On the last play of last season, Warren standout and University of Arkansas commit Jarius Wright was stopped just shy of the goal line in the Class 4A state championship game.
Or was he?
Replays on the War Memorial Stadium video board appeared to show that Wright (5-11, 180, 4.34) actually did get in, but that wasn't the official ruling and Nashville won the state title with a 21-20 victory.
"This year, we are going to be make sure it does not come down to the final play," Wright said. "That was heartbreaking, but pretty soon after that we just made up our minds to quit feeling sorry for ourselves and went to work."
That work has included off-season weight lifting and conditioning, spring practice, a bevy of 7-on-7 games and the past few weeks of pre-season practice.
All that has led up to Monday night's 7:30 p.m. season opener with Sheridan in Pine Bluff in the nightcap of a Hooten's Kickoff Classic doubleheader.
The Lumberjacks – who feature four UA commits and were 13-1 last season - will be looking for their third state title in seven years.
The Razorbacks also have pledges from Warren's split end Greg Childs, defender Basmine Jones and wideout Chris Gragg.
"Our kids haven't forgotten and never will," Warren head coach Bo Hembree said. "They are determined to go out and play every play of every game as hard as they can and not put ourselves in position for something like that to happen this season."
Central Arkansas Christian meets Pine Bluff Dollarway in the 5:30 p.m. opener of the doubleheader, which will be played at UAPB's Gates Stadium.
Wright is coming off a junior season in which he caught 51 passes for 1,086 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He started the season at wide receiver, but ended it playing quarterback due to injuries.
Wright is expected to play both wide receiver and cornerback while also returning kicks once he gets to Arkansas.
"He's a special player and as good I have had," Hembree said. "He just makes plays and changes games by doing it."
All four of those UA commits showed their talent last Monday in a scrimmage at Warren.
The Lumberjacks downed Bearden and Texarkana by identical scores of 21-0 in one-quarter games before losing to Camden Fairview 7-0.
Wright had touchdown catches of 66 and 36 yards, Childs a 70-yard grab and Jones a 40-yard TD catch.
Those passes were thrown by sophomore quarterback Hayden Smith.
"He has a little ways to go and we can all see that, but so far, so good," Wright said. "He is coming along very well."
Another sophomore that should help out the offense is tailback Courtney Haskell, who had two touchdowns in the three scrimmage quarters.
"He is going help out a lot, a real lot," Wright said. "He really helps out us receivers because we have a tailback now who can really run the ball."
Wright chose Arkansas over Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and others.
"It's great to be committed to the Razorbacks,' Wright said, "but I know that I have got to come out and play my senior year and compete for a state championship before I start thinking about playing college ball."
The scrimmage featured seven UA commits, including the Camden Fairview trio of quarterback Jim Youngblood, tailback De'Anthony Curtis and defensive end Lavunce Askew.
"I think we will all really help the U of A next year coming up there as freshmen," Wright said. "I think a lot of us will be able to get playing time as freshmen. There will be spots open and we just have to be ready to fill them."
The Wright Way
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