By John R. Schirmer
The wait is over. Scrapper fans have been looking for the first game of 2017 ever since Pea Ridge shocked Nashville 53-28 at home in the Class 4A quarterfinals last November, ending a season which many had thought would conclude at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The Scrappers posted a record of 11-1.
The new season begins Friday when Hope (0-10 last season) comes to Scrapper Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. “This is a game that’s always going to be exciting,” Coach Mike Volarvich said. “We’re back at home to play it this year. The last time, we won a one-point game here. It was down to the wire” in 2015.
Last year at Hope, “We jumped out early and put up 61 points in the first half. We hit on some really big plays. Guys stepped up and made the plays,” Volarvich said.
This season, “Hope has some speed. They have guys who can run really well. Defensively, they apply a lot of pressure. They have an attacking style defense,” Volarvich said.
In the 2016 meeting, “We didn’t have sustained drives. We scored fast. I want to see if we can sustain a drive without shooting ourselves in the foot,” Volarvich said.
Senior Tyler Hanson will be the starting quarterback for the Scrappers, backed up by junior Jake Moorer. Receivers include Dominick Kight, Jhalon Finley, Garrett Lance, Miguel Bustos and Levester Gilliard.
Offensive linemen include Miguel Hernandez, Jon Hagler rotating with Chris Waldrop, Ryan Brown, Shun Childress, Robert Dunham and Tyae Harris.
Running backs are Trent Harris and Carmillias Morrison. Fullbacks include Dalton Potter and Armani Hatchet.
Defensive linemen will be D’Ante Jefferson, Tyae Harris and C.J. Adams, with linebackers Lance Easter, Darren May, Potter and Isaac Johnson.
The secondary includes Davion Holmes, Kailus Hughes, Jordan White, Jamarte Gillam and Colton Patterson.
Kickers will be Noe Hernandez and Jhonny Pioquinto.
After Hope, the Scrappers will have non-conference games at De Queen Sept. 8 and Idabel Sept. 15, with the kickoff for both games set for 7:30 p.m.
District 7-4A will begin Sept. 22 at Arkadelphia. All conference games will begin at 7 p.m.