Head coach Dale Irwin and the Arp Tigers have quietly developed one of the best programs in the area. Since 2007, Arp is 49-16 with four trips to the state quarterfinals.

Unfortunately for Irwin, that’s where Arp’s season has ended in four of the last five seasons. If Arp is to make it back to the regional finals, replacements must be found for quarterback Kyle Copeland and running back Kasey McClendon, who were both three-year starters for Irwin.

The pieces are there for another long postseason run for Arp, including all-state receiver and safety Michael Roberson. In 2011, the 5-9, 165-pound speedster racked up 96 tackles, seven interceptions and had two defensive TDs and added more than 400 receiving yards.

Taking over at starting running back for McClendon will be Mikechell Potts, who contributed 800-plus rushing yards last season, averaging almost seven yards per carry.

Although Arp is bringing back just nine starters from last year, it seems unlikely that any other school in District 10-2A Division II will challenge the Tigers for league supremacy.

The first couple of rounds don’t figure to pose too much of challenge for Arp, but waiting in the wings in the regional final could be Elysian Fields, which eliminated the Tigers in the same round in 2007.


The 2A & Below Countdown:

No. 5: Crockett

No. 6: Elysian Fields

No. 7: New Boston

No. 8: Hughes Springs

No. 9: San Augustine

No. 10: Tenaha