Featured player # 51 Zane Watkins is as tough as Greyhounds get. Zane has played football since the 4th grade. Since the beginning, Zane has been an important part the Greyhound tradition, both offense and defense. He has experience on both offensive and defensive lines, tackle, and center. His fun-loving personality makes him a friend to most, but his fierce temper on the playing field makes him a formidable opponent to all.
According to Offensive Coordinator Coach Jon Bradley, “Zane is a young man that has worked extremely hard to get where he is. He is a very dependable player and always seems to be around the ball. He is one of our best lineman and I expect him to have a great year.” Hindsley referred to Watkins in Hooten’s as being long and able to reach block.
Defensively, as a 6-2, 215 pound returning senior, Zane racked up 38 tackles last year. “Zane is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached. Always dependable and ready to help at any position needed. He loves being a Hound and it shows on the field,” states Head Greyhound Coach Mark Hindsley.
Zane is the son of Chris and Melissa Watkins. Chris owns his own residential repair and construction business. Chris graduated from Newport High School and loves that Zane excels both academically and athletically. As a member of the last graduating class of Grubbs High School, Melissa married into the pack and enjoys watching her oldest son as a Greyhound.
As summer break comes to a close, Zane and the other Greyhounds return to practice. Although the heat is hard on the players in the beginning, Zane has remained acclimated throughout the summer by working for Jack Kent in agriculture.
Academically, Zane enjoys mathematics the most in high school. “Mrs. Bennett is my favorite, because she stays on me. She knows what I am capable of achieving,” states Watkins. He is also active in the Agri Department and a member of FFA. After graduation, Zane plans to further his education at Arkansas State University. “I will probably take advantage of Newport having ASUN for the first couple of years before transferring,” states Zane. “I plan to be a coach and teacher.”
During the end of the conversation, I asked Zane about those people who are his favorites and most influential. He was quick to remark that Coach Hindsley topped the list. “He stays on me. Doesn’t let me get by with anything,” laughs Zane. What about his feelings of this being Coach Bradley’s last season? Zane says that he is glad the Hounds have him this season, but that Coach will be a great administrator. As with most of the returning players, Zane misses graduated Oshae Pruitt and his team leadership. “He encouraged us all to push harder, I hope I can be like that.” As for Friday nights pre-game ritual, Zane likes to listen to music to get in the zone. “The first thing I do when the game begins is look at the other side line, see how hyped they are. I feed off of it. The more hyped they are, the more hyped I get.”