Tuesday, September 2, 2014

KCLT- FM and the HWH Booster Club Partner Again to Broadcast Cougar Football; Bagley Begins 10th season as Voice of the Cougars

Bagley and Etherly in the booth

For the third consecutive season, the HWH Booster Club and the Delta Force 3 Radio Network will partner to bring the broadcast of Cougar Football and Basketball to the airwaves and online.

School Board President and Booster Club Secretary Andrew Bagley, who will be the Voice of the Cougars for the 10th consecutive season, will be rejoined in the broadcast booth by Attorney Don Etherly, who served as a color analyst on the Cougar Broadcast a few years ago.  Bagley said, "Many of our listeners have been clamoring for Mr. Etherly's return to the broadcast.  Don is very knowledgeable about the game and brings a steady, informed analysis to the broadcast.  He is also a joy to work with in the booth."

Bagley continued, "It is an honor to be able to celebrate a decade of Cougar broadcasts this season, which will be Coach Smith's 9th year at the helm.  We have seen the program develop and improve substantially over that time.  There have been six playoff berths, a conference championship that was the first in 60 years, and a state finals appearance during the Russell Smith era.  We have seen the equipment upgraded and this year we are finally seeing some upgrades to Cad Polk Stadium with the bleacher seating renovation.  I have enjoyed the past ten years and hope Coach Smith, Delta Force 3, the HWH Booster Club, and I will get to be around for at least ten more and see the program reach even greater heights.  Friday nights should be all about the Cougars in Helena-West Helena either with your presence at the game or via listening to the broadcast."

Bagley also thanked the management and staff of Delta Force 3 for their work with the Booster Club to make sure there was a network home for Cougar Football and Basketball.  He said, "The partnership between the Booster Club and Delta Force 3 has been very beneficial for both sides and has raised the profile of Cougar Athletics.  During that time, we have expanded into coverage of basketball in addition to football on KCLT-FM 104.9 and our games can now be heard on smartphones via the Radio Loyalty app in addition to via a computer on www.force3radio.com.  We are the only school in the Tri-County area that can be heard worldwide, and we appreciate Raymond Simes and the rest of the Delta Force 3 management and staff for their vision and their support of the Helena-West Helena School District through this partnership."

The Cougars open the season at Cad Polk Stadium on Friday against the #2 Dollarway Cardinals.  Kickoff is set for 7:00.  The pregame show will start approximately 15 minutes prior to kickoff on KCLT.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cougars Open Season with Top 3 Foe at Home

Unlike some other nearby schools, no one can accuse the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars of having a soft nonconference schedule.  When kickoff arrives on Friday, the Cougars will be hosting the Dollarway Cardinals, who are ranked in the Top 3 of Class 4A in three separate polls.

The Cardinals are #3 in both the Hooten's Arkansas Football and Fearless Friday Polls.  The Associated Press had Dollarway at #2.  The Cougars received four votes in the AP poll. 

Coach Russell Smith said he wanted the Cougars to have an early test.  "I believe that having tough games early prepares you for conference play.  We are trying to establish ourselves as one of the elite programs in our classification and region.  The only way you do that is to take on some of the best teams and win.  That's why we have a nonconference schedule that includes a top 5 Class 4A team and Forrest City, which is in a higher classification."

The Cougars battled Dollarway tough last year, trailing by only seven points most of the fourth quarter before falling 34-19.  Dollarway went on to win 10 games. 

Helena-West Helena has a squad filled with veteran leadership.  Nine starters return on offense and eight return on defense from a squad that had a winning season and returned to the playoffs as one of the state's smallest Class 5A schools last year. 

Smith said, "We have a lot of experience.  Our lineman are strong.  We have some speed at the skill positions.  If we continue to work hard and play smart, mistake-free football on  Friday nights, we will have a good season."

Dollarway returns six starters on offense and five on defense.  Smith said, "They have a lot of size and speed.  They are very talented at the skill positions.  We will have to play a great game to win."

Another addition this season is a major renovation to Cad Polk Stadium.  The school district, with a contribution from the Booster Club, is completing a much needed reconstruction of the bleacher seating.  Coach Smith said, "Our facilities have been neglected for far too long and we have gotten way behind our competition.  This will greatly enhance our stadium and I am hopeful that this is just the beginning as we seek to get on par with the rest of our competition."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

CHS Fans Donate to Grace Community Food Pantry

City Treasurer Patrick Roberson accepts CHS's donation to the food pantry from
School Board President Andrew Bagley and Asst. Principal Earnest Simpson, III
At the annual intrasquad game, Cougar Nation donated 349 cans of food and $54.50 to the Grace Community Food Pantry.  This is the second consecutive year that Cougar Fans have made a significant contribution to the work of the food pantry.

CHS Athletic Director Russell Smith said it is important for the school to participate in projects that help the community.  He said, "Many of the families that we serve probably utilize the service of the food pantry and it is important that we teach our students to help those in need.  Mr. Simpson and I sat down and felt like this was an excellent opportunity for Central High School and its supporters to engage our Cougar Family in helping others."

