No team surprised the state of Arkansas quite like the Pea Ridge Blackhawks did last season. The Pea Ridge Blackhawks went on an impressive playoff run last season that left them just short of going to the 4-A State Championship game at War Memorial Stadium. Tony Travis has moved on to Rogers Heritage but the Blackhawks have brought in Stephen Neal to continue the process. The focus for the Blackhawks this season is making that next step to the state championship game.
Pea Ridge has 14 starters returning for the 2016 season. The Blackhawks have 9 starters returning on the offensive side of the ball and 5 starters returning on the defensive side of the ball. The offense is shaping up to be an impressive unit with the return of Zaine Holley. Holley earned all-state honors at the running back position last season. Holley rushed for 26 touchdowns and topped that off with over 1,800 yards on the ground. Coach Stephen Neal and offensive coordinator Crosby Tuck are not going to alter the offense that much, they are determined to use the weapons that they have in a similar fashion to the way Tony Travis did. The offense should not see much drop off during the course of the 2016 season.
The Pea Ridge defense has been a strong unit the past few years and this season should not be any different for the Blackhawks. Trevor Hyman will man the defensive end position for the Blackhawks again this season. Hyman is a versatile, disruptive player for the Blackhawks and he should be able to continue to disrupt opposing quarterbacks’ rhythm during the course of the 2016 season. The Pea Ridge defense should be another solid element of an experienced football team.
Pea Ridge has the talent and experience coming back on both sides of the ball to make some noise in the 1-4A Conference this season. The 1-4A Conference is always going to be a difficult conference. When you have teams like Shiloh Christian, Gravette, and Prairie Grove in the conference, every week can be a difficult one. Fans should look for Pea Ridge to once again clinch a playoff spot and possibly make a run in the playoffs.