Home Nashville Sports Like father, like son: Scrapper football runs deep

Like father, like son: Scrapper football runs deep

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LUKE REEDER
SPORTS REPORTER
NASHVILLE –For every
player on the Nashville High
School Scrapper Football
Team the day of Dec. 12, 2015
will always be a day that will
be special for them, but for
two of the Scrappers winning
the state title means just as
much to them as it does to
their fathers.
father son1
For sophomore free safety
and corner Kailus Hughes
and junior Marquell McFalls
winning a state title was just
following in the footsteps of
their fathers who played for
the Scrappers in 1996 when
Nashville went undefeated
and won a state title.
Hughes’ father Cleotus
Hughes was a big part of that
winning effort in 1996. Cleotus
was the running back and
strong safety for the Scrappers
during his playing time.
The ‘96 team was a team that
was playing for redemption
for their loss in the state title
game in the 1995 season, “I
believe it was a one score
game we lost so we were
determined to get back there
the next season. We had a lot
of seniors returning and when
we started playing we were
beating up on some boys,”
Cleotus explained. Cleotus
said the only close test they
had the whole season was
against Ashdown in the third
game of the season, “We had
one close game and it was
the third game of the season
against Ashdown. I believe
we beat them 43-40 and then
from there on we did not
look back. We pretty much
handled everyone from then
to the state game in Little
Rock,” Cleotus said. Making
it to state for the second
year in a row Cleotus and the
Scrappers were prepared to
leave with a title the second
go around, “I thought this
was our year. I knew the guys
were prepared and the coaches
did a good job of preparing
us and getting us ready. We
got the guys together and we
knew it was our time to end
the season 15-0.” Cleotus said.
Hughes like his father and
the ‘96 team was confident at
the start of the season, “We
had a bunch of confidence
going into the season with the
new coaches and the new system,
so we figured that since
we were doing something different
we would have an edge
on everyone else,” Hughes explained.
Like his father’s team
before him the team this past
season had some close calls,
“Going into the first game and
getting a one point win over
Hope was a wakeup call for
us. After Hope we blew out
pretty much everybody until
we made it to Fountain Lake
which was another one point
game that came down to the
final play.” But after the close
calls Hughes and his team
like his father’s team breezed
through the rest of the season
and the postseason all
the way to War Memorial. At
the title game against Prairie
Grove, Hughes and his team
felt like they had an edge
on Prairie Grove because
of some helpful words from
past champions, “The help
from Greg Washington and
Leslie Hendrix really helped
us because they said
something that really
touched us all. They said
we were made to be state
champions and it was their
(Prairie Grove) first go at it
and that we had done it before
and I think that gave us
an edge over them,” Hughes
continued.
McFalls father Phalondo
“Moon” Ware was a player
that posed a threat on both
sides of the ball for the ‘96
championship team playing
linebacker, defensive
tackle and offensive guard.
Like his teammate Cleotus,
Ware believed the team
was prepared going into the
championship game, “The
coaches had us prepared
and we were ready. For us
the season actually started
with Ashdown and when we
came back and beat them in
that close game the rest of
the season was smooth sailing.
We all stayed focused
academically and that was
an important part of our
success,” Ware said. Ware
said the biggest part of that
season was the brotherhood
that was gained from it, “The
brotherhood of that season,
having all of our coaches and
teachers like parents and we
were treated like men. We
were held responsible for
our actions on and off the
field and in the classroom.”
McFalls going into his
championship season was
mindful of the ones that wore
the uniform before him and
the people who watched
the Scrappers every Friday,
“We played for not only
each other this last season
but also for our peers and
those that played before us,”
McFalls stated. This past
season McFalls believed that
teamwork was one of the
most important elements
that lead them to a title, “We
stayed focused as a team
and we did not try to pass
the load off on one play but
instead play as a team and
share the load. We really
stepped up during the Arkadelphia
game and realized
we had to stop playing one
on one ball but instead play
as a team.” Going into the
state game McFalls called
his father for help, “I called
him (Ware) after watching a
video about the past championship
teams in class and
said it is kind of crazy to
know that I have a father
who played 20 years ago
and now I was following in
his footsteps. A lot of kids do
not get to do that or make it
to that point where they can
say they are in their father’s
shoes. It meant a lot to him
to have me call and say how
much I appreciated him and
the others that played with
him and helped us.”
But their fathers’ presence
on the football field did
not start this past year but
when Hughes and McFalls
were kids.
For Cleotus watching his
son and his peers grow up
playing pee-wee football
together he knew they were
able to win a state title if they
stayed together, “Watching
his class play pee-wee
football and the athletes he
had on his team was unbelievable.
I knew there was
always a possibility that if
they stuck together and
worked hard to get bigger
and better as they got older
they had a chance.” But it
was surprising for Cleotus
to have his son’s team win
a title that quick, “I did not
think it would happen this
soon for his class, maybe
when he was a senior but
watching the seniors play
this year it was loaded with
talent,” Cleotus said.
For Hughes, his dad always
had wise words to
help him, “I never heard the
end of it,” Hughes joked. He
continued to explain that
his dad pushed him to hit
the weights hard and run so
he could compete with his
teammates who had a size
advantage on him. Hughes
was told that he had to work
harder than the next guy by
his dad because he smaller
than other kids on the team
so his dad said, “When you
are smaller you have just
that much to prove because
you are not given the same
opportunity as a lot of kids
that may be the same speed
as you but be a little bigger
than you. You just have to
work that much harder than
the next guy.”
For Ware, he too felt that
his son was able to win a
state title from the pee-wee
days, “He played pee-wee
football from around third
grade and continued to play
football until his ninth grade
year when I held him out,”
Ware explained. For McFalls
dad academics were a bigger
priority than football, “I held
him out his ninth and tenth
grade years and he wasn’t
doing terrible in his academics
but I knew he could do
better and I told him that if
he could not get his grades
better he wouldn’t play and
watching his teammates go
undefeated his ninth grade
year and then doing good
his tenth grade year, I think
he got it together.”
For both players this year
will never be forgotten. Not
only for the state title that
was won but for the opportunity
to be able to be like
their fathers and even have
the chance to do it again
next year.