Tigers Hoping Experience Pays Off
Bolivar Central’s youth movement that started in 2020 might have arrived, with the experience gained from playing time during a winless 2020 and a two-win 2021 season hoping to add up to make a push to the playoffs in 2022.
“These juniors have been playing since they were freshmen,” said Head Coach Hayden Williams. “A lot of these kids have some experience, and it’s a matter of putting it all together and making that experience count.”
On offense, where Williams plans to play up-tempo, everyone is back, led by quarterback Carson Howell, who threw 98 passes in 2021, completing 39 for 451 yards and three touchdowns, the five top rushers from last year (Jarbari McClellan - 68 rushes for 373 yards, KyJuan Fentress - 81 carries for 321 yards, Jamarion Gibson - 42 rushes 276 yards, Howell - 88 carries 267 yards, and Malachi Jimenez 26 carries for 88 yards) and leading receiver Juelle Davis (9 catches for 157 yards).
Williams expects only a couple of players to have to play on both sides of the ball as opposed to last year, when stamina at the end of games for the linemen was a factor.
“We’re small, but we are quick and we plan to take advantage of that. Going up tempo has put us in better shape as well.”
Williams, in his second season, has five assistants this year, with DJ Sheets, Jonmarc Rasberry, Antonio Bonds, Robert Steward, and Evan Lax on staff.
Williams said having more time than he had last year after being hired in late spring and the coaching staff additions this season have been what the team needs.
“It has been great so far this year. We’ve got assistant coaches and we’ve had more time with the kids. I feel like I’m a better coach and things have been much smoother,” he said.
“Last year was a trial and tribulation period. But we grew toward the end of the season. We don’t have the discipline problems we had last year. It’s all coming together nicely.”
Bolivar will open the regular season with Scotts Hill on August 19. Preseason scrimmages with Kingsbury, McNairy Central, and Fayette Ware have been scheduled.