The SLA Arkansas High School Football Week 2 Rankings
North Little Rock came within one point of defeating Batesville (Miss.) South Panola in front of a packed house last Friday at North Little Rock Stadium. That continued the trend of great showings by Arkansas teams against elite competition from neighboring states.
The Charging Wildcats settled for a Sandy Burks field goal with under six minutes left, getting within 24-23. North Little Rock stopped the Tigers near midfield, and looked to get the ball back with four minutes to play, but South Panola ran a fake punt for a first down. NLR did get the ball back, but with just 33 seconds left and could not get downfield.
South Panola is the defending Class 6A state champion in Mississippi, and is genuinely one of the football powers in the South, if not nationwide. No one cares for moral victories, but this was a great measuring stick for North Little Rock. Arkansas commit Juan Day stood out for North Little Rock, rushing for 132 yards and catching a 77-yard TD pass.
As a result, the Charging Wildcats vault to the top of this week’s Class 7A rankings, and they look like a serious threat to the stranglehold teams from Northwest Arkansas have had on the championship in the highest classification.
Bentonville let a fourth-quarter lead slip away and fell on a late touchdown pass to Broken Arrow, Okla. Meanwhile, Springdale Har-Ber fell behind 28-0 and lost at home 55-29 to Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge. Bentonville, which defeated South Panola in 2012, gets another shot at a stellar border-state team when it hosts Euless (Texas) Trinity.
Through the season’s first two weeks, the Arkadelphia Badgers have arguably been the most impressive team in the state. Week one saw the Badgers go on the road and take down Class 6A Benton, 56-21, behind the heroics of multi-thread quarterback Jakahari Howell.
This past week, Arkadelphia again went on the road to face a Class 6A team, Sheridan. This time, the Badgers raced to a 42-6 halftime lead and won 56-6. Howell accounted for three touchdowns, and Kris Oliver ran for 163 yards and three scores.
Those impressive outcomes left us no choice but to rocket Arkadelphia to No. 1 in this week’s Class 4A rankings. It might be time to question where to put the Badgers in Class 6A. Arkadelphia gets its home opener this Friday when it greets the Hot Springs Trojans.
This week marks the final non-conference matchups for most teams (some Class 2A and 3A teams will have already played conference foes), and there are a few Class 2A clashes that could be portents of playoff games to come. No. 1 Junction City heads to Bearden to take on the fifth-rated Bears in an 8-2A tilt. Meanwhile, no. 2 Hazen faces a real test when it travels to Lepanto to meet East Poinsett County, which has been knocking on the door of the top 5.
Week three is also where you can catch some big rivalry games. Among them this year is Conway at Cabot, Charleston at Ozark, and Barton at Clarendon. Those games definitely mean a lot to the teams participating and their fans, but conference play begins statewide next week, and then the games start really counting.
Spotted this week: Shiny, reflective Oregon-style winged helmet decals, on the headgear of the Mayflower Eagles. The gold wing design, on the purple matte helmet, made for a stylish look for the Eagles, though they came up short against Dardanelle. Who’d have thought the south Faulkner County school would be a fashion hub.
Rankings (with this week’s opponent)
1. North Little Rock, at Pine Bluff
2. Bentonville, vs. Euless (Texas) Trinity
3. Fayetteville, at Muskogee, Okla.
4. Fort Smith Southside, vs. Springdale Har-Ber
5. Conway, at Cabot
1. Greenwood, vs. Shiloh Christian
2. Pine Bluff, vs. North Little Rock
3. Russellville, vs. Alma
4. Jonesboro, at Batesville
5. El Dorado, at Little Rock Central
1. Pulaski Academy, vs. West Memphis
2. Camden Fairview, at Warren
3. Watson Chapel, vs. Nashville
4. Alma, at Russellville
5. Batesville, vs. Jonesboro
1. Arkadelphia, vs. Hot Springs
2. Pine Bluff Dollarway, at Crossett
3. Warren, vs. Camden Fairview
4. Ashdown, vs. DeQueen
5. Hamburg, vs. Magnolia
1. Charleston, at Ozark
2. Harding Academy, at Des Arc
3. Barton, at Clarendon
4. Fordyce, at Monticello
5. Rivercrest, at Gosnell
1. Junction City, at Bearden
2. Hazen, at East Poinsett County
3. Gurdon, at Marked Tree
4. Carlisle, vs. Osceola
5. Bearden, vs. Junction City