Class 7A Van Buren outscored Class 4A Prairie Grove 28-21 in a scrimmage Tuesday at Tiger Stadium.
Prairie Grove went 13-2 last year while playing for a state championship for the first time. Van Buren moves to the 7A-West Conference after finishing 2-8 last season in the 7A/6A-Central.
Here are some observations from Tuesday’s scrimmage:
• The scoreboard started over at 0-0 for each quarter. The teams tied 7-7 in the first quarter when starters from both teams were in. Van Burn outscored Prairie Grove 14-8 in the second quarter when backups were in the game.
Senior quarterback Zeke Laird threw two touchdown passes for Prairie Grove, including a 45-yard score to Isaac Disney. Laird also threw 10 yards to tight end Demarkus Cooper to complete a four-play drive after the opening kickoff.
“We still have to work on our personal discipline, knowing what to do and then doing it,” Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier said.
• Players at smaller schools like Class 4A Prairie Grove are often asked to do more than play one position. That was on display Tuesday when starting quarterback Zeke Laird raced down field and made the tackle after a Prairie Grove punt.
• Van Buren ran the ball effectively at times but the Pointers do not throw well. Quarterback Caleb Salisbury had a receiver wide open near the goal line in the first quarter but overthrew him.
• Starting quarterback Zeke Laird and backup quarterback John David Elder are the sons of assistant coaches at Prairie Grove. Zeke, a senior, is the son of Craig Laird while John David, a junior, is the son of John Elder.
• Van Buren will open the season against Alma on Tuesday, Aug. 30, while Prairie Grove opens at home against Farmington on Sept. 2.