After having a winless year in 2021, the Mineral Springs Hornets finished this season in third place in 3-2A and a top 10 in Arkansas 2A under new Head Coach Jason Hathcock.
The Hornets closed out the year with a 7-4 record and earned the first round of playoffs where they were knocked out by Carlisle, 32-28.
“We came a very long way in one season,” the coach said. “I am very proud of our players and assistant coaches and the hard work they put in to build this program to where we are today.”
The Hornets will lose three senior starters on both sides of the ball “but we have an abundance of talent coming back next season, and now the players see and believe what we are capable of achieving.”
Nine Hornets earned 3-2A postseason awards. Juniors Jace Amerson and Katrevion Thomas were selected as All-State and All-District.
Other All-District players were seniors Keithan Smith, Romeo Lucero and Kamereon Hayes and sophomore Javeon Fricks, D’Kendrick Piggee and Rahmaji Ware with honorable mention for sophomore quarterback Evan Erwin.
Coach Hathcock said his two All-State players excelled on both offense and defense for the Hornets.
Thomas finished the season with 1,025 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns and six two-point conversions, with an average of 8.2 yards per carry. Thomas also led the team in tackling with 101 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery plus an interception, and two defensive touchdowns.
Amerson is an offensive and defensive linemen for the Hornets, and was a force to be reckoned with for opposing teams, according to his coach. With 71 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and 19 pressures, opposing offenses struggled to block him. On the offensive side of the ball, Amerson helped paved the way for team total of over 3,000 yards rushing on the season, with 41 champion blocks and 19 pancake blocks. Amerson also played some fullback in special formations and racked up 40 yard rushing and 2 touchdowns and a two-point conversion, averaging nearly seven yards per carry.
Hayes was the leading rusher for Mineral Springs tallying 1,204 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns and four two-point conversions, with an 11.8 yards per carry average. Hayes also contributed with 275 yards receiving for five touchdowns and a two point conversion.
Coach Hathcock calls Keithan Smith his “best offensive linemen” and a “bulldozer!” The offensive guard tallied a whopping 53 champion blocks with 16 pancakes.
Lucero was a very versatile defensive player for the Hornets playing multiple positions throughout the season. Lucero finished with 96 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions, three pass breakups and two pressures.
Fricks was a two-way player for the Hornets and lead the team in receptions and receiving yards with 22 catches for 557 yards and seven touchdowns. He also blocked well from his tight end position with 37 champion blocks and nine pancakes. On the defensive side of the ball, Fricks racked up 50 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, five sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one interception, three pass breakups, 12 pressures, and a defensive touchdown.
Piggee finished the season with 78 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, five pass breakups, and a team high three interceptions. Hathcock said Piggee was “very consistent and football savvy” and also contributed with 106 yard receiving with a touchdown and two two-point conversions, while also adding 32 champion blocks.
Ware managed to tally 75 tackles, and 12 tackles for loss while playing injured this season. “He has great natural instincts at linebacker” Hathcock said. Ware also contributed with 150 all purpose yards and a touchdown, with 19 champion blocks offensively.
Quarterback Evan Erwin received an All-District honorable mention after completing 42% of his passes for 1,032 yards and 16 touchdowns with three two-point conversions. The young QB also tallied 78 rushing yards for two touchdowns.