BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Just a year after they shocked many around the high school football world and the 5A East Conference by making a playoff appearance, the Blytheville Chickasaws are hoping to take things a step further.
It was the school's first time making the playoffs in four seasons and its first winning season in six years. "Last year was a little bit of a surprise for us," said Head Coach Ben Fisher, "We knew we could do it, we didn't know it would come that fast."
Fisher is only entering his second season as the Head Coach of the Chickasaws, and hopes the team can take a step forward from what they did last season. "We're just trying to build off the momentum we had at the end of last year," he said.
In 2014, Blytheville opened the season with three straight victories including a one point road win at Okolona, Mississippi. They then went on to get conference victories against Greene County Tech, Valley View, and Forrest City.
Looking ahead to the new season, the Chicks should have the ability to keep the momentum going. "We return a whole bunch of starters on defense and all of our skill kids," said Fisher. The only hang up Blytheville will face, they'll need to replace their entire offensive line. "We've got one guy coming back," Fisher said, "Those other guys are a little behind the rest of the group but they're coming on fast."
Blytheville returns its quarterback, Senior Terry Northern. He rotated in every game last season. Also at quarterback, Junior Desmond Moore is coming back and could be a factor taking the snaps.
In the backfield, the Chicks lose DeMadre Clark but do return his very talented brother, Demekko, who will provide speed and agility for Blytheville in the run game.
The team feels they will have the ability to do big things are pleased with their progress. "We're working hard every day," said Senior Fullback D'Arik Haley, "We've got a lot of people showing up and we're going to be good."
They are also positive about workouts they've been getting in. "It's been going great," said Senior Cornerback Jordan Jackson, "I love it when it's hot, we're getting good work in."
Playing in a tough conference, it's easy to get overlooked. Wynne and Batesville have been the dominators of the top spots in the 5A East the past few seasons. Blytheville is hoping to change that. "We want to be one of those teams like those two," said Fisher, "Where year in and year out, instead of talking about Wynne and Batesville, you're talking about Wynne, Batesville, and Blytheville."
As a whole, Fisher feels the conference is getting tougher. "Nettleton is coming, you can see them building and building," he added, "Paragould plays us tough every year, Valley View is tough from what I've seen of them this summer, Greene County Tech, Coach Simmons does a great job over there."
Blytheville will begin its march towards the 2015 playoffs at Osceola on September 4th.