SPRINGDALE (KFSM)-- Most schools in the 7A would relish Har-Ber's success over the last decade. But despite back to back conference titles, Har-Ber hasn’t quite finished their last few seasons the way they’d have liked to.
"We haven’t reached our goals completely yet," says senior Alejandro Ramirez. "There’s a lot more to get to."
After a loss in the 2015 state title game to Fayetteville and a surprise exit against Bryant last year, head coach Chris Wood sees a theme.
"It came down to just turnovers, and our kids played hard, played there hearts out, played with everything they had, it’s just we made a few too many mistakes."
Once again, Har-Ber will be anchored by a defense that returns six starters. Last year's team allowed an average of 14 points a game, including three shutouts against 7A opponents. Ramirez anchors the defensive line, while the secondary returns three all-state players, including Tevin Eckwood, who started at free safety last year but will mix in at corner this year as well.
And the Wildcats are making some changes on offense, with Grant Allen taking over at quarterback, where he started twice last year, and Payton Copher taking on a new role as part running back, part offensive weapon, a role where he flourishes according to Wood.
"We use him in about three or four different things and he enjoys it. He just wants the team to be successful in whatever role we ask him to do, he's got a real servant-leadership type of mindset so it's exciting to watch."
"It’s all natural for him," adds Eckwood. "He’s a beast>
But the team’s goals remain the same, say Ramirez and Eckwood.
"Getting the dubs, being with the guys," and, most importantly, "just get to the Rock and win a state championship."
Most schools would be happy just to be there. For Har-Ber, that's just not enough anymore.