Black­hawks prep for busy first week

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

PEA RIDGE — The Black­hawks are al­ready pre­par­ing for their sea­son opener, as well as their sec­ond game of the sea­son. Why so much at once? Be­cause Pea Ridge has two games the first week of the sea­son.

The Black­hawks, 13-2 a year ago and a Class 4A state run­ner-up, open the sea­son Aug. 28 against Ham­burg in the Hooten’s Kick­off Clas­sic at Estes Sta­dium at the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas. Four days later, they travel to Booneville for a matchup against the 4A-4 Con­fer­ence fa­vorite Bearcats.

Sec­ond-year coach Stephen Neal wel­comed 71 play­ers in on Mon­day and said coaches and play­ers are ex­cited for the sea­son to get here. The Black­hawks are ready — well, al­most ready — to start hit­ting.

“Coaches are ner­vous, did we get all the plan­ning right?” Neal said. “Like me, I’ve got ev­ery­thing or­dered and ev­ery­thing is on its way in, and I re­al­ized I for­got the mouth­pieces. So I’ve got a rush or­der now to get those here.”

Pea Ridge has been prac­tic­ing twice a day, both in the morn­ing, with a 45-minute break be­tween ses­sions. Neal said the coaches have made prac­tice mod­i­fi­ca­tions to pre­pare for the busy first week.

“Nor­mally at this time of the year we’re just show­ing base things with our kids,” Neal said. “We’re also go­ing against our of­fense and our de­fense with a whole lot more in­ter-squad stuff. Start­ing next week, we have game plans we have to put in.”

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