Centerton (KFSM) - Entering year three, Bentonville West won't be sneaking up on anyone anymore.
"There are higher expectations, we set that standard last year, that winning standard,” admits senior Kobe Anderson.
After winning just three games in the program’s first year of existence, quarterback Will Jarrett admits that, before last year “people looked over us.” But now?
“This year they know who we are, and it’s full go.”
Winning nine games in a row to start the 2017 season will do that.
“I feel like people expect something from us now, just because of how we did last season,” says senior Austin Ewbank.
Jarrett is embracing the challenge.
“Now that people know what we’re capable of, we just have more to prove.”
Head coach Bryan Pratt has been with this group of seniors from the start. He says the energy among the school and community is at an all-time high.
“No one wants to come when you’re just winning three games. But when we won nine in a row last year, it definitely changed everyone’s attitude.”
And the fans and players finally have a stadium to call their own, after two years of playing home games down the road at Bentonville.
“Now that we’ve got our own stadium, it just feels good,” says senior Jadon Jackson.
“Last year, every game was an away game, pretty much, having to drive six miles away to get to Bentonville’s stadium. Having this is just huge for our program and our fan base.”
Of course, all that really matters is how the team plays on that field. Jarrett and Jackson return to form one of the most dynamic and explosive quarterback-wide receiver duos in the state, in an offense that likes nothing more than to go fast. The defensive line out a lot to graduation and injuries, but the defense as a whole is solid, lead by senior linebacker Kendall Young.
Despite all that happened just a year ago, Kobe Anderson still believes the Wolverines will sneak up on some people.
“I feel like people aren’t looking at us like the number one team in the 7A West or something like that,” says Anderson. “People are looking at other schools and not really mentioning us. I’ll just say, wait for game one.”
That game one will be at defending Oklahoma state champion Owasso on August 24th, before the new stadium gets its first taste of action August 31st when Fort Smith Southside comes to Centerton.