August 3, 2016 Edition

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Hoxie head football coach Tom Sears (from left) and Walnut Ridge head football coach Larry Treadway visit with Terry Burnside of U-Save Car and Truck Rental at Thursday's quarterly meeting of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Football is topic at
Chamber meeting

Gretchen Hunt

Walnut Ridge and Hoxie's head football coaches were the main speakers at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce quarterly meeting on Thursday. The coaches shared about their careers, the upcoming season and a Nov. 3 game when the Mustangs and Bobcats will face off on the football field for the first time since 2007.

A change of classification for Walnut Ridge resulted in the two schools being placed in the same conference and an automatic matchup for the teams.

Sears said the 3A-3 conference was already a tough conference and noted the addition of Walnut Ridge and Newport will not make it any less competitive.

Treadway said he expects a sold out crowd at the Thursday night (Nov. 3) game at Crider Field that will conclude the regular season for both teams.

"I'd love for us to both go undefeated and go into that last game," Treadway said.


Sears said Hoxie is fielding a large group of seventh-graders, with 27 signed up, and is also hoping for better results for Hoxie's junior high team, which has 38 on the roster this year.

"Our junior high has struggled the past few years," he said. "We are hoping to get out of that. We have a good group working hard, including 20 ninth-graders."

The senior high team also has 38 on the roster, but with only 10 seniors, Sears said they would have to rely on some young guys.

"They have worked tremendously hard," he said. "They learned a lot from last year's team and have stepped right into their roles."

He said they have participated in five pad camps this summer to provide the team with experience against good competitors.

"At this point we feel pretty good about it," he said. "Once school starts it seems like you are at week 10 before you know it."

Sears said he enjoys working with the kids.

"We hold them accountable," Sears said of his players. "They make us proud."

Sears, who played at Arkansas State University under Ray Perkins, said Perkins was known as a hard-nosed coach, but he was also a great guy who would do anything for his players.

"I'd do anything for him because that's how he treated us," Sears said.


Treadway talked about how football has changed over the 42 years he has been coaching.

Among things that get more focus today is the risk of concussion.

"That is a big thing," said Treadway, who had just come from a concussion meeting. "We teach them all how to avoid it."

He recalled the first time he had a player go down on the field during practice. He said he loaded the boy in his car and took him to the hospital leaving all his other players just standing on the field.

"Today we have plans in place," he said. "The ambulance knows exactly how to come in. We have people on standby."

He shared highlights of his career including coaching an undefeated team and getting to coach his son while at Batesville. "His junior year, we beat Newport for the first time in 22 seasons," Treadway said.

Another highlight was that his daughter, Chelsea, who was also an athlete, came to Walnut Ridge with him when he took the position to coach the Bobcats. She graduated from WRHS and went on to Arkansas State University.

Now Treadway and his Bobcats will be making memories in a new conference in 2016. In addition to Hoxie, the 3A-3 is made up of Rivercrest, Osceola, Newport, Piggott, Manila and Corning.

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