It was supposed to be a banner year for Bentonville’s football team in 2014, so much that the Tigers were mentioned among some of the top teams in the country.
Early-season injuries and four straight losses to start the season combined to knock Bentonville out of the national picture. However, nine consecutive victories and a second straight Class 7A title later, the Tigers returned to national prominence.
Bentonville returned to the NationalHSFootball.com rankings after a lengthy absence, taking the No. 90 spot in this week’s HSFB100 poll. The Tigers were ranked No. 32 in the preseason HSFB100 poll.
“Rebounding from an 0-4 start to win nine straight and earn the state title certainly caught our attention,” said Dallas Jackson, the national high school football analyst for NationalHSFootball.com. “The team being healthy — and getting Austin Bugos back after the rough start — had the Tigers playing near the level that we expected from their preseason rankings.
“There are times that mounting losses will keep teams out of the final poll, but none of the four were too damaging in final evaluations as each was to a quality football program.”
Bentonville also made its way to the CBS MaxPreps Top 100 Computer Football Ratings this week, filling in at No. 86. The Tigers climbed 32 spots from last week’s ranking following their last-second 24-21 victory Saturday over Fayetteville in War Memorial Stadium.
Two of Bentonville’s four losses came against teams that are also ranked in this poll. Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, which handed the Tigers a 21-10 loss in Week 3, is ranked 77th, while Kansas City Rockhurst, a Missouri state runnerup who slipped past Bentonville 17-16 in the Tigers’ season opener, is ranked 92nd.
Bergen Catholic was also ranked in the NationalHSFootball.com poll at No. 60 this week.