The Carlisle Bison football team opened fall camp with 37 players Monday and then added one during the second day of drills.
“We had mid-40s during the spring and you usually drop some,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “We’ve been real fortunate in the past that numbers have been good, and I think it will be.”
The Bison are coming off a 13-1 season in which they finished as state runners-up, losing to Strong in the Class 2A state title game.
“We lost a lot of great guys who were seniors last year,” Waymire said. “Those are some big shoes to fill, not only in wins on Friday night, but they were successful at everything they did. They approached practice the right way. They were great teammates to everyone.
“We’ve got a small senior class with eight seniors. We’ve got a couple of those who have been playing for three years and some of them have been role guys. Now, it’s time for them to change from the role guy to the guy. That is just part of high school football.”
Waymire said the first two days of practice went well.
“We were fortunate to get a little bit of a rain shower on the first day and it cooled us down a little bit,” he said. “Tuesday, it was a little warmer. Our kids did a good job. They did a good job working in the summer. We were in pretty good shape.”
Waymire said it’s been an adjustment for everyone because he replaced his entire coaching staff. B.J. Greene left to coach at Heber Springs. Wes Rowland is now the head junior high coach at Riverview while Mark Lewis is now the head coach at Western Yell County.
The new coaches are Brandon Barbaree, who was head coach at England; Adam Leatherwood from Palestine-Wheatley; and Michael Smith from Mineral Springs.
“They’ve done a tremendous job connecting to our kids,” Waymire said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
This year, a series of precautions were put in place by the Arkansas Activities Association when it comes to the first week of football practice. Teams can practice in helmets only the first three days and then add shoulder pads the fourth day. Teams can practice in full pads after the fifth day, which would be Saturday.
“We’ve always put our players’ safety first,” Waymire said. “We’re not a big full-pad team all the time anyway. That stuff didn’t affect us. It’s making sure everyone makes a conscious effort and do what is best for the kids and that has been our goal all along.”
The Bison open the season at McCrory on Aug. 31.
Aug. 31 at McCrory
Sept. 7 Mountain Pine
Sept. 14 at Osceola
Sept. 21 Palestine-Wheatley
Sept. 28 at Clarendon
Oct. 5 at Brinkley
Oct. 12 Hazen
Oct. 19 at Marvell
Oct. 26 at Des Arc
Nov. 2 Hazen