HOPE – Elvis Presley always walked onto stage reminding his musicians it was “Time to take care of business.” Hope Bobcat Head Football Coach Phillip Turner is preaching that mantra to what he believes will be an improved Hope High School football team this year.
“Me and my coaches just preach daily to our players, ‘Take care of Hope first and everything else will follow,’” Turner said as the Cats wrapped up a 7 on 7 series with Camden-Fairview and Prescott. “
This year’s team will probably be the most balanced team I’ve had since I have been here, with a good number of veterans coming back, and a good number of young players moving up,” Turner said.
With that mix, he said depth problems from the last couple of years are less troublesome.
“I believe this could be the best team I’ve had collectively position by position, which gives us a little more depth at certain positions,” Turner said.
But more is always better.
“I still wish we had more players out, but I’m so proud of the guys we have,” Turner said.
The Cats made the Class 5A playoffs last season in a dicey COVID-19 affected year as underdogs throughout the season, eventually falling to Morrilton.
“Everyone is bringing back the buck of their teams,” Turner said. “Conference is going to be very competitive.”
The Cats will open conference play at Homecoming on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. against DeQueen.
“Hot Springs Lakeside is the defending conference champ, so everyone is chasing them,” Turner said.
Opening non-conference play on Aug. 17 in a benefit game against Fouke at Fouke, the Bobcats take on Little Rock Mills in the home opener On Aug. 27 at Hammons Stadium at 7 p.m.
Then, the Cats match against three traditional rivals, beginning with Nashville away on Sept. 3, then staying on the road to Ashdown on Sept. 10. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m. Hope returns to Hammons Stadium Sept. 17 against Prescott at 7 p.m.
All remaining games on the 2021 schedule will begin at 7 p.m., including:
Sept. 24 – DeQueen (Homecoming), Home
Oct. 1 – Hot Springs, Away
Oct. 8 – OPEN
Oct. 15 – Lakeside, Away
Oct. 22 – Camden, Home
Oct. 29 – Texarkana, Away
Nov. 5 – Magnolia, Home
The Yerger Middle School program will open with a benefit game against Nashville on Aug. 19 at Hammons Stadium at 6 p.m., Turner said.