Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mustangs building for another run
Southern Sports & Travel
River Oaks head football coach Robert Hannah is entering his 19th season at the controls of a Mustang football program that has won two state championships and made three state title game appearances in the past seven seasons, but this season the path to making another run at a state title in Class AA will pose a much larger challenge.
What River Oaks accomplished during that span is remarkable after being elevated to Class AA in 2007. That season the Mustangs failed to reach the playoffs but have qualified each season since. Their 2010 state championship team was blessed with talent at the skill positions and that was never more evident than their playoff wins over Centreville, Brookhaven and Leake.
Even with big losses of skill position players River Oaks worked their way past a very good North Delta team and Marshall to earn their second straight Class AA championship game appearance last season. In that matchup with eventual champion Simpson, River Oaks proved most wrong with a gutty performance against undefeated and powerhouse Simpson Academy, losing 29-15.
The biggest slot to fill in 2012 will be the most critical, the quarterback position. Gone is Ryan MacGregor who provided a steady hand with the signal calling duties for head coach Robert Hannah. River Oaks has given that duty to Brendan MacGregor, the sophomore brother of Ryan. While the younger MacGregor most likely will suffer through lots of growing pains the tailback who will line up behind him should provide senior leadership and a solid running game.
Tailback Alex Biedenharn has high credentials as he enters his senior season. The 175 lb. speedster rushed for 1,502 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and should provide a spark as the Mustangs look to win another district championship.
River Oaks will get no tune up games to start the 2012 season. The Mustangs will host Class AAA Division-II state champion Washington this Friday night followed by a trip to Cenla and in week three they visit three time defending Division-I Class AAA and top ranked Jackson Academy. Jackson Academy went to Monroe last season in week three and needed a last second Hail Mary play to defeat River Oaks 29-22 and avoid what would have been the biggest upset in the MAIS.
If River Oaks enters week four healthy the Mustangs may be a dark horse to make another run in the north. For that to happen Brendan MacGregor will need quick maturation and the Mustangs must get tailback Jacob Little healthy to compliment Biedenharn in the backfield. Little, a 6’2” and 210 lb. back, could be the key ingredient to another successful season for Hannah’s squad.
If River Oaks enters week four against Union Christian with a 1-2 record and healthy they could shock the world.      

River Oaks Head Coach Robert Hannah

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