HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE: Rams charging for a playoff spot

Conference: 5A South
Coach: Jared McBride
’14 Record: 4-6 (3-4)

The Lakeside Rams were on the cusp last fall, just missing out on the playoffs out of the 5A South. This year, the Rams look to return to the playoffs, but they will have to gel quickly on the defensive side as they will field several new starters.

Junior Fisher Alexander takes over at quarterback. Senior Colt Housley returns at running back after splitting time there last fall. Sophomore Dupree Swanson will be a top newcomer at running back. Seniors DJ Crook and Maurice Bradford (a 501 Football Team honoree) and juniors Hayden Gray and Caleb Dean will be the main contributors at receiver. The Rams will field mostly seniors on the offensive line — JD Miller and Chris McFarland at the tackles, Josh Morton at guard and Deston Jones at center. Junior Trey Couch starts at the other guard position.

“Bradford is an all-state player that will play Division I football,” McBride said. “Housley will play Division II ball and is a tough football player. Morton is No. 1 in his class and a great three-year starter.”

Housley also starts at defensive end and will lead other senior defensive linemen John Alban (tackle), Hayden Hunter (end) and Hunter Cross (end). Bradford and senior Kennedy King both start at linebacker. Juniors Jack Hill and Nate Brunson also rotate at linebacker. Senior Caden Vaughn and junior Kelen Bland start at the safety spots. Senior Malek Hearnsburger and Crook look to lockdown the corner positions.

“We have a lot of spots to fill on defense,” McBride said. “We will play hard and fast. We will have an all new crew on special teams.”