Conway Christian School is gearing up for year two as a football-playing institution.
The Eagles kicked off preparations for the 2019 campaign by spending a recent Friday night in the gymnasium and participating in team activities, including Bible study, before hitting the practice field early Saturday morning for a workout.
The varsity team was working out at 6:30 a.m. last week in an effort to beat the heat and get in as much work as possible before school starts.
“The kids are excited about it,” coach Steve Hart said. “They’re excited about getting to play a full season.”
The varsity team played just two games in 2018, with several games being canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
“We were supposed to play six games, but we didn’t get to play four of them because we were not in school,” Hart said.
The Eagles return a host of players from this past year’s inexperienced team that split a pair of contests.
“We have a lot of guys returning,” Hart said. “The good thing is we at least have people who have played in a game. We have a couple of games worth of experience. Last year it was like walking in blind. We had a couple who had played recreation league football, but most had never played football at all.”
The only three seniors on the 2018 team were Chandler Todd, Noah Jackson and Todd Jones. Although all three players will be sorely missed, Todd’s departure means there will be a new man taking the snaps under center this year. The heir apparent is freshman Reid Richardson.
Team captains are seniors Trent Hucks and Jacob Bowers. Hucks will be a stalwart at center and linebacker while Bowers will see action at offensive guard and defensive end. Other key returnees include Josiah Crawford and Nolan Crawford at tailback, Lucian Mincey at fullback and linebacker, as well as Will Hucks, Landon Allen and Christian Sams on the offensive and defensive lines. Key newcomers include Mikias Thompson, who will run cross-country and play football this year.
Hart is counting on Thompson at running back and defensive back. Another key newcomer is senior Cory Crosby, who has chosen to play football this year. He will also see action at running back and defensive back. Hart is also counting heavily on Jack Fleming and Deantre Onley.
“We have pretty good size,” Hart said.
The varsity Eagles will play eight-man football this year, while the middle school team will play 11-man football.
“Our middle school team will start Aug. 15,” Hart said. “We have around 20 kids and they will play a regular six-game schedule. We may pick up a few more players when school starts Aug. 19. The middle school guys are excited. We have a good group of them. They will also get an opportunity to dress out on Fridays.”
John Goldston will assist Hart with the coaching duties on the varsity team. Tim Hutson will serve as head coach of the middle school team with assistance from Corey Bryan.