McCollum's Column: Wampus Cats are multiplying for football

Conway High football coach Clint Ashcraft’a plan of addition by subtraction has actually multiplied.

Ashcraft didn’t think some of his players were as committed as they needed to be last summer or in the fall. He and his staff set a minimum (14) of players attending the maximum of 18 summer workouts to stay on the team.

“We wanted to get rid of the lukewarm guys,” said Ashcraft during a talk before the Conway Kiwanis Club on Wednesday.

This summer, 81 percent of the Wampus Cats made all 18 workouts, Only six players didn’t make the minimum.

The Cats began preseason drills with 140 players on the varsity — 38 seniors, 39 juniors and 64 sophomores. A incoming transfer student will make 141.

“You would think by raising our standards, we would lose several more players; it has been just the opposite,” he said.

He does not have 141 uniforms — so there might be some stitching in time.

Ashcraft allows his entire roster to dress out for home games. The coaches will try to limit the travel roster to 85.

With realignment and the Central Conference consisting of eight 7A teams again, travel will be easier. Only Fort Smith Northside and Southside are outside of central Arkansas and North Little Rock (Conway’s closest 7A opponent) will be in the Wampus Cats’ conference again.

The Cats will soon move into their new multi-use facility that includes a 60-yard artificial turf field.

“It’s a huge building,” he said. “We will have a large team meeting room and more locker space, 168 lockers. It will have a lot of things we haven’t been able to do like having the entire team lift together and have a locker room together and have a team room. We will have a place to go for a good practice in bad weather.

“We will can go indoors and spread out and throw the ball around a little bit rather than going on the parking lot after school.”

The “Old Wampus Cats” raised $140,000 for a new set of weights.

The building has a large mezzanine that will be untilized for offices and workout areas dedicated to other sports. All will have access to the field.

Other sports teams will move into the old fieldhouse.

Ashcraft says which sports go where is above his pay grade.

He’s all football.

 

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net)

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