The Dumas Bobcats new Head Football Coach is George Shelton. Coach Shelton comes to Dumas with outstanding experience, having led or been a part of coaching staffs of multiple State Finals, and Champion teams in several classifications in Arkansas.
“Dumas has always been a program that I admired in terms of the athletes that this community here produces for years,” said Coach Shelton. “Going back to as long as I've been associated with football. Going back to my time as a high school player in 8AA. Dumas, Eudora, Lake Village were all in the conference together. Dumas was always a tough out. They were always physically much better than we were at Fordyce, physically.”
“Great athletes,” said Coach. “In basketball, we could never compete with them in basketball. That transitions over to football, going back to some guys I could name, that might turn some of the old guys heads. Guys that I remember from my time as a high school player. All along the Delta all the way down to McGehee back when Freddie Douglas played, Greg King. This whole area has always produced tremendous, tremendous athletes.”
“Dumas is right there like Star City, the 4A conference has always been a tremendously athletically superior conference,” said Coach. “Capable of competing with anybody in any classification.”
Most of the high schools in the northern part of the state don't want to come to the Delta, the south part of Arkansas to play. They like to say they can't practice speed.
“I'm really please with what we've been able to inherit in terms of the quality of athletes,” said Coach. “We're having to make a lot of adjustments to them in terms of different mind set when it comes to regarding what it takes to play. Football, they all want to dress out. But sometimes the amount of work require to play quality football, they sometimes don't understand that. That's not just a problem that's exclusive to Dumas. That's pretty much a generational thing.”
When Coach Shelton and I played high school football, there was a different mind set than today.
“Going both ways use to be the standard the kids played under,” said Coach. “But the game is much faster now, it's played in a greater space with people throwing the ball, stretching the field in every direction, which requires you to be able to run. There's a lot more running in the game and that eats into your conditioning.”
“You can't turn a blind eye to biology,” said Coach. “There's only so much your body's going to be able to handle, especially when you haven't really had a good off season. You can see the difference in the strength that McGehee had, the conditioning that they had. We both had about the same number of kids, but their kids were actually physically a bit better than us. Just because of the continuity of their program, coaching staff being in tact.”
“We've had some kids just waiting to see who was going to be the coach,” said Coach. “You have to try and convince them that things are going to go in a good direction. So, it's been a big sales job, but we're getting there.”
“To be 2-1 after only picking these kids up July 6th, get by a pretty good Dollarway team and beat Lake Village, a team they normally beat, then face a buzz saw in terms of McGehee who is one of the better teams in 8AAA. They via for conference championships every year, them and Rison.”
“Their run based offense is tough to stop,” said Coach. “If you're having to go both ways against them, and they're continuously converting first downs. When you get the ball, it's going to be difficult when you do get it, if your not very well polished.”
“I coached AA football at Augusta,” said Coach. “I'm very familiar with the difference between say AA football, AAA football up to 7A football. There is a physical difference between all of them because of the number of kids that each level goes up. Numbers play a big hand in what your able to do.”
“When you're facing teams that have tremendous numbers it really demands that you have prepared your kids year around to deal with that type of pressure that numbers bring. Quality over quantity. As far as physically, eye ball to eye ball, there's not to much difference between our athletes and McGehee's athletes. But it certainly had a lot to do with the state of the program right now. I feel like we're gaining ground and will be much improved as time goes on. I'm very encouraged, I'm not discouraged.”
Coach Shelton graduated from UAM where he played defensive back. His first coaching job was at Warren High School, where he coached on the defensive side of the ball for two years. Coach then moved on to Pine Bluff High as an assistant coach when he was 25 years old. After two years, Coach felt like he didn't know anything but the tardy bells in high school so he joined the military feeling like he needed to broaden himself. He wanted to learn more, see a little more of the world. Coach stayed in the Air Force for eight years.
Later, Shelton decided he wanted to get out of the military and resume his coaching career.
Coach came back and was hired right back at Pine Bluff High coaching on the offensive side of the ball. Coach stayed at Pine Bluff High for five years, also becoming the Head Track Coach.
His first Head Coaching opportunity came along at Augusta High School, a school that has tremendous football tradition. "I was fortunate enough to get the job after Coach Jackson, who won a couple of state championships, but they had fell on hard times, winning only four games in five years when Coach got there," said Coach Shelton.
"Three years later, we had done enough to get to the Finals at War Memorial Stadium where we played Shiloh Christian, the year after Gus Malizon had left," said Coach. "Shiloh beat us 34-26 or something. That three year run gave me enough to get to Dollarway which was back in Pine Bluff where I came from." He stayed at Dollarway for six or seven years, making two trips to the Finals where they lost to Nashville and to CAC. After six years Coach went to Watson Chapel. As Head Coach there they went to the semi-finals the first three years. "Two of those first three years we were in 6A, then the next year in 5A," said Coach. "We lost to the eventual State Champion El Dorado those first two years. The third year we lost to Camden in the Semi-finals, who went on to win the State Championship."
Many great coaches in Arkansas High School football never get to the state semi-finals, much less get to play for a state championship.
Dumas, you have a once in a lifetime Head Football Coach, who will make a huge impact on your kids, in a positive way.