Earnest Simpson, CHS Assistant Principal, echoed those sentiments saying, "Central High School has some of the most generous people in this community.  We also serve some of the most at-risk families in our community who truly need help.  It seemed like a natural community service project for the school and our fans to focus on gathering a donation of food for the Grace Food Pantry at our annual intrasquad game."

City Treasurer Patrick Roberson, a volunteer for the food pantry said, "We are so appreciative of the support we received from Central High School and Cougar Fans this year.  It is a pleasure to work with Mr. Simpson, Coach Smith, and Andrew Bagley (School Board President) on this project.  Our community has some of the best people you can find and tonight's donation from Cougar Fans is just another example of that.  I wish the Cougars the best on the upcoming football season as well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cougars Win 7-on-7 Championship For Second Straight Year

7 on 7 Champions
For the second consecutive year, the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars have captured the East Arkansas 7-on-7 football league title.

The Cougars, who are picked to finish 2nd in the 2-4A in the Hooten's Arkansas Football rankings, have been expected to rely more heavily on the running game this season.  Consequently, the passing-dominated 7-on-7 success is pleasant news.

Head Coach Russell Smith said, "I have been pleased with the improvements that we have seen over the summer.  Our guys have been working hard on the practice field and in the weight room.  We have had a chance to work with multiple quarterbacks during the 7-on-7 season.  Now we will have a short break before preseason practice starts in August."

The Cougars defeated West Memphis, Forrest City, Earle, Trumann, and East Poinsett County to win the title.  The teams faced off multiple times over the past few weeks. 

Keith Hays is projected to be the starting quarterback for the Cougars.

Helena-West Helena will open the regular season at Cad Polk Stadium on September 5 against the Dollarway Cardinals.  That kickoff is set for 7:00 pm. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

CHS Algebra and Geometry Scores Improve

Great things happen every day in HWHSD!
Good news continues to come out of the Helena-West Helena School District as score reports on this year's Algebra and Geometry end of course exams show significant improvement for Central High School.

At last Monday's board meeting, new Superintendent John Hoy reported to the school board that the scores were up by 10% in Algebra and 8% in Geometry. He said, "I am pleased to report the improvement and look forward to building on these gains to increase student achievement."

School Board President Andrew Bagley was also happy with the gains saying, "This is just another example of great things happen every day in HWHSD. Our teachers have been working very hard and this is an example of that hard work. It's an exciting time to be a Cougar. We are a school district on the rise, and I encourage everyone to get on board and enroll their children in HWHSD."

School begins for students on August 18. Teachers return on August 11.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HWH Booster Club To Purchase Floor for Cougar Gym; Southern Bancorp to Provide Community Sponsorship

Artist Rendering of New Floor at CHS Gymnasium
HELENA-WEST HELENA- In a statement issued today, the Helena-West Helena Booster Club announced its donation of a new wood playing surface to the Helena-West Helena School District's main gymnasium at Central High School, with Southern Bancorp supporting the effort as a community sponsor.

Andrew Bagley, School Board President and Booster Club Secretary, was overjoyed at the announcement saying, "The Cougars have needed a new floor in that gymnasium for many years. The current surface had become a safety issue since it was long past its scheduled life span.  This new floor will give the Cougars a first class playing surface that will last for many decades with proper maintenance.  It will be very similar to the courts used for the NCAA Tournament. The new surface will also improve the appearance of the facility and enhance CHS's chances of hosting conference and state tournaments."

He continued, "This development would not have been possible if it had not been for Southern Bancorp's sponsorship and for their willingness to finance the remainder of the purchase amount at a very affordable rate to give the Booster Club time to raise the rest of the funds, yet install the floor in time for this basketball season. I have no doubt that this community will aid us in our efforts on this project as it has in the past."

"This is a great opportunity for not only the student athletes at CHS, but also for the community as a whole," said Southern Bancorp Regional CEO Jimbo Boyd. "Southern is a community development bank, and as such we look for investments that create economic opportunity in the communities we serve. Not only will this new floor provide a safer, more reliable playing surface, but it will also serve as a launch point for attracting tournaments, teams and fans – which means more dollars for local businesses. This type of investment has a community-wide impact, and that's why Southern is involved."

HWHSD officials were also ecstatic with the news. Athletic Director Russell Smith said,
"This is a huge step forward for our athletic program. We want to be the best at every sport that we offer.  This will place our facility in the upper echelon of the facilities in our conference and with some other cosmetic improvements, we could easily get our facility to one of the top arenas in Class 4A. With 2500 seats and six dressing rooms, we certainly have one of the largest basketball venues in our classification.  I appreciate the hard work of our Booster Club board and members who work hard on behalf of Cougar athletics.  Our district is thankful that the Booster Club has been able to make this project happen using private funds and we are thankful to Southern Bancorp and our supporters in the business community."

About Southern Bancorp
Southern Bancorp is one of America's largest rural development banks and a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with approximately $1.1 billion in assets, serving over 80,000 customers at 39 branches in both Arkansas and Mississippi. Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. On the web at banksouthern.com & southernpartners.org