Pictured is #3 Colton Arnold
With the first game of the Cedarville Pirates Jr High season less than a month away, to say that the Jr High squad was “chomping at the bit” to not only take out old foes but new nemesis as well would be an understatement. At the helm of the Pirate’s ship is head coach, Max Washausen. He along with coaching staff Matt Chandler and Jarrod Remer, are primed and ready this year to turn Cedarville football into a household name.
So far during summer workouts, the 7th-9th grade teams combined have consistently had upwards of 20 players showing up to practice. This is great news for the Pirates football program but not so great news for this season’s opponents. Last year the Jr High squad did an immaculate job at holding their own on the field against their opponent teams in their division. But with this past offseasons 3A-1 conference shake-up, can the Jr Pirates repeat the same success from 2019? The shake-up saw the departure of conference heavyweights Booneville, Lamar, and Paris. Those spots will be void by no means though as Lincoln, Hackett, and Lavaca, look to stake claim in the Jr High 3A-1. Tack on Cedarville’s annual foes Greenland, Mansfield, Charleston, and West Fork and the Jr Pirates face quite an onslaught on the schedule. But a schedule is totally different than the field and the field is where the Jr Pirates set schedules ablaze.
One player coming back to do a little football tango in the Jr High department is freshman running back, Colton Arnold. Playing football for the last eight years, Colton will definitely be adding a power punch to the season. “This upcoming football season means a lot to my class in particular,” explains Arnold. “We have had the goal to be Conference Champions since we were all in seventh grade and although we came close last year, we did not achieve it. With us being the upperclassmen this year in Jr High, we have set the goal of Champions. With new teams in our conference that we have not faced before, we have to be prepared for anything. If it is the ground game or teams taking to the pass, we have set a mindset to be winners this year and to do whatever it takes.”
Also looking to shine alongside Arnold are linemen Briley Small and Braxton Bentley. “We have two quarterbacks, Kendal Hightower and Chasyn Oden, that have been working hard during summer workouts as well,” says Coach Washausen. “We will have a lot of new faces and a lot of spots to fill from last year. We are always wanting to build our numbers. As far as our 7th-grade team goes, Jayden Carter is going to be a very good back along with two solid linemen who have been showing up all summer, Levi Crowley and Justice Workman.”
As far as upcoming games go, Arnold has his eye set on Charleston. “They have been an old adversary to my group of guys for a long time. It would mean a lot for us to get a win against them.” Coach Washausen is looking forward to facing non-conference rivals the Mountainburg Dragons and conference competitors the Mansfield Tigers. Although it seems at times that 7th-grade football and Jr High football fall in the shadows of Sr High play, when it comes to building a successful program, they are the most important building blocks.
“I believe 7th and JR High is extremely important to the program which is why when I took over I wanted to be the head coach at all levels,” stats Washausen. “From 7th grade, Jr High, and Sr High football, I think we are really starting to see a program being built with improvements year to year. Everything starts from the ground up if you want to have sustained success.” When it comes to proving Coach Washausen’s theory, Colton Arnold is the perfect example of how focusing on the younger squads can successfully impact your Sr High team.
Arnold continues, “What inspires me to play is that I know that my teammates go 110% every play and push me to be my best every single play. Coach Washausen has always inspired me to try and take my game to another level. He has worked with the program to make us what we are. Cedarville Football! Some teams may count us out, but that just pushes us even more. No matter what anyone says about us, we always have a passion for the game to put in the work in the weight room and off the field. My team, my coaches, and Cedarville Football IS the reason I wake up every morning and eat, sweat, and bleed football. I believe we have the potential and the talent this year to be great.”
With the right mindset and work ethic, anyone old or young can make things happen. For the Jr High Pirates along with their coaches, this season could very well be the one to put this program over the top. And when all is said and done and the Pirates have accomplished their goals for the 2020 football season, Arnold’s gonna celebrate the only way he knows how. With his favorite concession stand food, Nachos! “Why nachos? Because besides the fact that I sneak them to the Sr High players when I run the endzone camera, nothin’s better at warming you up than hot cheese and chips!”
Pictures courtesy of Malinda Mizell