GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - The Gosnell Pirates have the unique situation of being very talented while also suffering serious losses with the departure of the 2014 senior class.
In nearly every spot on their team, you can find a gap that has been left from a significant figure that graduated. They lose a 3-year starting quarterback, multiple members of the offensive line, and several key players on defense.
While the average fan might think this means the Pirates will have a down year in 2015, that assumption couldn't be further from the truth. Gosnell brings back one of the best runningbacks in the state with Carlos Blackman, who rushed for over 1200 yards last season with 18 touchdowns in only 9 games a year ago.
On defense, They'll have senior tackle Dequez Murphy coming back for his third season, he forced four fumbles last season. The offensive line loses multiple starters but still is under the leadership of all-conference tackle David Wright.
"The one's we are having back are impact players," said Pirates Head Coach Gary Moody, "We feel like we've got certainly a few of the better players in the league and we feel like a couple of players are tops in the state."
With Blackman running the ball behind a strong offensive tackle that bench presses around 370 pounds, the offense is confident. "We know if we play our game and we play how we want to play, we have one of the best runningbacks in the state, Carlos, and we've got a great coaching staff so we're confident in every game we play," Wright told Region 8 Sports on Friday.
Blackman is confident about his game in 2015 and hopes to make some improvements upon what he's already done. "I'm just trying to be better than I was last year, try to have more yards," Blackman said.
The Pirates ended their 2014 season in the second round of the playoffs after earning a share of the conference title with Pocahontas and Highland. Gosnell was overall 9-2-1 for last fall's campaign.
That three-way tie atop of the conference is symbolic of how tough it is to win in this league. Gosnell is expected to be in the mix for the title again along with Pocahontas and Highland. "Competition is going to be very stiff this year. Pocahontas should have an outstanding team and Highland has always been tough," Moody said.
Gosnell will have the advantage this season of playing both the Rebels and Redskins at home.