Arp has been one of East Texas' most consistent programs in recent years. The big question is, how will the Tigers respond to a district feature Class 3A Division II state contender Waskom and a slew of other solid programs?

Head coach Dale Irwin's 2014 team should be in good position to make their own run.

The Tigers return 12 starters, and there's good depth with 15 lettermen returning to the 16 lost to graduation.

When you have Marcalas Johnson and five other offensive starters returning, things are looking up. Johnson rushed for 1,903 yards as a junior and amassed 150 points for Arp. That's 25 touchdowns.

Johnson is a good answer to Waskom's four horsemen running set and should have the team contending for the District 8-3A Division II crown to the end.

The defensive side of the ball looks solid as well. Linebacker Kalik Hines and defensive lineman Tyrone Hunt both had more than 70 tackles last season to shore up a promising front seven and defensive unit returning six starters overall.

Waskom certainly looks like trouble and you can never discount Troup, Frankston, Elysian Fields or New Diana. All of those teams are in the district and each squad has at least one major playmaker.

Winona has not received much respect outside the region, but it's a very young team that could pop onto the scene as early as this season behind former Troup athlete Marcus Kincade.

West Rusk rounds out Arp's district with 17 returning starters. They will be playing for late teammate Adarian Parker.

The Arp Tigers have a challenging non-district schedule that ought to show their muscle before diving into the respectable district.

Things get underway with back-to-back games against Paul Pewitt and Hughes Springs. Either team, both already ranked in the Class 3A Preseason Poll, could circle back into Arp's way as early as the bi-district round of the playoffs.

The defining game of the season for the Tigers comes Oct. 10. Arp will pack it up and take on Waskom at the Wildcats' place with the district title likely hanging in the balance barring a Waskom slip up elsewhere in the district.


Arp's 2014 Football Schedule

Aug. 29Paul PewittW 52-12
Sept. 5at Hughes SpringsW 16-14
Sept. 12at FranklinCANCELED
Sept. 19OPEN
Sept. 26*at West RuskW 32-30
Oct. 3*WinonaW 63-6
Oct. 10*at WaskomL 34-24
Oct. 17*TroupW 38-21
Oct. 24*at New DianaW 53-8
Oct. 31*Elysian FieldsW 56-27
Nov. 7*at FrankstonW 65-38
Nov. 14vs. Hooks (at Mount Pleasant)W 44-0
Nov. 21vs. Gunter (at Royse City)L 35-28 2013 Preseason Class 3A Poll