HOPE – The Hope High School Bobcats will go into Friday’s home opener at Hammons Stadium against traditional rival Nashville with some new rules in place in the era of COVID-19.
Bobcat Coach Phillip Turner’s varsity will bring some experience to the field to run his “spread, air raid” passing attack on offense and a 4-2-5 defense with six offensive starters and five defensive starters returning.
Turner will have 14 lettermen back this year, so experience is on the positive side of the ledger for the Cats in most cases.
The Cats season opener at Little Rock Hall was a close game that showed some positives, he said.
“The kids played hard,” Turner said. “We saw a lot of positives from kids we were hoping would play well, and they did not disappoint.”
Defensively Ammorrion Dempsey, DeKobe Conway, and Adrian Dominguez were keys to holding Hall to a 7-0 game, he said.
“We didn’t have the outcome we all wanted, but we did see improvement,” Turner said.
Getting the crowd involved in the game will be more important for the Cats this year as home game seating at Hammons Stadium will be restricted to 66 percent of stadium capacity under AAA guidance on COVID-19, Turner said.
COVID-19 protocols for Hammons Stadium include:
--Required face mask which covers both nose and mouth will be worn at all times while on HHS grounds. Persons not adhering to the face mask protocol will be escorted from the stadium.
--Alternate row seating will be marked, and must be observed.
--Families may sit together, but must observe social distancing.
--Fans will be allowed to stand along the field fence line, but must observe social distancing, whether seated or not.
--Students in sixth grade and under must be accompanied by an adult to be admitted to the game.
--Foot traffic at Hammons Stadium will be directed in one-way lanes.
--Home game general admission seating reflecting the 66 percent capacity limit will be sold on a first come basis at the 18th Street box office at Hammons Stadium ONLY beginning at 5:30 p.m. on game day. Tickets are $5 each, and AAA season passes will be recognized within the 66 percent capacity limit.
--Gates will be closed after 66 percent capacity is reached; but, additional tickets may be sold should attendance drop below 66 percent capacity during the game.
--No athletes or staff members not participating in the game will be allowed free seating, per 66 percent limitation.
--No visiting team band or cheerleaders will be in attendance.
--Participating Hope varsity players, band members and cheerleaders will be allowed to purchase two tickets, which may be bought in advance Monday-Wednesday each week.
--Concessions will be operated during home games, but only sealed or pre-packaged food items will be sold.
Contact Turner or Co-Athletic Director Susan Powers at 870-777-3451 for other information.
The current Bobcat varsity football schedule is as follows:
Sept. 4 – Nashville, Here, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Ashdown, Here, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 – Prescott, Away, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 – DeQueen, Away, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 – Hot Springs, HOMECOMING, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 – Open date.
Oct. 16 – Lakeside, Here, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 – Camden, Away, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 – Texarkana, Here, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 – Magnolia, Away, 7 p.m.