BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Batesville made its sixth straight 5A state semifinal and won its fourth conference title in five years in 2014. But the Pioneers only return two starters on offense and four on defense.
The biggest loss is star quarterback Kenton Crawford who had more than 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014. Crawford was also a finalist for the Farm Bureau Awards Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year. "Going to be really tough to replace Kenton. We think we've got a young man Zach Griffin, a junior whose looking good to this point. Just needs some seasoning. As I tell him every day he's a lot better athlete. He's just got to get a little bit more confident," Batesville coach Dave King said. "It's a big loss. Kenton was really good. But Zach's doing good. He's learning the offense really well and he's throwing it around pretty good," Batesville senior wide receiver Christopher Robinson said.
Despite losing a lot of experience Batesville has a very talented group of youth players. The sophomores and juniors on the team went undefeated in junior high.
Coach King adds that the offensive line is further ahead than last year and believes the offensive and defensive lines are the two strengths of his team.
The Pioneers have won 55 games in the last five seasons and are confident they can continue their winning tradition. "I think our goals are the same as every year. Win conference champs and hopefully be state champs," Wendell Williams, Batesville senior defensive end said. But Coach King adds, "We've won 4 of the last 5 district titles and playing at least in the semifinals I think six years in a row so playing after Thanksgiving has become kind of a tradition around here, but like we tell the kids every day what we did last year has no baring on this year."
Batesville's season starts at home on September 4th against Watson Chapel.
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