RECTOR, AR (KAIT) - The Rector Cougars are battling back from the abyss of high school football's lost programs and it's not an easy road. The Cougars went 0-9 in 2014 but feel like progress was made.
Head Coach Dave Hendrix returned to Rector to lead the team last season and is back for his second season as the leader of the Cougars. "We're so much further ahead than we were this time last year," he said, "This is our second year back so things have been much better."
Most programs don't make a return once the team goes away, but Rector has come back to high school football. There are growing pains of progress they have to overcome. "We're one of the smallest schools around here," said Hendrix, "We're going to battle numbers, there's no doubt about that." He does feel that his young program has already made big strides. "Our numbers are up, that's progress," he added when asked where the program was in it's re-development.
Hendrix won't hide the obvious fact that bringing a team back to life has a downside. "When you go off senior high football for four years it's just really hard," he said, "Last year was really hard and it was nothing that they did. They did as well as they could do but when you lay-off it's not good."
There are plenty of positives surrounding the 2015 Cougars. As Hendrix mentioned, numbers are up and there is some senior leadership returning. "It's helped us out a bunch," said Senior Runningback Garrett Buck, "From being together this group has really come together and is working hard."
The team also feels they have an advantage over 2014 since they have their head coach back. "Last year Coach Hendrix came in an changed to his offense and defense," said Senior Quarterback Lawson Ford, "This season we've been able to just work on perfecting things and getting better as a team."
One thing is certain surrounding the team, the community of Rector is behind their Cougars. "The community is behind them that's for sure," Hendrix told Region 8 Sports. "You go up to town and people are always asking how's football practice going," added Ford, "Hopefully we put out a good product on the field to reward them."
Rector opens the 2015 season at Palestine-Wheately.