Wolves banged up, but ready for Mountain Home in 6A West opener

Lake Hamilton plays top-ranked Greenwood for the 6A state championship Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Head coach Tommy Gilleran says the team with the fewest mistakes will probably win.


PEARCY, Ark. – Some might be surprised that Lake Hamilton is only a two-point favorite over Mountain Home in Friday night’s 6A West opener.

The Bombers haven’t had a winning season since 2011, but they’ve won their last two games and have scored 124 points this season in three games.

Missouri Hall of Fame coach Steve Ary is Mountain Home’s third head coach in five years, and whatever he’s doing appears to be working. The Bombers’ offense is influenced by the presence of former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett, a member of Ary’s staff.

Tommy Gilleran looking forward to Friday’s league opener with Mountain Home.

Ryan Mallett coaching at Mountain Home

Mallett played his schoolboy ball at Texarkana Texas High, and enjoyed a brilliant career for the Arkansas Razorbacks after transferring from Michigan.

“We’re concerned, but I think our kids are confident in what we are doing,” said Lake Hamilton coach Tommy Gilleran. “We’re excited about where we’re at and what’s going on.”

The Wolves are currently 3-0 and ranked third in Class 6A. However, Hot Springs exposed Lake Hamilton is a different team, weakened by several injuries.

“Our offensive line has not been the same in all three games,” said Gilleran. “We are getting better, but we’re also dealing a little with COVID with a couple of junior varsity kids out. They don’t have it, but had contact.

“Mountain Home has been down for a while, but this year they have a pretty good offense, and a quarterback (Bryce McKay) that is phenomenal. They like to run out of the spread. They’ve got some good sized kids, operating out of a 4-2-5 on defense. Their kids play hard every play.”

COVID-19 cases in Arkansas up

Bombers have explosive quarterback

In last week’s 49-45 win over Batesville, McKay accounted for 462 yards and five touchdowns. He rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

“We’ve had to move some kids around,” adds Gilleran. “Hopefully the kids we’re plugging in will play well for us on Friday. Our backs (Owen Miller, Tevin Woodley, Kendrick Martin) are healthy and running well. I think we’ll be throwing more as Grant Bearden gets more comfortable.”

One of the biggest pluses for the Wolves is the fact Mountain Home must travel four hours Friday to play the game.

“Anytime you drive four hours it’s awful,” said Gilleran. “You’re tired! Next year we’ll have to make two such trips. We’ll have to go to Mountain Home and Siloam Springs.”

I’m taking the Wolves, who should cover the two-point spread, Lake Hamilton, 38-21.

In other Arkansas high school action:

Arkadelphia at NASHVILLE – Expect this game to be determined in final minutes with Scrappers escaping with win, but Badgers more than capable of pulling the upset, 28-27.

Harmony Grove Haskell at ASHDOWN – Panthers cruise, 48-14.

Bismarck at GENOA CENTRAL – Dragons pull away in second half, 27-12.

Hot Springs Lakeside at CAMDEN FAIRVIEW – Cardinals may have too much speed for Rams, 26-20.

MOUNTAIN VIEW at Cutter Morning Star – Looking more and more like a long year for the host team, 40-21.

HOPE at De Queen – The Bobcats win a conference game, 20-7.

DIERKS at Magnet Cove – Tough pick, but the Outlaws are playing well, 34-33.

GURDON at Foreman – Gators should be a playoff team, but their record continues to suffer. Go-Devils win, 28-18.

Fountain Lake at JOE T. ROBINSON – No. 1 Robinson rolls on, 28-0.

GLEN ROSE at Jessieville – Lions keep it close for a while, but falls hard, 42-14.

Bauxite at MALVERN – This will be a hard fought game with Leopards prevailing, 14-10.

PARKERS CHAPEL at Murfreesboro – Rattlers still looking for answers at quarterback. Parkers Chapel wins, 24-6.

Mineral Springs at MOUNT IDA – Hornets have depth issues, and Lions are rebounding well, 28-22.

FORT SMITH SOUTHSIDE at Texarkana Arkansas High – The Razorbacks were supposed to open conference against Magnolia, but that game cancelled. This game with Southside scheduled and Hogs probably rather be playing Magnolia. FSS squeaks by, 14-13.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read Louie Avery’s columns, features and game reports on Caddo Country website or the Freed AM Sports App.