His offensive line experience impresses officials

By Andy Robertson Log Cabin Democrat

The Mayflower Eagles have found their next coach to lead their football team in former University of Central Arkansas offensive lineman Austin Emerson.

Emerson spent last season as the offensive line coach for Hendrix. He has had previous stints on Camden Fairview and Morrilton coaching staffs. This will be his first head coaching job.

Emerson is taking over for new Vilonia coach Todd Langrell. Langrell accepted the position as Vilonia’s football coach Jan. 15 after leading Mayflower to a 10-0 regular season and a 3A-2 title.

Mayflower athletic director Brent Stallings said Emerson’s experience with the offensive line was a large factor in his hiring, as well as his character traits.

“We interviewed several candidates and after talking with several of our coaches, we felt like we weren’t as strong on the offensive line, as we hope to be," Stallings said. “With Austin’s coaching and playing, that’s Austin’s strength. We also like his personality and his enthusiasm. He is a top-notch guy and a family man.”

Emerson said Mayflower resembles his hometown of Sperry, Oklahoma.

“Mayflower is centrally located and the kids are kind of what I grew up with in a small town,” he said. “My wife and I wanted to stay in central Arkansas, and this is a great opportunity.”

He will take over a roster, which features several returning seniors, including Keon and Deon Simmons, who combined for 3,438 rushing yards.

Deon led the state with 2,562 yards and 40 touchdowns. He added 153 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Keon finished with 876 yards and 17 touchdowns on 70 carries. He also had 154 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 12 receptions.

The twins were able to rush for those yards because of getting to the outside quickly, but playing behind an offensive line that blocked well.

Emerson said he wants to keep his line philosophy simple and allow the team to play as fast as they want.

“We are glad and happy to have him,” he said. “Our kids are excited that he is our coach. The assistant coaches have done a good job of keeping our kids around and we are happy to have him.”

Emerson was named to multiple All-Southland teams, including all-academic honors, preseason All-Southland Conference First Team among accomplishments as a member of the track and field team at UCA.

Emerson and the Eagles take the field for the first time at 7 p.m. August 31 against Central Arkansas Christian.