Vilonia Coach Todd Langrell heads into his second season at the Faulkner County school believing that the Eagles can improve.
The Eagles were 4-6 last season in Langrell's first season at Vilonia after he arrived from Mayflower.
"The kids are doing what they're supposed to be doing," said Langrell after Friday's pool play in the Shootout of the South 7-on-7 tournament at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock. "We're going to get better and better."
Sophomore quarterback Austin Myers, senior wide receiver Tyler Moran and senior running back Draven Smith have stood out for Vilonia so far this offseason.
On Myers, Langrell has compared him to former Greenbrier quarterback Neal Burcham, whom he coached as an assistant with the Panthers in 2009-11.
Vilonia played in Saturday's Shootout of the South championship game, but lost to defending Class 7A state champion Bryant 35-14. The Eagles
Playing in the Shootout of the South was important for the Eagles, Langrell said.
"Any time we get to compete in the summer is beneficial," Langrell said. "We need to work on our defense and making good angles. It's the fine details we can work on.
"This tournament is the elite tournament in 7-on-7 in this state. We're proud to be able to compete against some of these teams."
Langrell believes the Eagles can compete this season in the 5A-West Conference.
"We got the pieces," Langrell said. "We just have to put them altogether. We hope they can live up to what we expect."
Vilonia opens the season Sept. 6 at Little Rock Christian.
Coming off a Class 6A state championship game appearance, there's good reason why Benton Coach Brad Harris is hopeful that the Panthers can get back to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock in December.
However, Harris is looking for the quarterback situation to be more stable thanks to better health.
The quarterback position has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons. Senior Peyton Hudgins broke his collarbone in 2017 and 2018, leaving Colen Morrow, Garrett Brown and Gavin Wells to take snaps at quarterback. Morrow has graduated, while Wells is back at wide receiver and Brown returns for his junior season.
Harris believes that if Brown and Hudgins can stay healthy, the Panthers will be in good shape at quarterback.
"The key for us is whether we can stay healthy at the position," Harris said. "Hudgins as a sophomore [in 2017] we felt like he was going to be our starting quarterback got a broken collarbone. Then, last year, we had him and Colen Morrow coming back, then Peyton goes down in preseason again with a broken collarbone and we miss him all year. Colin tore his ACL, then gets hurt again last year. We had Garrett Brown come in last year and he did a heck of a job for us last year.
"We feel like we have two good guys in Garrett Brown and Peyton Hudgins. They're different. Peyton is a dual-threat guy that can throw it, but can also bring a lot to the table with his legs. Garrett is your typical pocket-passer. We're really excited about the two guys we have back right now."
Benton plays Saline County rival Bryant in the Salt Bowl on Aug. 30 at War Memorial Stadium.
The Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star football game is Saturday at Estes Stadium in Conway. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Conway's Keith Fimple is coaching the East team and Benton's Brad Harris leads the West team. ... Bentonville West won the Alma 7-on-7 Showcase tournament Saturday, defeating Mansfield 30-28 on Saturday at Alma High School. ... The Arkansas Activities Association's two-week dead period begins June 23. Schools can resume athletic activities July 8.
High school football coaching changes
SCHOOL NEW COACH PREVIOUS COACH
Bald Knob Lynn Garner Randy Johnston
Barton Paul Burkhead Van Paschal
Bearden Greg Anthony Trey Outlaw
Beebe Chris Gunter John Shannon
Bigelow Luke Starks Jeff Starks
Cabot Scott Reed Mike Malham
Cedar Ridge Josh Austin Danny Brustrom
Charleston Ricky May Greg Kendrick
Corning Larry Treadway Joey Moseley
Des Arc Tyler Paschal Drake Widener
Dover Reed Mendoza Greg Smith
El Dorado Steven Jones Scott Reed
Fayetteville Casey Dick Billy Dawson
Foreman Adrian Ivory Mark King
Fouke Trent Wilson Trent Wilson*
Fountain Lake Brandon Barbaree JD Plumlee
Gosnell Lewis Earnest Brandon Barbaree
Gravette TBD Doug Greenwood
Hackett Michael Meador Lonnie Hester
Hampton Doug Means Wes Ables
Huntsville Matt Williams Randy Barnhill
Johnson Co. Westside TBD Nick Brill
Junction City Brad Smith Steven Jones
Lavaca Mark Headley Brian Schlinker
Lonoke Harry Wright Taggart Moore
Magnolia Mark King John Panter
Malvern JD Plumlee Mike Scarborough
Marshall Greg Bigham Joseph Morse
Mena TBD Tim Harper
Mills Cortez Lee Patrick Russell
Monticello TBD Robbie Coplin
Mount Ida Zack Wuichet Michael White
Parkers Chapel Elliot Jacobs Jacob Midyett
Pine Bluff Rod Stinson Bobby Bolding
Riverview Drake Widener Larry Davison*
Rogers Heritage Steve Hookfin Tony Travis
Rose Bud Greg Tibbitt Scotty Starkey
Van Buren Crosby Tuck Casey Dick
Walnut Ridge Jeff Blake Larry Treadway
Western Yell County Kodi Hamlin Chris Morphis
White Hall Bobby Bolding Mike Vaughn
*Interim NOTE Send any news/additions to email@example.com
Sports on 06/16/2019
Print Headline: Vilonia looks for more gain