SMALL SCHOOL NOTES: Shiloh Rested, Ready For De Queen
SPRINGDALE A break in routine can sometimes get teams out of their normal habits, but Shiloh Christian was happy to get a bye in last week’s first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
Shiloh (9-1) hosts De Queen (7-4) on Friday in Champions Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Shiloh coach Josh Floyd said the Saints used the bye week to focus on cleaning up some of their offensive mistakes and healing up from a 10-week season.
“We were able to just focus on ourselves and work on some areas we’ve struggled with,” said Floyd, whose team opens defense on its 2008 Class 4A state title. “We spent a lot of time watching film and just working on certain things.”
Floyd said the Leopards run the option, which is an offense Shiloh has not seen this year.
“It’s different,” Floyd said. “We’re ready, the kids are ready.”
Floyd said the off week was also a help for his team mentally as well as physically.
“We needed the break mentally to get refocused,” Floyd said. “We didn’t practice on Friday and didn’t do much on Thursday. We had some guys that were a little banged up, some with ankle sprains that we were able to get treated.”
De Queen, which was favored to win the 4A-7 Conference in the preseason, defeated Gosnell 47-0 last week. The Leopards’ four losses have come to teams with a combined 40-4 record.
— CHIP SOUZA
Croasdell’s Status Questionable
GRAVETTE — After a 100-yard performance Friday, Gravette senior running back Michael Croasdell will sit out of practice this week as the Lions prepare for the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Lions coach Bill Harrelson said Croasdell’s status is up in the air because of a sore neck.
“I’m not sure how he’s going to be,” Harrelson said before practice Tuesday. “He’s not practicing this week, just taking it easy this week and learning and hopefully he’ll be able to go. But we won’t know until Friday.”
Croasdell, who has rushed for 1,038 yards this season, ran the ball 24 times as the Lions used a conservative game plan to beat Valley View 12-7. He also starts at cornerback but played just one series during Friday’s win.
“We ran him probably more than we should have because we needed him,” Harrelson said. “Michael’s tough as a boot. He’s a tough character and if he’s hurting, then he’s hurting. He just kept going regardless. We’ll see how he is Friday night.”
— TOM GLAVE
Tigers Improve Passing
PRAIRIE GROVE — Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier isn’t sure what has led to his team’s improved passing game over the past two weeks, but he’s not complaining.
The Tigers have thrown for a combined 355 yards in back-to-back wins at Gravette and Dumas, a particularly high number considering how much they’ve struggled passing the football this season.
“I think I’m reading the defenses better. Receivers are catching the ball, getting themselves open,” Prairie Grove senior quarterback Chad Austin said. “Things are starting to click.”
Abshier said Austin had a difficult time finding his receivers earlier in the season, and when he did, they often had trouble catching the pass. But the senior threw for 189 yards at Dumas, and the passing game has gotten back on track during Prairie Grove’s surprising two-game winning streak.
“Is it Chad’s game that got stepped up or is it the receivers’ game that got stepped up?” Abshier said, leaving the question up for debate. “(Austin) definitely looks better because we’ve thrown more and we’ve thrown for more yards (lately) than we had over the regular season.”
— ALEX ABRAMS