The bye week is supposed to be a team to rest, recuperate and refine itself as it awaits for its next opponent.
There’s a little bit more for Bentonville to do before its next game. The Tigers must replace a starting running back after Easton Miller suffered an injury during last week’s game and had surgery done earlier this week.
“With the loss of Easton Miller, we have to go and find who are back is going to be,” Bentonville coach Jody Grant said. “I think Preston Crawford and Joey Escamilla did a phenomenal job for us in the last 2 1/2 to 3 quarters.
“But we have to establish a starter, and we have to establish some depth in that area to maintain who we are and keep our identity.”
Crawford carried the bulk of the load with 15 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Escamilla had six carries for 33 yards in last week’s game. Some of the duties could also lie on Patrick Bell and Colby Ried.
As far a starter heading into next week’s quarterfinal game, that’s still to be determined.
“We’ll just have to see as we go through these two weeks who separates himself,” Grant said. “Joey, as a senior, has the experience, so you feel confident in that.
“But Preston is a special talent that could do some good things. If he gets an openings and hits that crease, he has the ability to take it to the house. I’m excited about those two, but we need more depth behind that.”
After 10 straight games, West is experiencing a couple of different things this week.
One is the Wolverines’ first playoff bye in school history, courtesy of their runnerup finish in the 7A-West Conference standings. The other is practicing after its first loss this season after dropping a 37-28 decision to Bentonville.
“I think the bye is good,” West coach Bryan Pratt said. “It allows you to get healthy and allows us to worry about ourselves for a while. After having some mistakes in the kicking game and some breakdowns we need to fix, we took this week to make ourselves better and not worry about who we are playing.
“We’re getting that chance to rest a little bit and recuperate, and getting to cut some things down so we can get ready for the playoffs. Overall, I think it’s a really good deal for us.”
Pratt said his team took the loss hard, but reviewing the game on film did soften the blow some.
“It was a game we really wanted to win,” Pratt said. “It was frustrating over the weekend as we were sitting around and wondering about the things we should have done here and there.
“After watching the film, we felt a little better about some things. We go into the fourth quarter, and we have the ball on their 19 and tied 28-28 before we fumbled. Our defense really stepped up in the second half, and offensively we struggled. If we put a full game together, we would feel a lot more confident.”