CAMDEN — Third year coach Matt Hopkins hopes to see Preble Shawnee’s football program continually get better under his tutelage.
The Arrows finished 0-10 in the first season under Hopkins, and improved to 3-7 last season.
“When you take over a program and your best record in history is 7-3 and the second best is 6-4, you kind of know what you’re getting into,” said Hopkins.
“Anybody can go in and teach a good team. I wanted to challenge myself and take over a program that I love and that I was a part of, and try to turn it around.”
Shawnee will bring in a big senior-led team, including a very experienced offensive and defensive line.
“I feel like that should be our strength is our offensive and defensive line. When you have four seniors possibly going both ways, you should be pretty good up front,” said Hopkins. “The sheer depth that we have there and it’s senior laden. Our skill guys – we just don’t have much depth and they are all young. We’re counting on (the line) to be our strength this year.”
Paul Conway, Jack Adams, Cameron Davidson, Zach Ramsey, and Tanner Crabtree are all senior members who will see plenty of time in the trenches on either end of the football.
The man these seniors will be protecting is junior Joby Williams, who will become a three-year starter at quarterback for Shawnee. Williams set a school record for most passing yards in a single season last year and is hoping to continue his on-field prowess.
“To do so, we will first need to clean things up with his footwork and decision-making,” says Hopkins.
The Arrows want to first and foremost be competitive in each and every game. Hopkins hopes his team will earn the respect of the entire league, including the heavyweights Waynesville and Carlisle this season.
“We’ve got to develop a little bit of fight and a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Hopkins. “Let’s be honest, we have been the laughing stock of the league and I think these guys are tired of it. As a staff, I know we are tired of it. Our one main goal is to turn some heads this year in a positive way and to earn some respect. If we can earn some respect, the win-loss record is going to take care of itself.”
The Arrows open up the season hosting Preble County opponent National Trail on Friday at 7:30 p.m.