16 Aug 2017 MORRILTON: Devil Dogs a young, ‘talented’ team in 2017
Conference: 5A West
Coach: Cody McNabb
’16 Record: 5-6
The Morrilton Devil Dogs started 2016 with a 4-1 record before having to forfeit their wins. Despite the setback, the Devil Dogs closed out the regular season with five straight wins, including a 28-26 victory over eventual 5A West champ Alma.
“It was an interesting year,” Coach Cody McNabb said. “We had a really good team that played really hard. Winning the Alma game coming off some real adversity was a defining moment for us. A team and a community came together. It was a special thing.”
The Devil Dogs have big holes to fill this fall. Morrilton graduated two 1,000-yard receivers (Deiontae Duncan and Grahm Heidenreich), quarterback Caleb Canady who threw for 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns and a 1,000-yard rusher in Danny Smith.
Junior Dylan White and sophomore Jacolby Criswell are battling at quarterback. Junior Brett Jones could be a standout at running back. Seniors Tory Criswell and Laken Dillard bring experience at receiver. Four upperclassmen return on the offensive line: seniors Gage Desalvo, Garnett Russell and Joseph Canady and junior Hunter Desalvo.
The Devil Dogs return with experience at every level of the defense. Seniors Isaiah Williams and Jackson Joyner are back at end and tackle, respectively. Senior Brandon Russell and junior Garrett Hendrix return at linebacker. Dillard (all-state in 2016) and junior Dalton Kellar are back on the corners.
“We are young on both offense and defense, but I think we have some talented young kids that will get better with experience,” McNabb said. “It will be tough, but we could have a chance to get into the playoffs. We have an experienced offensive line and young, but good, quarterback play. Our weaknesses are inexperience and depth at skilled positions.”