Excitement is in the air in Van Buren for the 2019 football season. Even though, the Pointers lose head coach Casey Dick, they are left with 13 returning starters coming back from the 2018 season. Crosby Tuck takes over for Dick this season and inherits the nucleus for what could be a dangerous 2019 team.
The Van Buren offense will continue to work out of the spread formation. Van Buren will utilize multiple quarterbacks throughout the course of the season, the first of those being Gary Phillips. Phillips passed for two touchdowns against a talented Fayetteville defense last season and should be a weapon in the passing game. Junior Jaiden Henry will also get an opportunity at the quarterback position. Henry is an accurate passer but is also considered a dangerous runner as well. Henry rushed for over 450 yards last season. The quarterback position is in good hands with both Phillips and Henry providing solid options at the position.
Crosby Tuck and the Pointers will have some consistency at the running back position. Brayden Rivas should see the majority of carries for the Pointers this season after rushing for almost 500 yards last season. In the victory over Rogers, Rivas racked up three touchdowns on the ground and helped lead the Pointers to a 30-20 win over the Mounties. If the threat from the passing game can take pressure off the run, this could be a dangerous offense to contend with in 2019.
With the Pointers running primarily out of the spread formation, the passing game will take priority. Van Buren has a one of the most talented wide receivers in the 7-A in the form of Jude Bartholomew. Batholomew has good speed and racked up almost 800 yards receiving last season. Another receiving option is Maury Newton, Newton has the speed and makes the plays to keep the drives going.
Van Buren High School Van Buren High School
The offensive line for the Pointers is not the biggest in the 7-A West but it is an athletic group. Pointers' fans should look for Jackson Hurst to hold down either the guard or the tackle spot. Van Buren fans should look for the offensive line to continue to gel as a unit and to improve as the year progresses.
The Pointers' defense has the potential to be the most improved unit of the team this season. Van Buren fans should look for the defensive line to be a disruptive force. Defensive end Mile Kuykendall is a player that should have a big season, after racking up 18 tackles last season. D. J. Riley will likely see time at both the defensive end and tackle positions and has been a force the past few seasons. Riley was in on 40 tackles and 2 sacks last season and has the potential to improve upon those numbers this season.
From the linebacker position, Pointers' fans should look for Devin Swearingen to be the playmaker on the defensive side of the ball once again this season. Swearingen had 90 tackles and forced two fumbles last season. T.J. Dyer will see some time at the linebacker spot this season and should cause problems for the opposing offense. The linebacking corps should be a unit that causes problems for opposing offenses throughout the season.
The Pointers' secondary is an experienced group. David Evans returns to man one of the cornerback spots for Van Buren. Evans racked up over 50 tackles last season and picked off three passes. Trent Ball is returning at the free safety spot and is looking to improve upon a season where he had 54 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown. The Van Buren secondary may be one of the most talented units on the team as the 2019 season approaches.
A playoff appearance is not out of the question for the Pointers this season. Van Buren fans should expect some growing pains at the start, but this should be an exciting season for Crosby Tuck and the Pointers.
By Bobby Swofford
To help you count down the days until football season arrives, the 5NEWS Sports crew has put together 11 different countdowns looking at players, coaches and games to be looking forward to this fall.
Tuesday night we turned our attention to the defensive side of the ball and the playmakers at linebacker.
#5 - Cole Joyce, Bentonville
The lone junior on the list proved he could play at the state's highest level as a sophomore as Joyce racked up 80 total tackles and was an All-State performer for the Tigers defense. Having already picked up a few division one offers, the ceiling is high for Joyce if he can take another step forward as a junior.
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