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West Helena Cougars

After finishing as state runners-up two years ago, Helena-West Helena lost several players to graduation and finished 6-5 last year. That was good enough, however, to earn the second playoff seed from the 5A-East.
Head coach (career): Russell Smith (28-18-1)
Year at school (record): (28-18-1)
Last season (conference finish): 6-5 (2nd)
Offensive coordinator: Russell Smith
Offensive formation: Multiple Spread
Defensive coordinator: Jerry Donaldson
Defensive formation: 4-2-5
Key players lost: FB/LB Darrius Watson, CB Anterio Sloan, TB/LB Antonio Hughes, WE Kyrin Burrell

Schedule
9/2 Rogers at U of A
9/10 @ Marianna
9/17 Blytheville
9/24 North Pulaski
10/1 Monticello
10/8 @ LR Mills
10/15 Watson Chapel
10/22 @ White Hall
10/29 Sylvan Hills
11/4 @ Crossett

QUARTERBACK
Senior Markeith Jacobs (5-10, 185) moves from receiver to quarterback this season with sophomore Delane Bedford (5-10, 150) providing solid backup.

RUNNING BACK
Junior Dekeathan Williams (6-2, 200) will be the primary running back with senior Jonathon Davis (5-8, 145), and juniors Jarrod Ross (5-7, 148) and Devonta Crumpton (5-7, 130), and Deondre Pope (5-9, 180) contributing at the position.

RECEIVER
Senior Aubrey Garner (6-3, 170) is back at receiver and primed for a big senior season. Senior Scott Henry (5-11, 135) and junior Khalil Byrd (6-0, 140) could also figure into the equation in the Cougar’s Multiple Spread attack.

OFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line is in good shape with Ardell Sheard (5-11, 270) anchoring the line at center for the second year. Sheard also started four games at tackle as a sophomore. Jalele Miller (5-10, 250) and Marquel Rose (5-7, 190) also have playing experience on the line. Seniors Perry Brodous (5-11, 270), Devin Williams (5-10, 240), Demarcus Henry (5-11, 245) and Demario Rose (5-10, 230) will try to fill the other open spots up front.

DEFENSIVE LINE
The Cougars are banking on Williams and Brodous having big seasons along the front line of defense that yielded two touchdowns or less in five games last season. Williams started at tackle last year while Brodous is the team’s noseguard. Sophomores Daquan Jackson (6-1, 200) and J.R. Spearman (6-2, 205) may be counted on to contribute as sophomores. Brian Holloway will also contribute at end.

LINEBACKERS
Dekeathan Williams, Deion Miller (5-9, 150) and Pope could all play at the position.

SECONDARY
Jacobs and Jonathan Davis (5-11, 145) return after playing in the secondary last year. Jack Walker (5-7, 125), and Melvin Gamble (5-11, 150) could all play as well in Helena-West Helena’s five player defensive backfield. Ross will play at cornerback.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Several players are vying for kicking, punting and returning duty for this fall.

VYPE’S FORECAST
After finishing as state runners-up two years ago, Helena-West Helena lost several players to graduation and finished 6-5 last year. That was good enough, however, to earn the second playoff seed from the 5A-East. The great unknown now, though, is a new conference. The Cougars go from the 5A-East to the 5A-Southeast and joins the conference along with Watson Chapel, which drops down from Class 6A. The 5A-Southeast also has defending state champion Monticello. These seniors need 10 wins to match the graduating class of 1963 that won 28 games in the 1960, ’61 and ’62 football seasons. This group is relatively small with just under 40 players, but the defense should be improved over last season when the Cougars were solid. Only Pulaski Academy, in losses in the first and last games of the season, was able to put up many points on Helena-West Helena.


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