GRAVETTE (KFSM)-- Gravette head coach Bill Harrelson gets intense during practice. A lineman jogging back to the huddle? Whole team drops for push-ups. So when the Lions gather around their coach at the end of practice, they expect more of the same.
"Alright, good practice today, but we're not done. Everyone go get some swimming trunks and meet at the pool. We'll have pizza and drinks for you."
Swimming has been an important means of bonding for the Lions during the hot summer months. And when it comes to the best swimmer on the team, there's no competition.
"Chris Childress. He's got the kicking part down."
Last season the Gravette Lions took home their first post season win since 2011, and all that's done is whet their appetite, says senior Bailey Soule.
"Now we've got that taste we wanna just keep going and get as far as we can."
"One post season win is not our goal for sure we're looking for bigger and better things this year," adds Coach Harrelson.
There's also a bit of a chip on their shoulder when it comes to their size.
"We kinda take it as we're the smaller guy and everyone can pick on us, but they got another thing coming," says senior Kenton Tajchman.
And the Lions definitely don't lack in senior leadership, with 16 players entering their final year. Coach Harrelson thinks their experience is a plus, particularly on one side of the ball.
"We've got nine returning starters on defense, and they always say defense wins championships, so we're going to rely on our defense this year a lot."
And the offense, with Decatur transfer Tajae White likely to start at quarterback, benefits as well. Chris Childress, who, as a wide receiver, safety, and kicker, sees things from all sides of the ball, recognizes this.
"It's hard to lose if they have zero. You get used to getting some stops, and everybody running to the ball. Defense is usually where its lead to get the ball to the offense."
With plenty of experience and some exciting newcomers, Gravette football is ready to dive right in to the start of the season. They kickoff their year September 1st at Ozark.