Zak Clark and the Springdale Bulldogs put an end to a painful losing streak and in doing so made the state playoffs. Springdale had a difficult season and suffered some tough losses and improvement will be a key goal for the upcoming season. Clark and his players are enthusiastic about the 2016 season and want to improve step by step. The next step is to limit the big plays give up on the defensive side of the ball and preserve victories late in the game.
The 2015 season got off to a rocky start when the Bulldogs opened up against Greenwood. Greenwood hammered the Bulldogs 63-28, but the Bulldogs offense showed some life and gave them some life for the rest of the season. Springdale was able to pick up a win against Rogers Heritage during the fourth week of the season and end a long losing streak in the process. The Bulldogs would post one more victory during the 2015 season before falling to Conway during the state playoffs. The 2016 football season will be about taking advantage of missed opportunities and finishing teams off late in games for the Bulldogs.
Springdale will be turning the keys to the offense over to Lane Hutchins. Hutchins played wide receiver for the Bulldogs last season but has showed that he has the arm strength needed to run Zak Clark’s system. Fans and college scouts alike immediately look at the wide receiver position. The wide receiver position is held down by two talented players in the forms of Kyler Williams and Jayden Minchew. Williams earned all-state honors last season and racked up over 900 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Minchew is a solid wide receiver, but will be the starting safety for the Bulldogs this season. The offense should be able to move the ball and put the points up for the Bulldogs.
The defense is the area that will need to take the biggest step in the improvement process. Springdale has to bring down the 39 points per game that the defense gave up a year ago. Springdale will have 7 starters returning on the defensive side of the ball, so the opportunity to improve is possible. The secondary for the Bulldogs should be fun to watch this season with Jayden Minchew returning after he earned all-conference honors in 2015 at the free safety position. Dylan Sisemore will be an intriguing player to watch at linebacker after collecting 48 tackles a year ago. Sisemore is recovering from an ACL injury and it could be awhile before his speed returns, but I would expect a solid season from him.
Springdale is the one team in the 7-A West that has the potential to come out and surprise opposing teams and fans. With a Zak Clark offense, you know that point production will not be a problem. Getting the defense to force some stops could be an issue, but the potential is evident with this group. I expect the Bulldogs to reach the playoffs and possibly win a game or two. No matter the results, excitement will continue to build with this team