The Rogers Heritage High School War Eagles are looking to revive a struggling football program for the upcoming 2016 season. Heritage is bringing in a new coach in the form of Tony Travis. Travis comes over from Pea Ridge, where he led the Blackhawks to the state semi-finals last season and is someone that knows how to revive a program. The 2015 season was not a kind one to the War Eagles. Heritage went 0-10 on the season in 2015. Bringing in Travis will help reenergize the program and improvement should start to show up early on the field. However, the 7-A West is always a difficult conference and that will not change in 2016.
Changing the culture of losing that has developed at Rogers Heritage will be Travis’ first task. The War Eagles have won four games the past two seasons. Travis is going from a spread offensive system that Heritage used last season to more of the I-formation for the upcoming season. Finding a quarterback will be a priority as fall camp draws near. Heritage will likely choose between, Trey Kitterman, Zach Brown, or Seth Curren for the starting job. Killerman did well in the action that he saw last season. The possibilities are good for the War Eagles, it all comes down to finding the right signal caller and winning that first game.
Getting the offense to become more efficient will be a tough task, but could be accomplished if the running game can move the ball. Dylan Qualls is expected to see some time at the running back spot and also line up as a slot receiver. Qualls was impressive last season against Pulaski Robinson, where he rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown. Hayden Garrett and Jared Coleman should also see some time in the backfield for the War Eagles this season. The running game will be an important part of the offense for Coach Travis and it could help open up the offense this season.
The War Eagles defense is also going through a transition as well this season. Heritage will be replacing three starters on the defensive line for the 2016 season. Heritage will have sophomore Gavin Pusey and Landon Evans that will occupy the defensive front. Jheovany Hernandez will see some time at defensive end and has the potential to cause trouble for the offensive side of the ball. Dylan Qualls is likely to get a look at the outside linebacker position for the upcoming season, because he as the speed to get in the backfield. The secondary will undergo a transition as well but look for Cameron Gibson to see some time at safety.
With Rogers Heritage, getting the offense to put up points will be key to righting the ship. The War Eagles were shut out four times last season. The defense will need to gel, and do so quickly in order to keep from being torched early in the season. Every team has the same record when the season starts. Heritage has a chance to compete for a playoff spot but getting everyone on the same page early is what will need to happen to make the playoffs. Making the playoffs may seem a stretch to some; considering all the powerhouse teams in the 7-A West. However, I never doubt Tony Travis; the man wins everywhere he goes.