FFN Countdown Day 11: Ozark Hillbillies
Coach: Jeremie Burns
2012: 12-3, 5-2
Returning Starters: 2 OFF/2 DEF
Sept. 6 Booneville
Sept. 13 at Clarksville
Sept. 20 Charleston
Sept. 27 at Prairie Grove
Oct. 4 Berryville
Oct. 11 at Gravette
Oct. 18 Pea Ridge
Oct. 25 at Farmington
Nov. 1 at Lincoln
Nov. 8 Gentry
Ozark wasn’t supposed to be the final team standing from the 4A-1. The Hillbillies weren’t supposed to sweep Booneville. Jeremie Burns’ team wasn’t supposed to be in the Championship game.
But they did and they were.
“Coming off a state title, of course we want to get back there,” said senior linebacker Wade Barham. “It’s just going to take a lot of hard work.”
Now Ozark has to replace 18 starters from last year’s 12-3 team, but the cupboard isn’t exactly bare.
“We have great expectations for our team this year,” said senior running back Josef Asbeck. “We are doing great at practice.”
“We’ve got some juniors and sophomores ready to step in,” said head coach Jeremie Burns. “These seniors have worked hard, practicing against some good players the last couple years. We should be ready to go.”
Josef Asbeck will take over at running back after rushing for more than 600 yards last season as a junior. Quarterback Ryan Jenkins will have plenty of weapons to choose from in the Hillbillies spread offense as a hand full of players return with experience as well as Gage Battles moving in from Alma.
Jacob Tooley will anchor the offensive line as he returns for his third straight season at center.
Experience is hard to come by for Ozark but if the Hillbillies want to gain momentum early, they’ll have to knock off rival Booneville for the fourth straight time on Sept. 6
“They are a big rival game,” said Burns. “We beat them last year and hopefully we can continue that trend.”