Catching Up With Tom Sears

Hoxie High School Head Football Coach Tom Sears has seen the game he loves evolve and change a lot since his playing days at Arkansas State in the early 90s. The Marion native was the starting quarterback for stAte in 1992 for then-head coach Ray Perkins.

In the era of spread formations and no-huddle offensive attacks, Sears believes in making sure his team is well prepared for a faster-paced game by participating in at least three 7-on-7 camps or tournaments each summer. His Hoxie program hosts what has come to be one of the largest and most popular 7-on-7 events in northeast Arkansas, the annual Beast of the East tournament. This past weekend's "Beast" drew 14 teams to Hoxie's Crider Field.

"We have very good relationships with a lot of the local coaches," Sears said today on AstAteNation Radio on The Ticket when asked about the popularity of his program's tournament. "We're looking at branching out and making it even bigger next year," he added.

Sears, who has an overall record of 89-62-1 at Hoxie, is set to begin his 15th year at the school, where he incorporated a successful "no-huddle" scheme for the Mustang offense seven years ago. Sears sees more teams following that trend nearly every year, yet he remains convinced the hurry-up no-huddle is just that, a trend.

"It's just all a part of a trend, I think. I won't be surprised if a few years from now, everybody's back to what we were doing a few years ago. It's all about controlling the line of scrimmage."

One of the players who helps Sears' team control that line is senior tackle Dylan Cagle, a 6-8, 315-pound "farmboy" who registered 30 knockdown blocks for the Mustangs last fall from his left tackle spot. As a defensive tackle, he had 59 stops for a 6-4 team. Sears says Cagle has drawn interest from several Division One schools, including ASU, Arkansas, Memphis and Duke.

"He works on the farm a lot in the summer, so he's not able to make a lot of the camps that college coaches use to evaluate recruits, and I think that's hurt him a little bit with some of the coaches. But he's a great kid and I feel like he's got the tools to play D1 ball," Sears said. Cagle does have some Division 2 offers, but no D1 offers in hand yet.

Randy Myers is the co-host of AstAteNation Radio. The program airs Monday-Friday from 11-1 on The Ticket 970am/95.3fm and on the web at