At the end of the 2014 season, the Clinton Arrow defense was playing as good as any team in Class 6A.
In the 2014 playoffs, the Arrows held Grenada to 7 points and eventual Class 6A state champion South Panola to 9 points, their lowest point total at home in over 20 years.
New Arrow defensive coordinator Devin Cooper hopes his defense can get back to holding tough opponents to only one touchdown, but admits that might take a while.
CHS lost 3 major tacklers to graduation, 2 on the front line and a linebacker. Gone are Rodney Edwards, and D.J. Henderson on the front line and linebacker Nic Chatman, all who made a lot of tackles in leading CHS to a 10-win season in 2014.
“We’ve got some young guys who will have to step up early to fill those spots,” said Cooper. “We’re not as big up front this year but we have some fast guys we feel can help us with their speed. Jacobie Hearn and Michael Nash both are looking good up front for us.”
Hearn, a junior, has started on defense for two years and has a lot of experience. Nash started on the offensive line last year and will play both ways on the offensive line and defensive line this season. Other players vying for a start on the front defensive line include senior Carlos Thomas, senior Haven Cox, and junior Jermaine Brown.
At linebacker are returners Gideon Pierce, a senior, and junior, Roy Douglas. Both saw a lot of playing time a year ago. Vying for the other linebacker positions are seniors Deonte Griffin and Sterling Andrews, along with sophomore Keyshawn Harris.
The defensive secondary is where the Arrow defense is the strongest going into the season with a lot of starters back. The secondary is led by senior LeMarques Thomas, a 2-year starter at safety, who already has multiple Division 1 college offers, and senior Armani Lewis, also a 2-year starter at cornerback. Senior Ty Irwin will see a lot of action at safety along with sophomore Cam Lewis, Armani ‘s brother, and sophomore Kerion Lewis will see a lot of playing time at cornerback.
“We will also use some of the skill guys from offense, like Cam Akers, Darius Maberry and Kameron White in the secondary in certain situations,” Cooper said.
“Playing South Panola the first game has been a good incentive this summer for the guys to work hard to get ready to play on defense. If we can play consistently, we have a chance to be real good on defense. We’ll make a few mistakes, and it may take us a few games to get there with all the new faces we have. We’re going to take it one game at a time, and hopefully by the time we get to district play on the fifth game, we will have it together on defense.”