Magazine Rattler head coach Doug Powell doesn’t have some of the problems he typically has this time of year.
A primary problem during fall camp in most years is attendance by his players. The school district solved that by starting the school year on July 30 under what superintendent Brett Bunch calls a hybrid schedule.
That isn’t to say Powell doesn’t have problems.
Asked after a rep by one set of 11 players during a team offense drill Thursday if that was his “ones” Powell responded he didn’t have ones yet.
“We won’t know who is where until next week,” he said. “We’ve got people we can plug into different spots depending upon need and or situation. It’s a good problem to have.”
The number of players in uniform doesn’t quite match the glory days of the program — 2009-2011 — but with 22 players, Powell and his staff has the most depth on their roster with which to work since that era.
For instance, Thursday there were three centers working in Zach Scott, Bryce McDowell and William King. Along with those three are experience returnees Jay Thao, Andy Yang and senior Justin Rongey trying to land starting lineup announcements of the public address systems.
Quarterback choices include Xeng Yang, who shared the job last year with the graduated Trevor Blake, and Tatum Scott, who scored 16 touchdowns for the junior high.
Yang ran for 492 yards and six touchdowns in combined roles last year.
The last time opposing defenses had to contend with Scott and Yang, they had a junior high unbeaten season.
The fullback role is secure with Caleb Hyatt, who ran for 735 yards and six touchdowns and also led the team in tackles, but like Scott, coming up from junior high is Kobe Faughn who Powell will be looking to place as well.
Hyatt had 957 yards from scrimmage and, combined with return yards had 1193 all purpose yards as a sophomore.
Not to mention returners Tsim Neej Vang and Luke Short.
For their part Powell’s fellow Conference 2A-4 coaches aren’t convinced. In a poll conducted by Hooten’s Arkansas Football magazine, the coaches picked the Rattlers fifth in the conference, which is where Magazine finished last year to end a three year playoff appearance drought.
That is likely because the five Rattler wins in 2017 included two against JV teams, over two teams picked behind them this year and one over Decatur, who has already abandoned their season to play 8-man football as a club sport.
Projected ahead of the Rattlers are Hector, Mountainburg, Hackett and Lavaca.
The Hector pick is in spite of the Wildcats being one of three teams under new head coaches — the others are Johnson County Westside and Western Yell County.