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Monday, July 22, 2024

Charleston Tigers Making Final Preparations for September 3 Opener with Dardanelle

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With many Arkansas high school opening this Friday with “zero week” games, the Charleston Tigers will open the season in week one of the high school calendar on September 3 when they host the Dardanelle Sand Lizards at Alumni Field. Charleston, the defending 3A-1 champions from 2020, will open the season playing three of the top five predicted finishers in the tough 4A-4 conference. The Tigers will play Dardanelle, Pottsville and the predicted first place finisher in the conference, the Ozark Hillbillies in the traditionally tough Charleston non-conference schedule. It has been commonplace for the Tigers to enter conference play at 1-2 or 0-3 after playing a tough 4A schedule, but has paid dividends for Charleston in conference play.

Charleston will open at home on September 3 against Dardanelle and will follow in week two at Pottsville on September 10. In their final non-conference game, Charleston will play in the “Battle of Franklin County” at Ozark on September 17. The Tigers will open 3A conference play on September 24 at home versus Greenland.

Tigers Reese Merechka (2) tackles a Booneville ball carrier in the Tigers last scrimmage(Resident Press Photo / Ronni Tate Young)

After playing against the Booneville Bearcats in summer camps, the two schools scrimmaged each other in Charleston as the final tune-up for both schools leading into the upcoming season. Charleston coach Ricky May was concerned with his team’s play coming out of the scrimmage, but due to good scheduling by May, now has approximately ten days to make corrections before their first game with Dardanelle. Coach May commented, “We definitely have a ways to go. We spent the rest of the week working on the physicality that Booneville brought in the scrimmage. So, we are going to continue doing that. That’s the good thing about not having a week zero game. We have another week to get ready. We are hoping that by the time Dardanelle gets here we will be ready.”

Charleston’s Sebastian Gaona (9) brings down a Booneville ball carrier(Resident Press Photo /Ronni Tate Young)

On the positive side of the scrimmage, Coach May added, “We didn’t turn the ball over, we didn’t have but maybe two penalties, so, it wasn’t like we (the coaching staff) were displeased with the whole thing, it’s just, that part of the game (physicality) was the one side we were not good at. Defensively, we played well at times. But, on key third downs, we might give up a big run, or something to that effect. We just couldn’t put four good downs together. And, until you can do that, it’s tough. Hats off to Booneville, they did a good job. They are who they say they are.”

Junior quarterback Brandon Scott (12) is expected to lead the way for the Tigers this year(Resident Press Photo /Ronni Tate Young)

Looking forward for the Tigers going into their first game with Dardanelle, the Sand Lizards are always big, talented, and athletic. Hooten’s Arkansas Football publication has predicted Dardanelle to finish second in their conference. The predicted order of finish in the tough 4A-4 conference is Ozark, Dardanelle, Mena, Lamar, Pottsville, Waldron, and Dover.

Inside Charleston’s 3A-1 conference, the same publication has picked the Tigers to win the conference. The predicted order of finish is Charleston, Cedarville, Greenland, Lincoln, West Fork, Hackett, Lavaca, and Mansfield. Of the other schools in this conference, fans may want to keep an eye on the West Fork Tigers who will return a big, physical and experienced group that made the playoffs last year as a five seed. Cedarville will return a pair of 1,000 yard rushers this season, and as has been the case in the past two seasons, a very important, early conference game will be played in Cedarville between the Tigers and the Pirates with the outcome having significant conference championship and playoff seeding implications.

Resident Press will have a week one preview of the Tigers game with Dardanelle next Sunday night. Game coverage can be found each week in Resident Press every Sunday night, as well.

So, Tigers fans, the season is almost here! I predict the Tigers will add another conference championship to the long list of championships in Charleston. Stay with Resident Press, and we will bring you coverage of every game!

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