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.
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.
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.
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
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
1. Pulaski Academy, vs. Little Rock McClellan
2. Camden Fairview, at De Queen
4. Alma, vs. Huntsville
5. White Hall
1. Arkadelphia, vs. Ashdown
2. Pine Bluff Dollarway, vs. Stuttgart
3. Hamburg, at Crossett
4. Warren, vs. Monticello
5. Valley View, vs. Jonesboro Westside
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
1. Junction City, at Parkers Chapel
2. Carlisle, vs. Marvell
3. Bearden, at Rison
4. East Poinsett County, vs. Augusta
5. Dierks, at Hackett