ARKADELPHIA, Ark. —
The Henderson State Reddies (NCAA Division II, Great American Conference) have been slotted into the No. 13 position in the American Football Coaches Association Preseason Football Poll, which is the highest a Great American Conference School has been ranked in the three-year history of the circuit.
The Reddies finished 10-1 a year ago, with their only loss coming to Missouri Western (45-21) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Nov. 24, 2012.
Local football fans may not realize it, but there are three Reddie players on the 2013 roster that have strong connections to the Cherokee County football scene.
Former Jacksonville Indian quarterback Ryan Black (6-3, 193) is a junior wideout, Darren Franklin (6-3, 215) is a freshman defensive tackle that prepped at Rusk High School and Derrick Ferguson (6-3, 215) is a junior defensive back who played JUCO football at Lon Morris College.
Black made the switch in the off season to wideout as a means of getting more playing time, as the Reddies feature one of the top D-II signal callers in American in Kevin Rodgers, a junior who is out of Rockwall, Texas.
While it is not know at this time if Franklin will be red shirted, Ferguson could see playing time in the Henderson St. defensive secondary, given his size and experience.
The Reddies will open the season at 6 p.m. on Sep. 7 with a conference game against Southern Nazarene University. That contest will be played at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia.
Thinking about a possible road trip to catch the local boys in action? Then mark your calender for Sep. 21 because that's when the Reddies will be in Durant, Okla (about three hours from Jacksonville) to take on Southeastern Oklahoma State.
If this season shapes up to be anything like last year, the Reddies should be an exciting team to watch.
Henderson St., who is coached by Scott Maxfield, led all D-II teams in scoring in 2012 when the Reddies averaged just over 50 points a game.
The Reddie offense averaged right at 517 total yards an outing (third best in D-II), with the team passing for just south of 378 yards a night. Wow!