Van Buren coaches use spring to find the next group of playmakers for Pointer football

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Van Buren finished its spring football with a Green-White scrimmage, and with a lot of new faces playing key roles, coach Chris Tuck is thankful things are getting back to normal.

"It's been going good so far. We've been very happy with the first week that we had," Tuck said. "The young guys are playing hard. We have a lot of new faces and a lot of open spots at different positions on both sides of the ball, especially on the offensive and defensive lines."

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In addition to finding new linemen, the coaches are also looking to replace Gary Phillips, who had been the starting quarterback for over two seasons. The Pointers are looking at three different players.

The coach said Van Buren will have to replace other players who had big roles  including All-State pick Jaiden Henry, Easton Mongold, TJ Dyer, Baylor Shook, Doug Giron, and Haden Roark.

"We need to find the guys to fill those spots during the spring is going to make the team camps and the summer practices much more important. We're going to have a lot of young guys on the defensive side of the ball," Tuck said. "If we were trying to do this last year, we would be behind. We're glad things are getting back to operating as normally as possible."

During the spring practices, the coaches are rotating in many players and haven't narrowed down a "first group" yet.

"We're still trying to figure that out," Tuck said.

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Van Buren players  will have additional time this summer to work with team camps and 7-on-7 competitions. This is Tuck's third season with the Pointers and his second year as the head coach.

"These guys are really enjoyable to coach," Tuck said. "I like their attitude, and their commitment level is great. These guys are willing to do the work to get better. We still got a couple of more months, and I'm glad we have that time."

Mike Perez, the defensive coordinator from Salina (Oklahoma), joins the staff. Long-time assistant coach Kevin Ross will be departing the coaching ranks to an administration job before school begins in the fall.