HEAD COACH HIRES
SCHOOL;NAME;HIRE DATE;PREVIOUS SCHOOL
Watson Chapel;Maurice Moody;Dec. 14;Jacksonville
Paragould; David Gunn; Jan. 11;McClellan^
Fort Smith Northside; Felix Curry; Jan 21; North Side*
Camden Fairview;Nick Vaughn;Jan. 27; view of Little Rock Park*
Jacksonville;Brandon Barbaree;Feb. 7;Fontaine Lake^
Maumelle;Brian Maupin;Feb. 11;Joe T.Robinson*
Harrison; Chris Keylon; Feb. 17; river view
Lonoke; Chris Norton; Feb. 15;Perryville
Hampton;Chris Morphis;Feb. 22; Medium*
White Hall;Ryan Mallett;Feb. 24;Mountain coach*
Junction City;David CarpenterMarch 9;Junction City^
Harrisburg;Gunnar Wilbanks;March 15;Harrisburg*
^ – Indicates a head coaching position prior to 2021.
* – Refers to assistant coach in previous job.
England football manager Josh Anderson and his wife Ashlyn knew they would have their third child in the 2021 football season, but they didn’t expect what would happen in the coming weeks.
Brooks Anderson was born to the Andersons on September 9, but 11 days later was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer much more common in children, according to the American Cancer Society.
With the diagnosis, the Andersons were thrown into dire straits, but nearly six months later their son is still struggling and the family feels strong support from the English community.
“It’s really amazing, to be honest with you,” Josh said.
Throughout the 2021 Lions season, in which Anderson continued to coach, Brooks underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy before undergoing two surgeries in January at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which completely removed his tumor. and any additional cancer cells. During football season, Brooks and his parents spent 37 nights at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, about a 30-minute drive from England.
Brooks is currently undergoing 30 rounds of chemo at The Children’s. His main therapy should be completed by August 16 and, if everything continues to progress accordingly, he should be cured and no longer in need of treatment by January 31.
“We had outstanding community support,” Ashlyn said. “There’s no support like small town support, and I would stick with that day in and day out.”
That support came both off and on the pitch. The Haywood Street Market in England held several fundraisers, according to Ashlyn, including a dinner, dance and donation event in early March that raised $20,000. The high school’s Accelerated Service and Technology Education program also held a “Brooks Day” fundraiser in October that raised about $7,000.
Even last fall’s opponents showed their support, as the Clarendon School District presented Josh with a $100 gas card ahead of their October game. Carlisle hosted a fundraiser that gave away $1,500, and Des Arc did the same, raising $2,400.
Josh was appreciative of the support from the School District of England and its assistant coaches – Jared Willis, Jared Vire, Gage Johnson and JR Deniz – who have kept England’s high school, college and seventh year football teams operating for that Josh was absent. The senior Lions finished 0-10 this season, but their junior high school program went 5-4, remaining undefeated in conference and winning their conference title.
Hailing from England, Josh said his roots in the city and his desire to grow the football program were big factors why he continued to coach throughout the fall.
“With everything going on, the kids can’t control this,” Josh said. “Our football team, it wasn’t under their control. And obviously we didn’t have a very good season… but those kids showed up every day, whatever. I felt like, through it, I always owed it to them and the program to give everything I could to you.”
For the second straight season, reigning Class 7A state champion Bryant Hornets will have a new face under center.
After replacing current University of Arkansas pitcher Austin Ledbetter last year with then-senior Carson Burnett, four players — senior Tyler Pinney, junior Gideon Moates and sophomores Ridge Southerland and Jordan Walker — should be competing to take over the starting slack, according to Bryant Coach Buck James.
“I don’t feel so bad about who we have back,” James said. “We just don’t know yet what level they’re going to be at, fundamentally and all that. But I feel like, out of the four, we’ll have one guy doing a good job.”
Moates, Sutherland and Walker were all undefeated quarterbacks at the junior college level, James said. Moates, who has signed up to play baseball at Arkansas, was also the Hornets’ primary backup last season before he broke his finger in a junior varsity game midway through the season.
Although there is a new face at quarterback, starting experience appears to be abundant for the 2022 Hornets, something the program had little to do in 2021. After firing five total starters a season ago, James said Bryant expects to return 13 starters this year.
Isiah Kendall (Newport), Quincy Rhodes Jr. (North Little Rock) and CJ Turner (Star City) have all gained ground as Division I prospects in the 2023 state since the end of the 2021 season. Rhodes , who verbally committed to the University of Arkansas on Feb. 15, is listed as a three-star recruit by Rivals and four-star by 247Sports. Rhodes received its four-star rating on February 6. Kendall has received a four-star rating from Rivals and 247 since the end of 2021. Turner, four stars on Rivals and three stars from 247, received an offer from Jackson State in February and traveled to Mississippi State on March 5. both four stars on Rivals. Russell made a verbal commitment to Arkansas on Nov. 6, and White, who is still listed as undecided, has offers from Tulsa, Syracuse, Virginia and Mississippi. … Donovan Whitten of Arkadelphia and Martavius Thomas of Camden Fairview have both been invited to attend the regional Elite 11 quarterback camp program. Whitten will attend the Baton Rouge regional, which takes place today, and Thomas will attend the Dallas Regional, which will take place on March 27. According to the Elite 11 website, “those who demonstrate the highest level of skill, insight and desire” will have a chance to attend the Elite 11 Finals this summer. Whitten finished 2021 with 3,605 passing yards and 43 touchdowns. Thomas, who is committed to playing baseball at Arkansas, finished 2021 with 3,257 passing yards and 34 touchdowns in 2021. According to the Elite 11 website, the alumni include 26 of current starting quarterbacks in the NFL and 14 of the past 15 Heisman Trophy winners.