Springdale Football Notes

Lucky Bannavong breaks away from Greenwood defenders on his way to a first-half TD.
Lucky Bannavong breaks away from Greenwood defenders on his way to a first-half TD.

Here are some notes as Springdale preps for its road game Friday at Alma.

  • Both teams are looking for their first win of the season. Springdale gave up four first-quarter touchdowns in a 63-28 loss at Class 6A No. 2 Greenwood last week, while Alma blew a 19-0 lead late in the first half of a 35-19 loss against 7A No. 6 Fort Smith Southside.
  • Alma won 28-10 on the road last year in what was probably the worst offensive showing of the season for Springdale. The Bulldogs scored less against Bentonville and Southside, but struggled to a shocking degree against the Airedales. Alma returns five defensive starters from a year ago and starts 10 seniors on that side of the ball.
  • Alma plays several players both ways, including both of its quarterbacks, junior Noah Dotson at middle linebacker and senior Alex Beneux at safety, where he had 14 tackles against Southside. Perhaps the lack of depth played a role in giving up 35 unanswered over the last 29 minutes of the opener against a talented Southside team.
  • Springdale coach Zak Clark on Alma’s depth: “Not a big roster. They’ve got a lot of guys going both ways. It’ll be a lot cooler Friday night, so that’ll help. But we’ve got to withstand the initial push and find some way to wear them down.”
  • Dotson threw a pick-six against Southside, but was otherwise Alma’s best option at quarterback, easily. Dotson was 12 of 18 for 176 yards, a touchdown and the interception, with a rushing touchdown. Benelux was 3 of 11 for 27 yards with 16 yards rushing. It’ll be interesting to see how reps are divided with Alma coming off an extended break after playing on Sept. 1.
  • The Airedales need a spark on offense after totaling just 63 yards after halftime against Southside, which, again, has a talented defense. Likewise, Springdale’s defense needs to be much improved after being gashed for 676 yards against Greenwood. Running back Jordan Green ran for 187 of his 253 yards and scored three of his four touchdowns in the first quarter last week as Greenwood quickly took control of the game.
  • Clark on what the film revealed about the defense: “Right out of the gate, we didn’t come out very well. We didn’t come out, in particular, very physical at all. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our defensive line. They’re going to be a solid group and they’re probably our deepest group right now, but there’s one guy that’s played in Manny (Martinez). We’ve got to be a lot more physical. We’ve got to start better. It took us too long to settle into the game. Whatever we do, we’ve got to be a lot more aggressive than we were. Later on in the game, it got a little better where at least we made them work for it. But definitely they’ve been challenged this week. I’m excited to see how they respond.”
  • Springdale will have to find a way to limit the big scoring plays it allowed last week. Green scored on runs of 66, 43 and 69 yards, three of the seven touchdowns of 20 yards or more, which includes four of 40-plus yards. Springdale would get Greenwood in decent down-and-distance situations or get to third down, then, boom, give up a long touchdown. There were some big running lanes and playing in space was not a strength Friday. As Clark mentioned, the run defense was better later in the game. Green averaged less than four yards per carry the final three quarters.
  • Clark: “It couldn’t have gone much worse, but still we feel like there were some bright spots and when we did things well, we were OK. We just didn’t compete well enough, play after play after play, which you have to do, especially on defense.”
  • Springdale’s passing game was easily the biggest bright spot, with the chemistry displayed by senior quarterback Jack Lindsey and junior receiver Kyler Williams impressive. Lindsey threw for 209 yards and two scores, numbers that could’ve been better if it weren’t for a few drops. Williams was his go-to target most of the night, reeling in nine catches for 153 yards.
  • Greenwood’s alignment led to some one-on-one matchups for Williams. Clark: “They were declaring (the safety) to the tight end. Because of that, that obviously opened up Kyler’s side where it was two-on-two out there. But it also more or less bracketed Kamryn Dickerson, for instance. I think he’s really come on. He had one catch and it was a great catch and run after. Our tight ends, fullbacks are going to be a weapon and they and the backs have to be more in the passing game to take the pressure off.”
  • Have to think most defenses will devote a lot of attention to Williams from here on out. In that case, other receivers, including Dickerson, will have a chance to step up.
  • Arkansas State, not surprisingly, expressed some interest in Williams recently. He’s going to have a huge year.
  • Springdale should have two of its better pass catchers back this week in sophomore receiver Nick Parchman and senior tight end Dylan Bible. Both missed the opener with injuries. Senior safety Gavin Schmidt will be out after suffering an apparent neck injury in the opener, but should return by the Bixby game in week three. Sophomore Stone Ben will start in his place. Talented sophomore defensive end Isaiah Nichols (6-4, 260) missed the opener and will miss at least four more weeks with a broken arm.
  • Springdale will need to do a better job running the ball this week, which Clark thinks is doable. Junior Lucky Bannavong ran for 56 yards on nine carries, but the run game as a whole generated just 59 yards on 25 attempts.
  • Clark on the run game’s issues: “Maybe the way we are on offense, we’re not just going to be able to come out opening kickoff and line up and run the ball. But if we stay at it, I think we can have some success running the football. We need to, because we got three good backs. … I think our offense after the first two possessions really settled in and played well. A lot of (the struggles) were they’re good, they’re physical and they took it to us early. We’ve got a lot of inexperienced guys up front. We didn’t play well early, but once we settled in we got better.”
  • Alma had been strictly a 4-3 team for years, but has been running some aggressive three-man fronts.
  • Obviously Friday was the 14th straight loss for the program. The outcome was similar in final score to last year’s opener, but the games were drastically different, which I found very interesting. Springdale led in the second quarter last year and then it fell apart and somewhat shut down as Greenwood scored 49 unanswered, an occurrence that happened several times throughout the course of the season. Friday, Greenwood came out fast and was a Bannavong kickoff return for a touchdown away from being up 28-0 in the first quarter. But Springdale players didn’t pack it in and hang their heads, instead actually equaling Greenwood’s scoring in the middle section of the game as it kept fighting. The best illustration of this, to me, was when Springdale recovered an onside kick at the Greenwood 30 down 49-28 in the third quarter. The sideline was alive and everyone was fully engaged. It was a stark contrast to a year ago.
  • Clark on the team moving forward to week two: “For the most part, we played hard throughout the entire game. It wasn’t an effort issue. We’ve got to believe we can go out and win a ballgame. I think we saw flashes of who we are or who we can be, it just wasn’t consistent enough. I’ve got confidence in the team, but we’ve got to get to where we can compete and we play and the score doesn’t dictate it and the opponent doesn’t dictate it. And that’s what we’re building toward.”
  • Clark said Minchew, Williams, Dickerson (on special teams), senior linebacker Sam Robinson and senior right tackle Jackson Hutchins graded out best last week.
  • Clark on Minchew, who was impressive and physical at times (highlights above) in his first start at safety after playing receiver last year: “We knew Jayden was good. He’s a good athlete. He’s a great kid. But it was like he got a taste of what it was like. He’s had a completely different… We’ve had to scale him back in practice this week, which is the first time we’ve ever had to do that. It’s like he’s a different kid. He got it. Now he’s becoming that free safety that we need.”
  • The Hooten’s line for Friday is Alma by 10. Game starts at 7.
Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Sports Reporter at NWA Media
Jimmy Carter is an award-winning sports reporter for NWA Media. His primary beat is Springdale High. He also covers Huntsville and Greenland. He is a Tulsa native and a University of Arkansas graduate.
Jimmy Carter

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