Division II Report
Saints face huge challenge
The pecking order in the 4A-1 Conference will begin to unravel Friday when Shiloh Christian plays at Prairie Grove.
Both teams advanced to the semifinals of the Class 4A state playoffs last year along with Pea Ridge, which finished as the state runner-up. Pea Ridge (5-0, 2-0) plays Gravette this week before hosting Prairie Grove (5-0, 2-0).
Pea Ridge is No. 1 in Class 4A while Prairie Grove is No. 5. The Tigers beat Shiloh Christian 45-15 last year behind Isaac Disney, who caught two touchdown passes and had an interception. Disney is now at Arkansas Tech but the Tigers have plenty of playmakers left, including running back Anthony Johnson, who has rushed for 618 yards and nine touchdowns on 51 carries.
“They’ve got several big-time playmakers,” Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway said. “Prairie Grove presents a lot of issues for any team playing them. That’s why they’re 5-0 and have won so many games the past several years.”
Prairie Grove, which has won four of the past five conference championships, will be without center Cameron Cox, who broke the fibula in his leg two weeks ago. Backup quarterbacks Ethan Scate and Ethan Guenther were both hurt last week in the Tigers’ 31-7 victory Gravette. Guenther is expected back Friday but Scate suffered a concussion and will not play.
Conaway said Shiloh Christian (4-1, 2-0) must play better Friday than it did last week when the Saints rolled past Huntsville, 56-20. Senior quarterback Landon Brown threw five touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Saints finished the game with four interceptions.
“We started slow then got it going,” Conaway said. “But you’ve got to play four quarters of really good football when you play a great team like Prairie Grove.”
Franklin out against Pottsville
Waldron will be without one of its top players for Friday’s game at Pottsville.
Senior Levi Franklin will miss the game after he dislocated his arm during practice on Tuesday. Hayden is a three-year starter for the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1), who are trying to make the playoffs after barely missing out last season with a 5-5 record.
“It was going good until this happened,” Waldron coach Ricky May said after practice on Tuesday. “Levin is a running back, cornerback, and a three-year starter for us. That’s a big loss.”
Waldron hopes to continue its momentum in the 4-4A Conference after beating West Fork 49-14. Quarterback Trey Williams, who got the Bulldogs started with a 45-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, led the way with 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
May knows Pottsville (2-3, 0-2) is dangerous, especially at home. Waldron needed a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter last year to beat the Apaches, 35-34.
“Pottsville is a top-notch program in our league,” May said. “(Coach) Bryan Rust is going to have his team ready to play and we’ve got to be able to match their intensity.”
Bearcats can’t look back
Booneville hopes to avoid a letdown Friday after beating rival Ozark for its fourth consecutive win. The Bearcats (4-1, 2-0) will face Dover (4-1, 1-1), which shut out Subiaco Academy 42-0 last week.
Booneville won last year’s game 21-14 at Dover.
“Dover is a physical team that will line up and try to run over you,” Booneville coach Scott Hyatt said. “They run the Wing-T and they’re very deceptive. Defensively, they’ll try to get us in third-and-long and make us do things we don’t want to do.”
Booneville relied on a stout defense and the running of fullback Carson Ray to defeat Ozark. Ray ran for 131 yards and scored three touchdowns on 25 carries. Nose guard Noah Reyes and defensive tackle Grant Rodatz led a defensive charge that held the Hillbillies to one touchdown. Reyes ended the first half with a sack after Ozark had reached the Booneville 32.
“Defensively, we’re really shaping up right now,” Hyatt said. “Our guys are doing a good job, especially our front three.”
— Rick Fires • @NWARick