Some pre-Southside game notes.
- Fort Smith Southside (6-2, 4-1 7A-West) is up next for senior night at Bulldog Stadium. Counting the Rebels, Springdale’s last four opponents (Fayetteville, Bentonville, Fort Smith Northside) have a combined 16-4 conference record, with the only losses coming against each other.
- Southside has the worst offense of the four, but the best defense, at least statistically. The Rebels have the top-ranked scoring defense (14.9 points per game) and total defense (237.9 yards per game) in the conference. Their starters have only given up 9.9 points per game and held both Bentonville and Fayetteville to a touchdown.
- Coach Shane Patrick on the Southside defense: “They can all fly. The defensive linemen can all run. When I say run, it looks like they all run a 4.8 (40-yard dash) or better, even the defensive linemen. They run and they hit. Best secondary we’ve seen. … You don’t see people break long runs against them. They don’t have explosive plays. And so we make our guys aware about it. but the big thing is focusing on what we do and making sure we go out, execute and play the way we’re capable of. I think we’ve got an opportunity to score some points now.”
- Facing a top defense didn’t deter the Springdale offense last week against Northside, when the Bulldogs put up 587 yards of offense and scored five touchdowns. A ton of that has to do with junior quarterback Fuller Chandler making plays. He finished with 496 total yards and had five touchdowns, three passing and two rushing. Check out his short, very impressive highlight tape from the game.
- Chandler extended a lot of plays with his feet, but it was also the best Springdale’s offensive line has looked in weeks. The line generally did a solid job holding up against a talented Northside front. Senior right tackle Jose Ambriz in particular did well, holding Arkansas defensive end commit Daytrieon Dean to one quarterback hurry. Ambriz had some help on plays, but Dean didn’t really make any impact on the game.
- Patrick on the line: “They had a really good game. Jose Ambriz did a brilliant job on Dean. But all of them did. They weren’t 100 percent by any stretch, but it was definitely their best game as a group. And I thought they really got a lot better.”
- Springdale still has to cut down on the turnovers. Had none in the first half and trailed just 34-28. Had four in the second half and was outscored 21-7. The Bulldogs have 21 this year, second-worst in the 7A-West.
- Springdale will be without junior linebacker Ever Galdamez (concussion) this week. Sophomore Kender Bolkeim will get to play a lot, re-joining fellow sophomore Kamryn Dickeron, a starter since week four, in the linebacking corps. That duo along with receiver Kyler Williams and running back Lucky Bonnavong are all playing as sophomores. But not because Springdale has moved on to prepping for next year.
- Patrick on the four sophomores playing: “We just try to make our team better now. Our focus in no way has shifted toward next year. We’re trying to give ourselves the best opportunity to win this week. And those guys can help us do it doing certain things. Will it pay off for us next year? I hope so. But that’s not the intent by any stretch. I don’t think that’s fair to this team. We’re focusing on trying to win a ballgame Friday night and get this team’s first win of the season. And we’ll play whoever we have on our roster that can help us do that.”
Southside at home Friday. Senior night for 33 players and three student managers.