SPRINGDALE -- Bryan Hutson had to hit the ground running when he accepted the head football coaching position at Elkins late this spring, and he hasn't slowed down much since.
The former Paris coach replaced Chad Harbison, who moved up the road to be an assistant coach at Fayetteville. While Harbison cleaned out his office for the new coach, he left plenty of pieces in the locker room, mainly a number of returning elite-level skill position players.
Southwest Elite 7on7 Showcase
At Springdale High
Derby 12, Springdale 12
Little Rock Christian 29, Rejoice Christian 10
Fort Smith Northside 35, Rejoice Christian 0
Little Rock Christian 14, Stillwater 13
Bixby, Okla. 33, Har-Ber soph. 3
Springdale 29, Little Rock Christian 11
Fort Smith Northside 23, Har-Ber soph. 13
Bixby 28, Stillwater 2
Elkins 20, Springdale 18
Derby 29, Har-Ber soph. 2
Fort Smith Northside 21, Elkins 8
Stillwater 33, Rejoice Christian 12
Bixby 24, Rejoice Christian 4
Springdale 23, Fort Smith Northside 17
Derby 21, Little Rock Christian 18
Stillwater 26, Springdale 7
Derby 26, Fort Smith Northside 18
Bixby 22, Springdale 2
Stillwater 21, Derby 19
Bixby 27, Fort Smith Northside 14
Springdale 22, Rejoice Christian 21
Stillwater 26, Elkins 6
Derby 32, Elkins 15
Little Rock Christian 34, Har-Ber soph. 5
Rejoice Christian 31, Har-Ber soph. 4
Bixby 25, Elkins 16
Stillwater 20, Har-Ber soph. 11
Elkins 25, Rejoice Christian 8
Little Rock Christian 20, Elkins 8
Springdale 18, Har-Ber soph. 2
Derby 19, Bixby 16
Fort Smith Northside 26, Little Rock Christian 14
Ozark vs. LR Christian, 9 a.m.
Mill Valley vs. Glendale JV, 9:30 a.m.
Stillwater vs. Highland, 9 a.m.
Russellville vs. Conway Christian, 9:30 a.m.
Gibson vs. Elkins, 9:30 a.m.
FS Northside vs. Shiloh Christian, 9 a.m.
Har-Ber JV vs. Bentonville, 9:30 a.m.
Springdale vs. Tuttle, 9:30 a.m.
Glendale vs. Oologah, 9 a.m.
Fast Lane Field
Aurora Christian vs. Rejoice Christian, 9:30 a.m.
BYES: Midwest City, Derby, Fayetteville, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Owasso
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: 4:40 p.m. on Walmart Field
They were all on display Friday in the Southwest Elite 7on7 tournament as Elkins took on Springdale High early in the day at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium. The Elks got a big break at the end of the game on a tipped third-down pass in a 20-18 win.
"It was a little late in the year when I got here, but Coach Harbison has done a great job with these kids," Hutson said. "This was a really, really easy transition."
Hutson walked into a program on the rise with an elite quarterback in Quinn McClain, who passed for 2,799 yards and 33 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. Chad Graham is back after a stellar 2017 season with 48 catches for 853 yards 16 touchdowns, and running back Chance Jones also returns after rushing for more than 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns as the Elks move up to the 4A-4 Conference and into a new home stadium.
All three had a big impact on Friday's win as McClain was 12-of-15 and threw scoring passes to Graham and Jones. Jones also had an interception and a big catch in the closing seconds on a ball tipped by Springdale's Chops Sanders on third down that helped the Elks run out the clock. Had the ball not been caught, the score would have been tied at 20-20 on the defensive stop.
"It's a funny game sometimes," Springdale coach Zak Clark said of the tipped pass. "You want to win them all, but we didn't play real well. Right now I'm more concerned with missed assignments, blown coverages and missed routes way more than wins and losses."
Hutson said a win over a Class 7A school was nice but tempered the result as it came in a 7-on-7 passing-only game and not a Friday night regular season contest.
"When you compete, you want to win no matter what you do," Hutson said. "Teams do things differently in 7-on-7 that you won't see on Friday nights, but the main thing I told the kids is that I wanted them to compete."
Springdale fell behind 12-0 but rallied to pull within 14-11 as Grant Allen, a transfer from Springdale Har-Ber, hit Jaden Cornelius on a touchdown pass.
This was Allen's first chance to throw to moving targets since his shoulder surgery earlier this year, Clark said. Allen and incumbent Will Mueller alternated at quarterback Friday and will continue to compete for the starting job, Clark said.
"He's on a pitch count since this is the first week he's been able to really throw," Clark said. "We have a quarterback competition, and they both know that. We'll end up playing the best guy."
The tournament continues today with all games at Shiloh Christian and Southwest Junior High. The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at Champions Stadium.
EXTRA POINTS: Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has become a fixture at this tournament the past several years as his son, Gunnar Gundy, is a junior quarterback for Stillwater, Okla. ... Springdale Har-Ber did not bring in its varsity team for the tournament, instead bringing a junior varsity and sophomore squad. ... Fort Smith Northside rising senior quarterback Derrick Wise looked sharp in leading his team Friday. ... Springdale rebounded from the loss to Elkins to knock off Northside 23-17 as Mueller hit Cornelius three times on the final drive including a short touchdown pass with just seconds left for the win. ... Springdale rising senior Brock Pounders, another transfer from Har-Ber, was injured in the win over Northside after almost making a sensational catch over the middle. He did not return to the game.
Sports on 07/14/2018
Print Headline: Elkins claims opening win