Friday, July 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Summer heat causes imagination to run wild

Leader sportswriter

Mid-summer is kind of like the calm before the storm when it comes to sports in this area, which is most likely the case in every part of the country. The sweltering heat keeps most of us indoors except for the early morning and evening, unless you’re one of the unfortunate ones to have an outdoor job, or in our world, an early baseball game.

Most of the American Legion games we cover start no earlier than 5:30 p.m., just about the time the most intense heat of the day starts to break. Occasionally, there will be a 2 p.m. starting time, but that’s OK because without American Legion baseball to cover, Ray Benton, Graham Powell and I would be left with the task of making up our own sports to cover.

One of our neighbors is a mobile-home repo guy, and he takes some of the confiscated trailers that are in really bad shape and runs them over with monster trucks in his back yard. But that may be pushing the boundaries of what can be considered an organized sport. Exciting? Heck yeah! Proper to place in a reputable publication? Probably not.

So, in the interest of filling space on a slow week, we thought it might be fun to make predictions on the upcoming prep and college seasons beginning with the upcoming fall football season. Many of our local teams find themselves in new conferences and even new classifications this year, with some in more favorable situations and others perhaps a little worse off than before.

Cabot is moving from the 7A/6A Central to the 7A/6A East Conference, putting them back into a league against many teams they faced weekly three cycles ago.

Sylvan Hills and Jacksonville were once a part of that conference, but enrollment numbers have pushed both of those schools down to Class 5A.

Our prediction for Cabot has nothing to do with classifications, but offensive formations. We believe coach Mike Malham will drop the long-favored Dead-T offense for a pure spread attack, and will rush the ball less than 20 times the entire season. Look for the Panthers to accumulate over 4,500 passing yards next season with four of their top receivers landing Division I college scholarships.

In basketball, Jacksonville boys head coach Victor Joyner will step down to dedicate more time to his other duties of public-address announcing at all Red Devil and Mighty Viking football games. To replace Joyner on the hardwood, the Pulaski County Special School District will keep the hiring process local and convince longtime Jacksonville Legion baseball coach Bob Hickingbotham to take the helm.

Gone will be the rap music played at halftime and in between games at the Devils Den, replaced by “The Best of the Glenn Miller Orchestra” and Red Sovine.

The biggest shake up at Sylvan Hills will not occur until spring, when it is discovered that the Persson family won the $100 million Powerball drawing and plan on buying their own island in the Caribbean where they will all reside. The following day, SHHS athletic director Denny Tipton will release a statement to inform everyone that the Bears and Lady Bears soccer programs will be cancelled indefinitely.

As for North Pulaski, we predict the Falcons will make the 5A state football playoffs this season (we hope this one actually comes true).

And finally, citing a desire to stay closer to home, basketball prodigy Archie Goodwin will back out of his scholarship to the University of Kentucky at the last minute in favor of taking a place on the Charles Ripley-coached Arkansas Baptist College Buffalos, where he will average nearly three minutes a game off the bench his freshman year.

So there you go, and remember, you heard it here first. And on the slim chance that some or none of these scenarios ever come to fruition, well, what did you really expect from a guy who has a 12 percent accuracy rating on prognosticating football games?