Chris Murray: 7A, 6A Up for Grabs; Arkansas High School Football Rankings

 

As the Arkansas high school football season enters the home stretch, the state title pictures in the two largest classifications only seem to be getting hazier.

In Class 6A, there’s Greenwood, still rocking along having now won 45 straight games. After the Bulldogs, it’s anyone’s guess. Lake Hamilton looked strong after defeating Pine Bluff, yet the Wolves were upset at home last week by El Dorado.

Elsewhere in the 6A-South, Benton and Bryant are surging, both with 3-1 conference records. Jonesboro and Russellville have each shown promise, but have yet to secure a signature win.

In Class 7A, the West’s death grip on the state championship suddenly doesn’t seem so tight. Bentonville struggled in a 13-10 win over Rogers Heritage, thanks only to a late fumble and last-second field goal. Springdale Har-Ber came back from a 35-14 deficit to beat Siloam Springs, scoring the game’s final 28 points. The two-time defending state champ Fayetteville is still undefeated, yet some still feel it is unproven.

Cabot still looks to be a title contender from Central Arkansas, improving its record to 7-0 with a 35-20 win over Little Rock Central. And perhaps the most eye-opening result of the week was Conway’s 37-7 dismantling of Fort Smith Southside. Conway, whose lone loss came at Cabot, ran out to a 24-0 halftime lead, and pulled away early in the second half, bringing the Arkansas Activities Association’s sportsmanship rule into play.

Both Cabot and Conway look headed for first-round playoff byes, and suddenly teams from Central Arkansas seem to have legitimate title chances.

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Key matchups to watch this week:
• Greenwood at Fort Smith Southside – Can the Rebels recover from their disappointing loss to Conway and end the Bulldogs’ amazing win streak?
• Pine Bluff at El Dorado – The Wildcats get the Zebras at home in what suddenly has become a huge tilt in the 7A/6A-South race.
• Ashdown at Arkadelphia – Before Nashville knocked off Ashdown two weeks ago, this looked like a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. The Badgers are still unbeaten and have been one of the most impressive teams statewide. They can’t sleep on Ashdown, though.
• Harding Academy at Mayflower – The Eagles were not up to the challenge last week at Barton. Their conference hopes now rest on the meeting with the no. 2 team in Class 3A.

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Spotted last week: At Friday’s Fort Smith Southside at Conway game, there was genuine surprise among some when the Southside dance squad – the Dixie Belles – performed a pregame routine to “Dixie,” which was played over the stadium’s PA system. Yes, Southside’s nickname is the Rebels, and the band still plays “Dixie” during games (a ghost given up by the University of Arkansas some four decades ago). One can question (and I do) whether Southside should continue such practices, but someone with Conway schools either approved the song, or there was such a lack of attention that it went on, unapproved. Either way, the Conway staff dropped the ball, and it’s mind-boggling that in 2013 Southside would take the act on the road.

Rankings


Class 7A
1. Bentonville, vs. Van Buren
2. Fayetteville, vs. Siloam Springs
3. Cabot, vs. West Memphis
4. Springdale Har-Ber, at Rogers
5. Conway, at Little Rock Parkview

Class 6A
1. Greenwood, at Fort Smith Southside
2. Pine Bluff, at El Dorado
3. Jonesboro, at Searcy
4. Lake Hamilton, at Benton
5. El Dorado, vs. Pine Bluff

Class 5A
1. Pulaski Academy, vs. Little Rock McClellan
2. Camden Fairview, at De Queen
3. Batesville,
4. Alma, vs. Huntsville
5. White Hall

Class 4A
1. Arkadelphia, vs. Ashdown
2. Pine Bluff Dollarway, vs. Stuttgart
3. Hamburg, at Crossett
4. Warren, vs. Monticello
5. Valley View, vs. Jonesboro Westside

Class 3A
1. Charleston, vs. Lavaca
2. Harding Academy, at Mayflower
3. Barton, at Episcopal Collegiate
4. Smackover, at Camden Harmony Grove
5. Glen Rose, vs. Centerpoint

Class 2A
1. Junction City, at Parkers Chapel
2. Carlisle, vs. Marvell
3. Bearden, at Rison
4. East Poinsett County, vs. Augusta
5. Dierks, at Hackett

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  • Grantland Rice

    Good for the Dixie Belles. Mules have no pride of ancestry nor hope for posterity, but humans, even sportswriters, need not join them. We have become so terrified of offending the overly sensitive that, like Chris, we apologize in advance in case someone, somewhere might think we’re taking too many deep breaths and taking more than our fair share of oxygen.

    How long before we have to drop “Razorbacks” and adopt a more sensitive name? Muslims find the glorification of pork deeply offensive. This might hurt our recruiting of Muslim youth. What Muslim parent wants his/her son called a “hog.” Let’s get another mascot and nickname now, before someone is offended.

    • Chris Murray

      A ridiculous false equivalency outlined against a blue-grey October sky is still a ridiculous false equivalency.

  • Billy Bob Courtland

    Right on! Maybe Sporting Life could have a contest to pick another name for the Arkansas team.

  • Ivan Putski

    • Ashdown at Arkadelphia – Before Nashville knocked off Ashdown two weeks ago … Malvern will be offended

    • http://WebsiteURL Chris Murray

      Yikes, that one is my bad. Will Madre Hill forgive me?