Searcy: Lions growing under Poole

Conference: 7A/6A East
Coach: Jeromy Poole
’13 Record: 4-7 (3-4)

The Searcy Lions faced many changes in 2013, but the program managed to work through the transformation and earn a trip to the playoffs.

“It was a big transition for the program, but the guys played hard,” Coach Jeromy Poole said. “They had to learn a whole new system on both sides of the ball and did a good job considering that.”

The defining moment for the Lions came in Week 6 during the middle of conference play.

“Being down at Marion 14-0 and coming back to win the game — our guys played with a lot of heart and intensity,” Poole said.

The Lions will face more change on the field this fall as only three starters return on each side of the ball. Sam Willibey will see time at slotback and linebacker. Luke Dixon plays wide receiver and defensive back. Anthony Arnold will start at running back.

“Offense will be more run oriented with several play action passes,” Poole said. “We want to be able to control the line of scrimmage and play more ball control style of offense. Defense should be much improved, and we plan on playing more of a pressure style of defense. The players understand the defense better now, so we should be able to implement more blitzes and pressures."

Chris Qualls returns to handle all kicking duties for the Lions. He’s also a member of this year’s 501 Football Team.

“Chris helped us recover some very important onside kicks [last season],” Poole said. “Chris is a young man with great character and integrity.”