Blackhawks Ready For Showdown
Pea Ridge is eager for the challenge Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams teams at Prairie Grove. Both teams are 6-0 and co-leaders in the 4A-1 Conference.
“Prairie Grove is really, really good, but we’re proud of the way we’ve played as well,” Pea Ridge coach Stephen Neal said. “This is what what high football is all about. Two real good teams going at each other.”
Pea Ridge (6-0, 3-0) was able to overcome a slow start at Gravette last week, when the Blackhawks fell behind 10-0 and won 46-16. But another slow start could be detrimental against Prairie Grove, which has outscored its opponents 244-55.
“In a game like this, the outcome is usually decided by a handful of plays,” Neal said. “We can’t give a team as good as Prairie Grove extra possessions.”
Prairie Grove (6-0, 3-0) took down another conference contender, Shiloh Christian, 45-15, last week in Springdale. Zeke Laird threw six touchdown passes while Issac Disney caught two touchdown passes and set up another score with a 43-yard interception return.
“Prairie Grove has a lot of talented athletes, but Disney is the first person you look for,” Neal said. “He’s a difference-maker and you have to account for where he is at all times on the field.”
— RICK FIRES • NWARick
‘Tall order’ trying to slow Pea Ridge RBs
Prairie Grove’s players didn’t get much time to enjoy Friday’s 45-15 victory at Shiloh Christian. That’s because another battle of undefeated teams looms this Friday when the Tigers host Pea Ridge.
Tigers coach Danny Abshier said his team arrived Monday focused on this week’s challenge instead of basking in last week’s win.
“We’ve got to get right back at it here,” Abshier said. “And (our players) showed up ready to do exactly that and got after it on Monday.”
Pea Ridge features a pair of familiar last names for the Tigers coaching staff in running backs Zaine Holley and Drew Winn, whose older brothers ran roughshod over the conference in years past.
Holley, a senior, has four 100-yard games and has gained 631 yards and nine touchdowns on 89 carries (7.1 yards per carry). Winn, a junior, has two 100-yard games and has 402 yards and eight touchdowns on just 29 carries (13.9 yards per touch).
Slowing the duo down will be the Tigers’ defenses top priority.
“That’s a tall order,” Abshier said. “We’ve been in the same conference for a while, so it’s nice when a senior from another team that’s really good graduates, because then you don’t have to play them anymore.
“They’re brothers didn’t play at the same time, but now they’ve got a Hall and a Winn on the same team. And it’s no different than how they’re older brothers ran. They both run super tough.”
— MIKE CAPSHAW • @NWACappy
Elks Face Tough Road Test
Elkins gets its shot at the preseason conference favorite when the Elk play at Clinton Friday.
Clinton (5-1, 3-0) is ranked No. 6 in 3A after last week’s 45-13 victory over Melbourne.
“Two years ago, Clinton reached the semifinals in Class 4A, so they’ve had some success, obviously,” Elkins coach Chad Harbison said. “They’re very good and they know what they’re doing.”
Elkins (4-2, 2-1) outscored Marshall 44-24 a week after losing 30-23 at Mountain View. The Elk will have to play much better on the road Friday to have a chance at upending Clinton, which has won 14 of its last 19 games.
“We made so many mistakes in that game,” Harbison said. “Some of it was self-inflicted, but Mountain View caused us some problems and controlled the tempo. We scored 21 points in three minutes in the third quarter but, by then, it was too little, too late.
“So, we’ve definitely got to get off to a better start and avoid those mistakes against Clinton.”
Elkins will leave at 12:30 p.m. Friday for the trip through the mountains to Clinton, which is located an hour north of Conway on Highway 65.
— RICK FIRES • @NWARick
Saints Refocus After First Loss
From a mental standpoint, Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway said his team has recovered from Friday’s 30-point loss to Prairie Grove.
“They came back refocused,” Conaway said. “They’ve just brought a good attitude and a good focus to practice everyday.”
Conaway also used the word “focus” to explain the Saints’ miscues in their first loss of the season.
“We’ve been trying to focus on us,” Conaway said. “We made a lot of mistakes (against Prairie Grove) and have paid a lot of attention to making corrections this week. There’s a big, long list (of mistakes), and it comes down to each player doing their jobs to help us have success.
“To sum it up, we had a lot of mental breakdowns.”
This week, Shiloh Christian is “fairly healthy” heading in Friday’s game against Gentry, a team that fields an “incredibly talented” quarterback in Pioneers’ junior Jon Faulkenberry.
— MIKE CAPSHAW • @NWACappy