HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) - Adam Carter grew up in Highland playing football. Nine years later he came back to coach football. Carter has been an offensive and defensive coach while with the Rebels the last eight years. He also previously was the head coach of the 7th grade and junior high team. Now he finally takes over as the head coach. "It's not just coaching anymore. There's more things in the community. You used to be able to go in after practice and work in the game plan and get ready to go. Now it's answering phone calls, visiting people from our community, which is great because our community has awesome support for us," Carter said.
Carter's players are very happy to see him take over as the new coach. "We all love coach Carter. I was ready to see him as head coach because I knew he would be one day," Ben Jackson, senior right tackle and defensive end said. "I mean me and coach Carter have always gotten along great and you know I love him as a head coach. I love him as a guy. He's a great guy. But he knows the offense. He can run it. He knows what he's doing," Senior Quarterback Reid Maag said.
Carter has helped design the offense Highland currently runs. He credits former head coach Spencer Hill for teaching him patience and adds he's learned a lot from him. Carter doesn't plan on changing much with the offense.
One thing that will certainly change is the Rebels losing the dynamic offensive duo of Deon Stewart and Avery Johnson. Stewart now plays at Arkansas, while Johnson plays at Arkansas State. Stewart had 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Johnson who played running back and receiver had 991 yards and 19 touchdowns. But coach Carter and the players say they have a lot of talent back. They plan to have a receiving and running back committee that will spread the ball around to fill the void. "So many guys that are going to go as hard as they can. May not have as much natural skill as Avery and Deon but they're going to work just as hard to get it done. So I think we're going to be perfectly fine without Avery and Deon this year," Jackson said.
While Stewart and Johnson leave senior quarterback and all-conference selection Reid Maag returns for his third year as the starting quarterback. The dual threat quarterback had 2,690 total yards in 2014. "He's so calm back there. He knows the offense and he and I have sat down in the offseason, looked at what we're tweaking. I've kind of made him an offensive coordinator on the field. You know if he sees something he'll let me know," coach Carter said.
On the defensive side Trent Floyd takes over as the defensive coordinator and the Rebels will switch to a 4-3 defense. "Any scheme we put out there he has an answer for it," coach Carter said.
The Rebels have won at least a share of the conference title in three of the last four years and want to do it again. However, coach Carter acknowledges that Pocahontas and Gosnell are the favorites. Highland starts its season at Harding Academy on September 4th.
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