It’s a team with high expectations and some unfinished business.
The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats took the field this week bent on forgetting the past, specifically, a heartbreaking loss to Fayetteville in the semifinals of the 7A state championship.
"The past is the past," coach Brad Bolding said. "We are focused on this season."
Bolding and the Charging Wildcats are bound and determined not to allow one loss in 2012 to carry over into 2013.
2012 wasn’t nearly all bad. The Charging Wildcats strolled through their schedule believing they were a team of destiny. Their only defeat was at Longview, Texas. That loss was the lone regular season setback as North Little Rock had little trouble in the 7A/6A sans a weather delayed 28-24 win at Jonesboro.
The conference appears less of a challenge this season and North Little Rock appears to be a better team on paper if that’s possible after losing one of the nation’s top running backs in Altee Tenpenny and a senior class that yielded numerous college players at all levels.
Bolding’s expectations have always been state championship or bust, but this season, those outside looking in appear to agree, as the Charging Wildcats are widely considered as the state’s top team.
Bolding has three of the state’s top talent in Kavon Alexander, who was part of the Nike Opening over the summer, running back Juan Day will be a Razorback after this season and wide receiver K.J. Hill has been offered by the Auburn Tigers.
How others view them has been of little regard to Bolding, especially before games are played.
"All that is fine and good," Bolding said. "But it doesn’t matter how fast you run, or how much you can lift if you can’t bring that to the field. We have to translate that into wins and losses."
The Charging Wildcats have had an eventful summer capped off by a camp with defending 4A champion Stuttgart and Pine Bluff coached by Bolding’s brother Bobby.
Asked with if it’s hard to keep minds off of the season’s big picture, Bolding’s answer is succinct.
"We are focused on Lake Hamilton," Bolding said.
Detail oriented, and committed to taking the season one step at a time, Bolding moves forward with finishing this season what was started last — with the full intention of taking the last step at War Memorial Stadium.