The main focus for Bald Knob this season is to ensure that everyone is doing his job each day to get better.
“The guys are starting to hone their skills in their particular position, and it is easy to see the difference,” Bald Knob head coach Lynn Garner said.
Bald Knob finished 3-7 overall a year ago, winning just three 4A-2 Conference games over Stuttgart, Little Rock Mills and Southside Batesville.
Starting at quarterback this season is junior Leason Pierce, who, Garner said, has had a really good summer in the weight room and is dedicated to learning the playbook. Pierce was the backup quarterback a year ago but did start on the defensive line and at linebacker.
“He is 6-2 and about 195 to 200 pounds, so he is a bigger guy,” Garner said. “He played some running back last year, in short yardage opportunities.”
Senior running back Bradyn Cline has done nothing but excel since Bald Knob returned to practice, including a really good offseason in the spring, before practices were canceled as a result of COVID-19, the coach said.
“He’s shifty, and he makes guys miss,” Garner said. “He has just gotten a ton stronger than he was last year, and he has gotten faster, and even though we didn’t have our normal offseason, he has just developed over the summer.”
Garner said Cline (5-10, 160) can power-clean about 265 to 275 pounds and is “a strong kid for his size.”
Bald Knob will utilize three wide receivers this season, including seniors Matthew Smith and Michael Wingo; and junior Elijah Bradley. Garner said Wingo (5-7, 185) started all 10 games last year and is a bigger guy and is tough to bring down. The coach said that, offensively, the Bulldogs are going to be pretty balanced.
Defensively, Bald Knob has a lot of players both ways, but Garner said he hopes to give the offensive line a break because he wants the Bulldogs to be quick on the defensive line with a three front formation.
Junior nose guard Colbe McBride will probably be the exception, as he is expected to play both ways, the coach said. McBride and senior Jonathan Harrell will anchor the defensive line, and both are big kids at about 250 pounds, Garner said.
“Whichever one is in there, they are going to be double-teamed,” Garner said. “They are going to be making plays all night.”
Junior Miguel Nava played defensive line last year in spots and has a year of experience but probably won’t start on offense. The coach did say Nava might rotate in at the tight-end position on occasion.
Junior Davison Dunn is a newcomer to the team after moving from Texas around Christmastime last year. He is expected to start at inside linebacker. Sophomore Cody Gomez will play at the other linebacker position after playing on the defensive line at the junior high level.
“Our running backs are doing great, and so are our guys in the secondary,” Garner said. “We are only replacing one guy back there, and they are all getting better — that’s all I can ask.”