Edwards brings ‘high character’ to Mustangs

by Levi Gilbert

For Jason Edwards, football and faith are a family tradition at Central Arkansas Christian. The senior grew up watching Mustang football with his parents on Friday nights. 

“Football has always been in my family,” Edwards said. “Both of my brothers played for CAC under Coach Shoemaker before me. I always knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps.” 

After finishing 8-4 overall and third in the 2-4A last fall, the CAC Mustangs made a huge change heading into this season — they switched from the Spread offense to the Wing T. The season has been a struggle for Edwards and CAC (0-8, 0-5). 

“No matter what the score is, our team has tons of fun playing each game,” Edwards said. “You can ask anybody on our team, and they will say the same thing. We love playing the game of football.”

In Week 9, the Mustangs will host undefeated Baptist Prep on senior night. CAC has a huge task in front of it to pull off the upset, but Edwards is confident in his team, despite their record. 

“We are really looking forward to playing Baptist Prep because it’s senior night and our last home game,” Edwards said. “We want to win it.

Our game plan is to defensively shut them down and help our offense out as much as we can. It makes it easier for our offense to execute if our defense can keep them out of the end zone and give our offense good field position. 

“Our goal this season was to be the toughest and most physical team on the field on Friday nights. Our coaches have really focused on making sure we are disciplined and that we put in as much work as possible every day. We’ve worked to get better every week.”

Edwards, a senior running back/wide receiver/defensive back for the Mustangs, was selected to this year’s 501 Football Team — 25 players representing all 11 counties of the 501. The team, sponsored by Conway Ortho and Sports Medicine, Conway Regional Health System and First Security Bank, boasts the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Edwards was nominated by his head coach, Tommy Shoemaker.

“Jason is a smart player and knows where he fits in the scheme,” Shoemaker wrote in his nomination. “He’s a high character person and has a very strong work ethic. Jason plays the game hard and the right way. He treats opponents and officials with respect. In the classroom, he’s very humble and takes care of his business.

“Jason is a great person, and I’m proud to coach him.”

Although his senior season hasn’t gone how he planned it, Edwards reflects fondly on his final year on the grid iron.

“I will remember the friendships I have made with my teammates through the years,” he said. “I have made friendships through football that I would have never made if I didn’t play. I have loved playing for Coach Shoemaker. He knows what he is doing when it comes to football, but he is also very involved outside of football, too. He is very fun to be around.”

At CAC, Edwards is involved in Beta Club, National Honor Society and History Club. Outside of school, he is active in his youth group at Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock. After graduation, Edwards plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in business.

“I love the diversity the 501 has,” Edwards said. “You can go downtown and feel like you’re in a big city, but then you can drive only 20 or 30 minutes and be surrounded by farmland. Each community is different.”

Edwards and the Mustangs play host to Baptist Prep at 7 p.m. Friday.