Cards Look To Stay in Playoff Hunt
Farmington has yet to consecutive games, but a victory at Maumelle on Friday would keep the Cardinals in the 5A-West playoff picture.
“This is our fourth homecoming in a row, so we’re seeing a lot of queens crowned,” said Farmington coach Mike Adams.
The Cardinals rushed for 304 yards to spoil Vilonia’s homecoming last Friday with a 32-13 victory. They improved to 3-4 overall and are tied for fourth with Morrilton with a 2-2 conference record. Vilonia plays at Morrilton on Friday.
Farmington lost home games against Alma (35-14) and Greenbrier (41-14) the previous two weeks after opening 5A-West play with 22-20 in at Clarksville.
“We needed a win (at Vilonia),” Adams said. “We played two really good teams and were missing two key players, so to come out with a win without those two guys was really good.”
Defensive stalwart Jake Oskey was out with a concussion and speedy receiver Trenton McChristian suffered an ankle injury. Oskey has been ruled out for this week’s game while McChristian likely will be a game-time decision against an explosive Maumelle team.
“It’ll be a challenge for us to contain their athletes,” Adams said. “They’ve got so much speed on offense and defense. The challenge for us is to not give up big plays. We’ll need to do a great job of ball control and not make any mistakes, so we can keep their offense on the sidelines.”
— MIKE CAPSHAW • @NWACappy
Winner in Postseason Driver’s Seat
Huntsville’s game at Gravette on Friday is pivotal for both teams postseason aspirations. They’re both 2-2 and tied for fourth in 4A-1 play. This season, the top 5 teams from the league will make the playoffs and with Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge and Shiloh Christian occupying the top 3 spots, the winner of Gravette-Huntsville could finish no worse than fourth.
“It’s going to have a huge effect on the playoff seedings, whether it’s third, fourth or fifth,” said Gravette coach Bill Harrelson.
Harrelson and his staff studied film of the Eagles’ wins the past two weeks against Lincoln and Gentry.
“They’re a very physical ball club,” Harrelson said. “The win against Lincoln was at home and (Lincoln) jumped on them with two touchdowns, but Huntsville was able to come back. I was impressed with how they stayed in that game.”
Huntsville sophomore quarterback Sean McCone and senior running back Jaron Evans were especially impressive.
“They run the flex bone and they run it right at you,” Harrelson said. “They do a good job of running it with (McCone), who is very good running and throwing, and (Evans) is a very hard runner. They’re definitely going to be very fought to stop for less than four yards and that’s what they’re looking for — to keep moving the ball down field and keep controlling the clock.”
— MIKE CAPSHAW • @NWACappy
Tigers in familiar position
Focus, focus, focus.
That’s the challenge for Prairie Grove following consecutive wins over Shiloh Christian and Pea Ridge, the top contenders to the Tigers in the 4A-1 Conference race. Prairie Grove will finish undefeated in conference play again if it can beat three teams — Gentry, Berryville, and Lincoln — with a combined record of 7-14.
But the Tigers (7-0, 4-0) are taking nothing for granted as they prepare for Friday’s road game at Gentry (2-5, 0-4), which lost 36-7 to Shiloh Christian.
“We’re not coming in easy on anyone, even with the back end of our conference (schedule) coming up,” said Isaac Disney, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 42-21 victory over Pea Ridge. “We’re going to prepare and play our hardest.”
Pea Ridge (6-1, 3-1) must also guard against an upset after losing for the first time. The Blackhawks host Berryville (3-4, 1-3), which fell 33-14 to Gravette. Pea Ridge must do a better job in the passing game after completing only five attempts at Prairie Grove and having three intercepted, including two that were returned for touchdowns by Disney.
— Rick Fires • @NWARick
Saints Not Looking Past Wolves
With three remaining, the Saints are in the running for the No. 2 seed from the 4A-1 conference play — assuming Prairie Grove takes the league’s top seed. The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) just need to win two of their last three games to win the title because they own head-to-head tiebreakers against Shiloh Christian (6-1, 3-1) and Pea Ridge (6-1, 3-1).
Up next, the Saints travel to Lincoln (2-5, 1-4) on Friday and Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Lincoln has the ability to move the ball very well,” Conaway said. “They run some very creative schemes offensively, are very well-coached and … are very effective.
“We will have to play fast, physical and sound defensively.”
Shiloh Christian will wrap up the regular season by hosting Gravette in Week 9 and traveling to Pea Ridge in Week 10. Should the Blackhawks and Saints win the next two weeks (and again, Prairie Grove wins two of its next three games), the regular season finale between the two schools will decide the No. 2 seed.
— MIKE CAPSHAW • @NWACappy
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