Blackhawks prep for busy first week
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.”