The Fayetteville Purple Dogs have been one of the most impressive programs in the state of Arkansas over the past ten years. However, challenges await Fayetteville and their new head coach Casey Dick, who will make the trip up Interstate-49 from Van Buren. Dick replaces Billy Dawson who stepped aside in April following a 9-3 season in 2018.
Fayetteville High School never seems to suffer from a shortage of talent, and this season will be no different. On the offensive side of the ball, the Purple Dogs have a dangerous quarterback/wide receiver combination. Quarterback Hank Gibbs and wide receiver Connor Flannigan make up one of the state's most dangerous pass/catch duos. Flannigan caught over 100 passes last season and scored 20 touchdowns. Gibbs had an outstanding game against the Rogers Mounties where he threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns.
The Fayetteville passing game has been dynamic over the past five years and the 2019 squad has the potential to be a dangerous team, particularly if the running game can be a force. Two names to keep an eye on in the backfield will be Jacob Sharits and junior running back Kameron Ingram. Ingram had an impressive spring and should be a force at the position this fall. Sharits is a powerful running back and is difficult to bring down. The duo of Ingram and Sharits gives the ground game for the Purple Dogs a good one-two punch for this upcoming season.
The offensive line for the Purple Dogs should provide stability and help ensure the offense is a solid unit. Fayetteville will need Cody Hix to lock down the center position, but this should be an area of strength for the Purple Dogs.
At times last year, the Fayetteville defense kept them in games until the offense could find its rhythm. The defense is anchored by 300-pound Jalon Oliver at the defensive tackle position. Clogging up the running lanes; allows Purple Dog linebacker Quade Mosier to create havoc all over the field. Mosier has several schools recruiting him including Oklahoma, Central Florida, Air Force, and Army. In the secondary, Purple Dog fans should look for safety Sebastian Rodriguez to build upon last season. Rodriquez had 25 tackles last season and the 2019 season has the potential to be an even bigger one for the junior safety.
Fayetteville resides in the most competitive conference in Arkansas and breaking in a new football coach will create a challenging and interesting season for the Purple Dogs. The Purple Dogs have playmakers in Mosier and Flanigan on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, respectively. Fayetteville fans should look for a playoff run, but how deep the Purple Dogs advance will depend upon the match ups come November.
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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