Arkansas Class 7A High School Football Team Previews: Northside Freshman Head Coach Looks To Fill The Holes

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SBLive previews Arkansas high school football teams from the top three classifications. Today we feature the Fort Smith Northside Grizzlies of the 7A-Central Conference.

By Jeff Halpern | Photo by Karen Schwartz

FORT SMITH NORTHERN GRIZZLIES

THE HEAD COACH

Felix Curry, first season

2021 IN BRIEF

Global report: 7-5

Report of the conference: 3-4

Playoffs: Def. West Bentonville, 42-10; Lost to Bryant, 42-10

KEY DEPARTURES

RB Sundquist Church, All States

RB Ty Massey, all states

QB Walker Castavas

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Senior G Jamoni Benton

Returning starter, the 6-foot-3, 340-pound senior caught the eye of Louisiana Tech.

Senior T Erick Barrientos

Returning starter, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior is also catching the eye of Louisiana Tech.

Senior C Adrian Falcon

Starting back, the 5-foot-11, 230-pound senior is one of the best centers in the state, Curry said.

Junior G Mason Medlock

Started as a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound junior is described by Curry as a “super athlete.”

Senior QB Demarius Savoie

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior started in high school and is vying for the starting quarterback position.

Second QB McLain Moody

The 6-foot-4, 175-pound sophomore is a baseball player, who owns a 93 mph fastball, also runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds, is competing for time at quarterback. Curry said Moody had a big arm.

Junior RB Brian Hasley

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior has a 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash.

Junior RB Tavarious King

A 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior has a speed of 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.

Second RB Isaac Wright

A 5-foot-10, 175-pound second with a 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash.

Senior WR Damari Smith

A 6-foot-0, 155-pound senior, who runs the 40 in 4.3 seconds, has caught the eye of Texas-San Antonio, Tulsa and Murray State.

Senior CB RJ Lester

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound eldest has caught the eye of Tulsa, Tulane and Kansas State.

Senior S Ky Perkins

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound eldest has offers from UTSA, Tulane and Kansas State

Senior CB Josh Hardwick

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound eldest was the backup quarterback a year ago. He also caught 14 passes for 178 yards.

LB senior Sebastian Garcia

The 6-foot-0, 235-pound eldest has been playing for the past two years.

LB senior Julius Thomas

The 5-foot-10, 220-pound senior, who started on the defensive line, moves to linebacker.

Main DL Josh Nolan

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior is the only returning starter on the defensive line.

OUTLOOK

Northside is an intriguing team from 7A-Central.

The Grizzlies have two excellent running backs to replace in Church, who rushed for 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns and Massey, who had 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns and quarterback Castavis, who threw for 1,423 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. , but the Grizzlies have plenty of speed with four players running the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and faster and four returning starters on the offensive line.

The quarterback position is up for grabs between the senior Savoy, who has experience on defense, and the second Moody, who has a ton of potential.

Defensively, the Grizzlies have four returning starters with three in the secondary and how the rest of the roster comes together could determine how they finish in 7A-Central.

“The bottom line is we have to be in good condition because we could have players both ways,” said Curry, who is in his first year as Grizzlies coach after serving as their defensive coordinator since 2013. “We have to be good with our diets and we have to stay healthy.

COACH SAID

“There is always a transition when you change coaches, but we have kept the same structure. We lost two great running backs and our quarterback, but the most important thing is to be able to solidify the quarterback position and find one who leads the team. Felix Curry

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