Northwest Arkansas’ Playoff Picture

I consider the perfect time to get an early look at how the Arkansas high school football playoff picture is shaping comes after the eighth week has been completed.
After spending most of Saturday morning pouring into the possibilities, one thing is for certain: there are still a lot of variables that could take place. Not all of them have the situation like Van Buren, where it’s win one certain game or stay home.
Since that is the case, I have limited everything to each team’s best possible situation and its worst possible situation.
Here is what I’ve come up with so far.  Of course, the picture becomes somewhat clearer after next week’s games.
7A-West Conference
Springdale Har-Ber
Best situation — The Wildcats can clinch top seed and a first-round bye with a win over either Fort Smith Northside or Rogers Heritage.
Worst situation — If the Wildcats lose out, either Fayetteville or Bentonville wins out, the other wins its Week 9 game (Fayetteville by 2 or more OR Bentonville by 4 or more) and FS Northside wins its last two games by a combined 15 points or more. If this happens, the Bentonville-Fayetteville winner would get the No. 1 seed. The Fayetteville-Bentonville loser gets No. 2 via tiebreaker, then Northside gets the No. 3 seed via head-to-head while Har-Ber falls to No. 4.

Best situation — Either one can clinch top seed if it wins out AND Har-Ber loses out.
Worst situation — If either one loses out, Har-Ber beats Rogers Heritage and Fort Smith Northside wins out. If that happens to either team, Har-Ber would be No. 1, the Fayetteville-Bentonville winner would be No. 2, Northside would be No. 3, Fayetteville-Bentonville loser would be No. 4.
Fort Smith Northside
Best situation — The Grizzlies win out by a combined total of 15 or more points, Har-Ber loses out and Bentonville loses to Rogers Heritage but beats Fayetteville by three points or less OR Fayetteville loses to Rogers but beats Bentonville by one point. It would cause a four-way tie for the conference championship, then Northside would get the No. 1 seed through the tiebreaker, Har-Ber would get No. 2 then Bentonville and Fayetteville would get either No. 3 or No. 4.
Worst situation — The Grizzlies lose to Fort Smith Southside and the Rebels beat Springdale High in Week 9. That would drop Northside down to a No. 5 seed.
Fort Smith Southside
Best situation — The Rebels clinch the No. 4 seed by simply winning out.
Worst situation — The Rebels lose their final two games AND Rogers High wins its last two games. If this happens, Rogers becomes the No. 5 seed, Springdale High becomes the No. 6 and Southside is eliminated.
Springdale High
Best situation — The Red’Dogs can clinch the No. 5 seed by simply winning out.
Worst situation — The Red’Dogs can be eliminated if they lose to Rogers High.
Rogers High
Best situation — The Mounties can clinch the No. 5 seed if they win out and Fort Smith Southside loses out.
Worse situation — The Mounties can be eliminated if they lose to Springdale High.
Rogers Heritage
The War Eagles have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Best possible situation — A win over Alma, and the Bulldogs have the top seed.
Worst possible situation — The Bulldogs fall to the No. 2 seed with a loss to Alma.
Best situation — The Airedales take the top seed with a win over Greenwood.
Worst situation — If the Airedales lose to Greenwood and Siloam Springs beats Russellville by 13 or more points, there’s a three-way tie for second between Alma, Russellville and Siloam Springs. A coin toss would have to determine the teams’ fates.
Siloam Springs
Best situation — The Panthers have to beat Russellville and hope Alma can upset Greenwood. That would lock Siloam Springs into the No. 3 seed.
Worst situation — Siloam Springs is out with a loss to Russellville OR a win by less than 13 points if Greenwood beats Alma.
Van Buren
Best situation — A win over Little Rock Catholic in Week 10, and the Pointers are in as a No. 3 seed.
Worst situation — A loss over those same Rockets, and the Pointers are eliminated.


Best situation — The Goblins can finish as a No. 2 seed and a first-round home game if they win out and Morrilton loses its last two games.
Worst situation — The Goblins lose both of their games, Vilonia wins out and Greenbrier wins Friday against Clarksville. That would eliminate Harrison from playoff contention.
Best situation — The Cardinals have to win out, hope Harrison and Greenbrier lose out and Maumelle loses to LR Christian. That means Vilonia would finish as the No. 3 seed and Farmington gets No. 4 by virtue of the tiebreaker.
Worst situation — If all the above doesn’t happen, the Cardinals are out of playoff contention.

4A-1 Conference
Prairie Grove
Best situation — The Tigers clinch the No. 1 seed with one more win, plain and simple.
Worst situation — The Tigers lose their last two games, then the Shiloh Christian-Gravette winner wins in Week 10. That winner goes to No. 1 seed, while Prairie Grove falls to No. 2.
Shiloh Christian/Gravette
Best situation — Friday’s winner clinches a No. 1 seed with a Week 10 win and two Prairie Grove losses.
Worst situation — Friday’s loser could fall as low as No. 4 with a Week 10 loss and two Pea Ridge victories.
Pea Ridge
Best situation — The Blackhawks get the No. 2 seed if they win out AND Shiloh Christian defeats Gravette this week.
Worst situation — The Blackhawks could be eliminated if they lose out and Lincoln wins out.
Best situation — The Wolves could finish as the No. 4 seed if they win out and Pea Ridge loses out.
Worst situation — The Wolves could be eliminated Friday if they lose to Gentry and Huntsville wins out.
Best situation — The Eagles could finish as the No. 4 seed if they win out and Pea Ridge AND Lincoln lose out.
Worst situation — The Eagles are eliminated with a loss to Pea Ridge.
Best situation — The Pioneers could take the No. 5 seed if they win out while Lincoln and Huntsville lose out.
Worst situation — The Pioneers are eliminated with a loss to Lincoln.
The Bobcats have been eliminated from playoff contention.

3A-1 Conference
Greenland/West Fork
Best situation — Each one can clinch the conference title outright by winning out.
Worst situation — Both could fall to the No. 3 spot if they lose both games.
Best situation — The Elks could take the top seed if they win out and West Fork loses out.
Worst situation — The Elks could fall as low as the No. 4 seed if they lose out and Green Forest wins out.
Green Forest
Best situation — The Tigers could take the No. 3 seed if they win out and Elkins loses both of its games.
Worst situation — The Tigers could be eliminated if they lose out AND both Marshall and Cedarville win out.
Best situation — The Pirates could finish as a No. 4 seed if they win out, Mountain View defeats Marshall Friday and Green Forest loses one or both games.
Worst situation — The Pirates can be eliminated with two losses OR one loss and a win apiece by Mountain View and Green Forest in the next two weeks.

2A-4 Conference
Best situation — The Bulldogs can clinch the No. 5 seed outright if they win out.
Worst situation — The Bulldogs are eliminated if they lose out.

Henry Apple

Henry Apple

Henry Apple is a veteran sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Bentonville and Bentonville West, as well as topics that include state schools and the Arkansas Activities Association. During the spring, he handles high school track in Northwest Arkansas. He is a lifelong Arkansas resident.
Henry Apple

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