Last season, the Magazine Rattlers surprised everyone in the 2A-4 football conference. Everyone but themselves that is. The Magazine coaches and players knew they had something special going into the 2019 season. They had a group of young men that provided the perfect mix of talent, power, speed, and size. They had players who were experienced, hungry for victory, and determined to win. But more important than any of that, Magazine had players who were PROUD to wear that Rattler jersey on Friday nights.
Magazine recorded an 8-2 overall season record, won the conference title with a dominant undefeated 5-0 conference record, and pounded their way into the second round of the State Playoffs in 2019. In conference play, the Rattlers thumped every team they played by outscoring their opponents 210-74 in only five games. And their two losses weren’t anything to hang their heads about either. First a close 33-32 loss to Cutter Morning Star early in the season and then their second-round Playoff game to eventual 2019 2A State Champions Fordyce with a final score of 38-14.
New Head Coach, Ryan Chambers, explained, “We had a great season last year. It was our fourth conference championship in school history and our first since 2011. We had one hiccup during the non-conference schedule but took care of business in every conference game after that. Overall it was a very successful year. My personal favorite game of 2019 was the Mountainburg game. We came out and played great from the first whistle. To beat the defending conference champions 36-16 on our home field was a great feeling for the players.”
One name noticeably absent from this article is a name that has been notorious with Magazine for over a decade. That’s right! Former head coach, Doug Powell, will not be joining the Rattlers on the field this year as he accepted the head coaching position at Waldron in late spring of 2020. Doug will be joining a talented Bulldog staff which includes Ryan Chambers’s brother, Cory Chambers. Although he will be missed, the Magazine faithful know they have the right man to fill Powell’s absence on the sidelines. Coach Ryan Chambers is so deeply ingrained in Magazine football that he has venom running through his veins. With Chambers at the helm, Magazine will surely be adding a few new “Rattles” to the ol’ trophy case in the upcoming years.
“I’ve been a part of this program since I was in the 7th grade. I was a part of the first turnaround in the program as a player when Josh Jones was coaching and then again after school as a coach with Doug Powell. I believe I know what it takes to win at Magazine and hopefully, I can implement this same attitude with the kids I’ll be coaching. We have made huge strides these last couple of years with high expectations from our players when it comes to summer/offseason workouts and I will be looking to take that next step in the program in that regard. Beau Sikes will be my defensive coordinator this year as well as the Jr High head coach. As of right now, it will be just the two of us on the coaching staff. For now though, I’m just looking forward to our first game of the upcoming season which will be against the Mansfield Tigers.”
Although 2019 was a memorable year for Magazine football, they must now hit the reset button and begin the process of filling holes in the snake pit left by their outgoing seniors. Caleb Hyatt who rushed for over 3,000 yards in only three seasons with his head busting ground and pound attack. Team leader Xeng Yang, who moved on air through defenses. And lineman Bryce McDowell who was a great runner and run stopper. But losing great players to graduation is the nature of the beast. The Rattlers can slay that beast though as they are eyeing to start a winning tradition in Magazine football.
“We have kids who can definitely help us repeat last year’s success. With hard work and determination from these upcoming seniors and underclassmen, I believe we can fill these holes. Last year’s team set everyone’s expectations of Magazine football high. So our players this year have a goal to not only reach those expectations but to beat those expectations as well. To do that though, we can’t have just a handful of players give it their all in practice and games. Our entire team has to step up and bust their tails. By the time fall camp gets here, we will find out who wants to win.”
“Overall, I think we have a great opportunity to do something that Magazine has only done one time. Win back to back conference championships. I know we lost some talent from this past season, but we bring back a great core group. We bring back almost our entire offensive line. We look for senior, Kobe Faughn, to have a breakout season too. He is a great running back and I believe one of the best linebackers in the state.”
The dreaded COVID-19 epidemic that is effecting every football program in the nation isn’t bypassing Magazine either. The Rattler coaching staff has been putting in the overtime to make sure they stay in contact with their players and that everyone is keeping their eye on the prize. “It’s been tough not being able to be at school and making sure the kids are hitting the weights. Every school is in the same shape so I’m not too worried about it hurting our program. Our players are doing whatever they can to get ahead of everyone else during this time. I know the kids are itching to get back to work so they can accomplish their goal of a great Magazine Rattler 2020 football season.”