The Speake Bobcats have a new coach

Coach Royal Carpenter takes over the Speake program after former Coach Heath Grimes came into that situation and took the Bobcats to new heights in class 1A football. The Bobcats have been very close to winning their region the past three seasons, but that is a goal they have yet to reach.

After going 10-2 last season, with a loss to Sulligent in the second round of the playoffs, the Bobcats will look for that ever elusive region title again this season. Here is where the proud people of Speake strike up the band for Coach Royal Carpenter, who is no stranger to the game, as he spent 30 years on the Hatton High School staff before retiring in 1999.

Coach Carpenter discusses his return to the gridiron

"I missed it," Coach Carpenter stated. "I missed the competition, and Friday nights. Upon returning, Carpenter is once again feeling the anxiety that comes along with the job.

"I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day, like we're stuck in the mud. You sit there at night and wonder what more you could have done to prepare them, but you really can't prepare them in the short time we have with them," he said.

Carpenter comes to Speake with the loss of seven starters from the 2007 squad. But, he didn't walk into a situation without talent.

"We are down to about 18 guys that we are going to depend on this year," he said. We've had a few injuries, and we have Dez Polk, and KC Orr that will miss the first three games. That will hurt us some."

Anyone that knows Speake football could argue that Dez Polk, K.C. Orr, and Demetrae Griffin are the top three players on the team, as well as three of the top players in the region. All are considered college prospects, which will play a role in the development of the team as the season progresses.

Perhaps the biggest loss to graduation was TJ Hoyt. The Bobcat signal caller started at the position for four years. He is replaced this season by sophomore, Cody Voss.

"He will be all right, Carpenter said of Voss. "He comes from a good bloodline, and he just has to step in and do a good job for us." asked Coach Carpenter which games are the most important in the Bobcats attempt at a run at the region title. In true coaching form he had this to tell us.

"We are more concerned with ourselves than we are anyone else. We need to make sure we're ready for Tharptown this week," he said.

While being prepared for Tharptown is first and foremost on the Bobcats list, there is no denying that Hazlewood, R.A. Hubbard, and Phillips, Bear Creek are the Bobcats' stiffest competition in region play.

Stay with as we follow Coach Royal Carpenter's return to the gridiron, and the Speake Bobcats throughout the 2008 season.

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