Danville alumnus Frank Stapleton
will be in attendance at the Little Johns state semifinal playoff game this Friday, but you'll have to forgive him for not cheering for his
alma mater. Stapleton
, a 1974 graduate of Danville High School
, is returning to Little John Field as the head coach of Mount Ida
, the Little Johns opponent for the right to go play in next week's state championship game in Little Rock. "I'm sure a whole lot of memories will come back when I cross that mountain and see the stadium," Stapleton
said."I have a lot of good memories there.We won the state championship my sophomore year and made the semifinals the next two. "I'm sure that there will be a big crowd and exciting and for me it will even a bit more exciting." After graduating from Danville, Stapleton got his degree at Arkansas Tech.His
first job was at Hector and after a few more stops, ended up at Mount Ida
four years ago. He
still has a lot of family in Danville and the surrounding area and he
is certain they have had a tough decision on who to pull for. "I feel like they will be pulling for me because family loyalty is a little bit thicker (than school loyalty)," Stapleton
said."My dad told me the other night that he
can't lose either way." He
is impressed with this year's version of the Little Johns. "They are so solid," the coach said."They make very few mistakes.Their quarterback is impressive.Their defense is impressive.They had a good kicking game.You just don't see any weaknesses.
"Our effort has been great," Stapleton
said."(The players) have confidence in one another and they stay focused every week If we have a secret key to our success, it's we play hard every week." As far as the keys to the game on Friday night, the coach sees a couple of things. "Turnovers are always big," Stapleton
said."At this level, we don't have much depth so injuries could play a part.It could come down to turnovers and who gets the break they need."
Copyright © 2002, Russellville Newspapers, Inc.