Division II Report
Yellow Jackets causing sleepless nights
Elkins coach Chad Harbison has a problem with pests that is keeping him awake at night.
More specifically, it’s the Clinton Yellow Jackets (6-0, 3-0), who will arrive at Elkins (5-1, 3-0) Friday in a battle of league leaders in the 3A-1 Conference. Clinton, Elkins, and Mountain View finished in a three-way tie last year for the conference championship.
“I’m losing sleep thinking about them,” Elkins coach Chad Harbison said of the Yellow Jackets, who’ve allowed only 42 points all year. “They’re fast on offense and they rally to the football really well on defense. I lay awake at night seeing them running around all over the place.”
Elkins defeated winless Marshall 48-8 last week while Clinton remained undefeated with a 39-12 victory over Melbourne. Sky Davidson rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns to hand Melbourne its first loss of the season. The Yellow Jackets are primary a running team but quarterback Weston Amos is an effective passer who completed 5 of 7 for 100 yards against the Bearkatz.
“They don’t throw a lot, but they’re really good at it when they do,” Harbison said. “We’ve got to be aware of that and keep them from surprising us with the deep ball.”
Blackhawks must limit turnovers
Sole possession of first place in the 4A-1 Conference will be decided Friday when Pea Ridge (6-0, 3-0) hosts Prairie Grove (6-0, 3-0).
Pea Ridge defeated Gravette 42-28 last week while Prairie Grove ran its regular-season winning streak to 25 consecutive with a 35-21 victory over Shiloh Christian.
Both teams were undefeated last year when Prairie Grove defeated Pea Ridge 42-21. The Tigers were helped by three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns by Isaac Disney.
“We had four turnovers in that game and four turnovers when we lost to Warren in the (state) championship game,” Pea Ridge coach Stephen Neal said. “We have to limit our turnovers and tackle well, which is what it usually comes down to in a big game like this.”
Prairie Grove will rely on a stout defense and its rushing attack against a Pea Ridge team led by Drew Winn, who rushed for 314 yards last week again Gravette. The Blackhawks also have a solid passing game that can burn defenders who attempt to focus too much on Winn. Senior quarterback Jakota Sainsbury is dangerous, especially when throwing to Hayden Holtgrewe and Jordan Witcher, who’ve combined for 70 catches and over 1,100 yards in receiving. Sainsbury completed 13 of 16 passes last week against Gravette.
“I’m very satisfied with our passing game,” Neal said. “Jakota has made great strides from last year and he’s completing passes at a high percentage rate (67) this year.”
Tough games ahead for Hornets
Now comes the hard part for Hackett, which eased past out-manned Decatur 40-0 last week.
The Hornets (4-1, 3-1) head Friday to Danville (6-1, 5-0) in a showdown with the two-time defending state champions in the 4-2A Conference. Hackett will then face Mountainburg and rival Lavaca before ending the regular season with a Thursday night game against Johnson County Westside on Nov. 2.
Danville stayed unbeaten in league play last week with a 27-12 victory over Magazine.
“Danville has great team speed and they’re physical,” Hackett coach Lonnie Hester said. “They’re rolling, but I think we match up with them.”
Hackett has also been rolling since a 33-30 loss at Mountainburg, which is 5-1 on the season. That’s the only game where Hackett has allowed more than one score.
The defense includes junior Anthony Collins, the only player from Hartford on the Hornets’ roster this season. Collins has 10 tackles after playing sparingly to start the season. He also has six catches for 183 yards, including a 46-yard reception for a touchdown against Decatur.
“He’s playing better and giving more effort than anyone on our team right now,” Hester said. “We’re certainly glad to have him.”
— Rick Fires• @NWARICK