Gators ready for the Buckaroos

Updated: August 24, 2018

By Quinton Bagley

Little River News

Foreman running back Chandler Green runs for positive yards after taking a pitch from Gator quarterback Kyren Batey during last week’s scrimmage with Centerpoint. Foreman defeated the Knights, 32-0. The Gators will open the season at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, at Wilkins Stadium on the campus of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia when they face the Smackover Buckaroos.

In the months that have passed since the Foreman Gators won their first football state championship in December, the excitement for the 2018 season has been growing. Gator fans finally got to see their team in action last week as Foreman clobbered Centerpoint, 32-0, in a three-quarter scrimmage at The Swamp.

“I thought we had very good effort against Centerpoint,” Foreman head coach Mark King said. “I was disappointed in our execution of our offense. We were very sloppy and did not block very well at any position. The good thing is that the effort was there and we can fix everything.

“I thought our defense played very well for the first time out. We kept everything very basic on both sides of the ball. The kids played hard, we just have to get back to our fundamentals on offense and remember what got us to where we are.”

Senior Kyren Batey started the scoring with a 65 yard run for a touchdown in the first quarter. Shea Logal added the extra point to make the score 7-0.

Batey added another score in the second quarter on a one-yard run. The PAT was no good but the Gators led 13-0.

The scoring continued as Batey hooked up with Chase Gross for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good to give Foreman a 20-0 advantage.

In the third quarter, Quincy Robinson returned a fumble 84 yards for the score. The PAT was no good and the Gators led 26-0.

Nathan Gwin rounded out the scoring in the third with an 18-yard run. The extra point was no good making the final score, 32-0.

Foreman now turns its attention to the season opener. The Gators will open the season against the Smackover Buckaroos in the Hooten’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Kickoff Classic at Wilkins Stadium on the campus of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia on Monday, Aug. 27.

“Smackover is a very good football team,” King said. “They are extremely athletic; their skill players will be the best we have faced since I have been at Foreman. Their quarterback is outstanding and is a run-pass threat. They have a very good back that looks and reminds me of Kyren Batey. He is very fast and strong. They have several fast and talented receivers. They are a little undersized up front on the offensive line but they are very physical. It will be a very tough game for an opener.”

According to King, the Buckaroos run a spread offense.

“On offense, they will run the spread and run a lot of RPO stuff,” King said. “Like I said, they will be the best offense that we will play all year until the playoffs. They will run the counter and inside zone and also run the zone read with their QB/RB. They like to throw the deep ball to their fast receivers.”

King expects several different looks for the Smackover defense.

“On defense they base out of a 4 front with a 4-3 and 4-2 but I am sure we will get different looks,” King said. “They will run some 3-3 and 3-4 fronts against us and will be stunting a lot.”

King said playing in the Hooten’s Kickoff Classic means a lot to the team and the Foreman community.

“I think getting to play in the Hooten’s Kickoff Classic is a big deal for our program, school and community,” King said. “Being invited to a game like this means that our program is moving in the right direction and that we are doing things right. It has given our program, school and community some well deserved state-wide recognition. We couldn’t be happier or more proud of our students and community and we will represent them well on Monday.”

While there is a lot of excitement about starting the season and playing at Wilkins Stadium in Magnolia, King said that if the Gators don’t take care of business on the field it could be a long night against a talented bunch of Buckaroos.

“In order for us to come away with a victory against a very good Smackover team, we must not give up the big play on defense and we must control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” King said. “We will need to create turnovers on defense and not turn the ball over on offense. If we can limit their offensive positions by playing well on offense and have nice long drives and win the field position battle we stand a very good chance of winning the game.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, at SAU in Magnolia.