Hopeful in Arkansas

LaBrandon Harris is known throughout Arkansas as a versatile, and very fast, athlete.

The Hope Bobcats went undefeated in their district in both 2000 and 2001. Johnny Turner took over as Head Coach in 2002 and has an overall record of 37-28 at Hope.

Last season, Hope finished 6-4 before falling to West Helena in the first round of the playoffs. The Bobcats have made the playoffs for eleven straight years and look to add to that streak this season.

LaBrandon Harris started at quarterback last year, but he expects to play both running back and quarterback this season. The 5'8" athlete, who also plays free safety for coach Turner, burst on the 5A scene in Arkansas as a sophomore in 2006.

That season, the Bobcats finished 7-4, but lost to rival Magnolia in week 10. Hope beat Magnolia in 2007, but must travel south for the contest this time around. Look for a playoff bid to be on the line in Magnolia when these two teams face off on November 6th.

Harris recently attended the Dooley Dawg Football Camp in Ruston last weekend. He joined teammates Trey Holyfield, a senior, and junior O'Ryan Shepard. Holyfield is a fullback, but he is also strong enough to help out on the defensive line. Shepard is a promising linebacker prospect at 6'0" and 230 lbs.

Shepard said they are going to camps this summer in hopes of getting noticed. "No one covers Hope," he said. "It's hard to get noticed in South Arkansas."

Hurting Shepards chances was a broken finger he suffered in Day 3 of the camp. There should be reason for hope in Hope though; nearby Camden and Warren sent several players to Division One schools this year and have college scouts pulling out their southern Arkansas maps.

It's hard to believe the hometown of Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee is hard to find. Hope is right off of the interstate in between Texarkana and Little Rock. Known for it's watermelons, Hope attracts thousands of people each August for their Watermelon Festival.

With eleven straight playoff appearances, college recruiters will find their way to Hope sooner than later.

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