to watch: Rivals Pulaski Academy, Arkansas Baptist and Little Rock Christian are always interesting contests.
Toughest opponent: The4A-7 race should be wide open, with Arkansas Baptist probably the favorite. Malvern and Arkadelphia also have several returning players.
College prospects: Flanigan has the potential to play at the next level.
In a nutshell: Hall holds bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and sports management as well as a master’s in education from Harding University, where he was named Player of the Decade by the Gulf South Conference. He scored at least 30 points 13 times for the Bisons and had his jersey retired. He played professionally in Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico and Australia before coaching girls at Jackson Christian School in Jackson, Tenn., then moving to Little Rock and becoming head of basketball operations and coach of the Arkansas Magic AAU program.