Coach: Bill Harrelson, 11th season at Gravette
2015 Record: 7-4
Returning Offensive Starters: 5
Returning Defensive Starters: 4
Defense: 4 Front
Key Players: SR Bret Callahan RB/LB, SR Kilby Roberts QB/P
GRAVETTE (KFSM)--2015 was a season of mixed emotions for the Lions. Gravette upset Pea Ridge on the road and roared to a 6-2 start. But Coach Bill Harrelson's team lost two of its last three, including a 40 point playoff loss at Pulaski Robinson. With its top two players graduated, Gravette has a lot to replace to build on a 7-4 campaign.
All-state running back Jordan Burnett ran for 18 touchdowns, while fellow classmate and all-conference quarterback Bryce Moorman threw for 24 scores and over 1800 yards. Harrelson said, "Jordan had over 1200 yards rushing on offense last year, and Bryce completed almost 69 percent of his passes. So obviously it's going to be hard to replace those type guys." It's not just the production on the field that the Lions will miss. Current senior Bret Callahan explained, "Jordan and Bryce on the offensive side, they were strong team leaders."
This fall, Kilby Roberts takes over at quarterback behind a stout offensive line that features Nelson Payne and Dalton Bass. Both seniors are over six feet tall and grew stronger this offseason. Gravette's strength might be it's defense. The Lions have plenty of experience even with just four starters returning. Some Lions to look out for rushing the quarterback include Callahan, senior Drew Henderson and improved juniors Anthony McPherson, chase Palmer and Bailey Soule.
"Our goals are the same every year, we want to compete for a conference championship. And we feel like we've got the team to do it this year," Harrelson said. The Lions' seniors have stepped into a leadership role, and are spreading Harrelson's message to the younger players. "Intensity and effort is always [coach's] big thing. We always have to go hard, there's no jogging even if the ball is going to the opposite side of the field you are chasing that ball just in case. It is eleven hats to the ball," Callahan explained.
Gravette's hosts Ozark on September 2nd at 7pm in this fall's season opener. The Lions are 3-1 all time against the Hillbillies and unbeaten in two head-to-head home games.