HOPE – The Hope High School Bobcat football program will get its first genuine test of the season Friday in a non-conference bout against Little Rock Mills as the Cats bring back some experience from last year on both sides of the ball.
Bobcat Head Football Coach Phillip Turner has been pleased with what he has seen in preseason workouts and in the Cats’ three-way benefit outing against Dierks and Fouke.
Turner said after the evening that, “we still have a lot of improving to do,” but he was pleased with his team’s ability to adjust when Dierks showed looks the Cats had never seen.
Turner also likes the looks of his offensive line which carries more height and weight than in the past and the speed of his defensive backfield.
Hope runs the spread offense with senior Amorrion Dempsey figuring in as the Cats’ quarterback after an all-state selection last season at the spot.
Dempsey will work with senior Kajuan Booker at running back and sophomores Tamorien Lindsey and Kadarius Gulley, both 1,000-yard rushers last season, while hometown returnees K.J. Love from Oklahoma and Ty’Zhun Jones from Tennessee will work the air with Dempsey.
Defensively, the Cats will be in a 4-2-5 with senior defensive ends Montavius Eason, healthy after knee issues last year, working with Davion Durden. Seniors Kearon Brown and Javarous Solomon also return in the defensive backfield.
But, the Cats face a question mark in Little Rock Mills, Turner admits.
“They are an athletic team,” he said. “They went two rounds deep in the playoffs in 2020.”
The Comets run the Wishbone on offense with five wides and the 3-4 on defense, Turner said. But, Mills played no scrimmage games this year, and Turner said that is unusual.
And, they are bringing a top tier college prospect into their offense this year with Watson Chapel transfer Jabrae Shaw, who is being actively recruited by the University of Memphis.
Game time Friday is 7 p.m. at Hammons Stadium and tickets will be on sale at the 18th Street entrance for $5 each. Hammons Stadium will be under a 75 percent of capacity rule due to COVID-19, and face masks are required on the grounds and in the stands.