Greenland suffered its first defeat, losing by a touchdown (19-12) at Gentry. The Pirates (2-1) allied for 12 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late after the Pioneers built a 19-0 lead.
Long-time Pirates coach Lee Larkan believes the game was lost much earlier after his team lost a fumble deep in its first drive of the game. They then lost tailback Michael McAdoo to an injury, and the senior is not expected to play this week against Clinton at home.
“We don’t have much depth, so we were really playing with one hand tied behind our back the rest of the game after (McAdoo) went out,” Larkan said.
The fumble was the fifth of the season for the Pirates, which only lost two fumbles a year ago. That needs to change if the Pirates are going to start 3A-1 play with a win against a stout Yellow Jackets’ squad.
Clinton is 2-1 after losing 46-32 at Central Arkansas Christian on Friday. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with home wins against Heber Springs (28-20) and Berryville (34-0).
Clinton is a run-first team out of a Wing-T offense with Jake Ferrell rushing 18 times for 185 yards (10.8 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns and Wyatt McCoy caring 30 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re going to have to play error-free football and can’t lat it on the ground,” Larkan said. “If we don’t lay it on the ground on that first drive (against Gentry), then I believe it’s a different game, so we’ve got to hold onto the football.
“That and our offensive line has to play better. That’s probably our biggest issue thus far and why we haven’t been consistent on offense.”
A bright spot for Greenland against Gentry was the play of Paycen Dennis, who led the defense with 14 tackles and also had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown to go along with a team-high four receptions for 54 yards.
“That’s what we expect of him,” Larkan said. “He’s a great player who makes plays all over the field — I think he carried the water at halftime.
“If we have 11 like him we never lose a game.”
— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy
The Saints are 3-0 and appear to be playing their best football heading into 4A-1 conference play with a home game against Berryville at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Last week, Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway pulled most of his regulars with a big lead midway through the third quarter of a 48-19 win against Pottsville. Coming on the heels of a hard-fought, 44-42 win at Little Rock Christian in Week 2, providing his starters with an early breather was welcome sight.
“It was a nice (relief),” Conaway said. “I think we handled the elements extremely well. We could have been rattled or distracted when the rain hit, but we continued to throw and catch and I was very loud of how we handled the first half.”
Berryville is 2-1 with a 59-6 win against Decatur and a 25-3 win at Green Forest sandwiched around a 34-0 loss at Clinton in Week 2. The Bobcats are averaging 265.7 rushing yards per game and are led by senior Jacob Graham’s 289 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder is averaging 8.8 yards per rushing attempt.
Bobcats junior defensive lineman Devin Smith (6-4, 200) has seven tackles for loss to go along with 21 total tackles. The Bobcats have 23 tackles for loss on the season, so slowing down the rush will be top priority.
Saints senior running back/linebacker Broc Berus powered the offense against Pottsville with 146 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. He also added a 70-yard touchdown reception.
“I think we’re playing great overall right now,” Berus said. “They told me this is the first time Shiloh has been 3-0 in 10 years, so right now we’re just trying to get back to playing like the old Shiloh Christian and keep winning.”
— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy
Lincoln used a 90-minute delay to its advantage at Mansfield last week.
The Wolves were already trailing 17-7 when officials stopped the game while a storm moved through the area. When play resumed, Lincoln scored 44 consecutive points and 51-24 for its first win after consecutive losses.
“We had a chance to regroup and scored on our first play to get some adrenaline going,” Lincoln coach Don Harrison said. “It showed what we can do when we come out with the right attitude.”
Quarterback Harrison Swayne threw two touchdowns and led a balanced attack with 161 yards passing and 131 yards rushing. Running back Caleb Loyd rushed for 150 yards on 22 attempts and returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown.
The win gives Lincoln some momentum heading into Friday’s 4A-1 Conference opener against Gravette (2-1), which defeated Jay, Okla., 47-41 last week.
“Their running backs run very well and they’re hard to tackle,” Harrison said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of wrapping up.”
— Rick Fires • @NWARick
Gentry will begin conference play on an upswing after beating Greenland, 19-13.
Quarterback Jon Faulkenberry rushed for 170 yards and complete a 67-yard pass to Cole Cripps for a touchdown. Defensive ends Konner Hodges and Matthew Nance led a Pioneer defense that held Greenland to 10 first downs and two scores.
“I was pleased with our defensive end play,” Gentry coach Paul Ernest said. “We changed our technique and did some really good things there.”
Gentry (2-1) will open 4A-1 Conference play at home against Pea Ridge (3-0), which topped Class 5A Farmington 13-7 last week.
“Pea Ridge reached the state semifinals last season and I don’t see any drop off in them this year,” Ernest said.
“They’re extremely well-coached and a physical team that doesn’t make many mistakes.
— Rick Fires • @NWARick