When Dollarway and Pulaski Academy take the field on Friday night with a berth in the 4A state championship game on the line, it will be a matchup of two contrasting styles of play.

When Dollarway and Pulaski Academy take the field on Friday night with a berth in the 4A state championship game on the line, it will be a matchup of two contrasting styles of play.

The Cardinals (6-6) have arrived at this point on a six-game winning streak, after forfeiting four wins in mid-October. Defense and a power rushing attack have keyed the run, including road victories over Ozark, Stuttgart and Gravette in the playoffs.

Pulaski Academy (12-0) has faced much less resistance, making quick work of Osceola and Pottsville in the playoffs after a first-round bye. The combined score of those two games stands as a gaudy 122-31 advantage for the Bruins.

On the year, Pulaski Academy has outscored its opponents 607-244, winning 10 of its 12 games by more than 20 points.

For that reason, Dollarway coach Cortez Lee said his defense will have to be team defense in order to slow down the Bruins’ attack.

“Being sound in every aspect (is the defensive key for Dollarway),” Lee said. “All 11 (players) have to rally to the ball. I mean, no cliché, no word of mouth; it has to be a big part of it. You can’t do anything opposite of that.”

With a team that is as proficient as Pulaski Academy in scoring points, Lee knows the Bruins have more than just one player to shut down. But the coach also knows of two players who can be especially dangerous.

“They have so many different weapons, but their quarterback and their tight end are really big weapons and a big part of what they do,” Lee said.

Pulaski Academy’s quarterback is Fredi Knighten, and the senior’s statistics this year are as big as some of the scores for the Bruins. Knighten has passed for 3,890 yards and 59 touchdowns, throwing just five interceptions.

Trying to keep a lid on Knighten and the Bruins’ high-scoring attack will be the opportunistic Cardinals defense, which seemingly comes up with timely plays each week. Last week against Gravette, it was sophomore linebacker Toie Robey with a big third-quarter interception that proved to be one of the plays of the game for the Cardinals.

“He had a real good game against Lake Village (Oct. 28),” Lee said of Robey. “Ever since then, he’s fit in perfectly with the core of linebackers that we have. He had nine tackles, a key interception in the third quarter (against Gravette). I expect big things from Toie.”

But those expectations will go for any Cardinals players who are thrust into important roles. All season, Dollarway has had a mentality of players stepping up to fill voids left by injuries or other circumstances, according to Lee.

“If something goes on and we need a player to step in and he gets his opportunity, we have players on this team that take full advantage of that,” Lee said.

This week, that opportunity comes at wide receiver and punter. Davone Chapman, who played both roles for the Cardinals, was shot in the right leg on Sunday night and will not be available to play against Pulaski Academy. He is expected to make a full recovery.