Ridgway Christian's second-ever varsity game sort of mirrors its first game.
Ridgway Christian’s second-ever varsity game sort of mirrors its first game.
Ridgway plays at 5 p.m. at Southwest Christian, which is in Little Rock, two weeks after the Eagles lost their first-ever game to the same team, 38-28.
But Southwest Christian is the defending Arkansas Association of Christian Schools champion, so the result was a bit of a motivator.
“We gained some confidence and playing them within 10 points, we feel better about what we are doing,” Ridgway coach Trent Young said. “We were physical at times, but they were more physical and we hope to be more physical this time around.”
The two weeks off gave the Eagles two weeks to work on what went wrong in the first game, and Young said he has noticed a difference.
“We seem to be executing better on both sides of the ball and flying to the ball,” he said. “We need to corral their speed and just hope things will be better this time.”
With it being the Eagles first-ever season of football, the team is still working on the basics, Young said.
“We have worked hard on the fundamentals and put in a couple of new wrinkles,” he said. “We never get away from blocking and tackling.”
Lake Hamilton at Sheridan
Sheridan (1-2) has its hands full when Lake Hamilton (2-1), ranked No. 5 in Class 6A by Hootens.com, visits tonight.
“They present a lot of problems for anyone,” Sheridan coach Louis Campbell said. “The biggest problem they present us is their size. We are not real big, but they are huge.”
Sheridan will have to find a way to contain Lake Hamilton quarterback Clay Jessie, who passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns last week.
“This guys has done a good job of spreading the ball around,” Campbell said. “That’s hard to do because their running game is so effective. … They have been able to throw the ball and run the ball at will.”
Monticello at Star City
Star City coach Blair Brown is not going to dance around it — he knows how big tonight’s game against Monticello is.
“It’s a huge ballgame for us,” he said. “The number one reason is it’s the first conference game and the last seven are the ones that count.”
Star City and Monticello seem to be trending in different directions right now. The Bulldogs (3-0) beat tradition-rich teams Camden Harmony Grove and Booneville the last two weeks. They came back from a 14-0 deficit two weeks ago and held on for the win last week against Booneville.
“Our kids, they are far from boring,” Brown said. “(Booneville) found ways we were vulnerable and were able to attack that, but we found a way to win.”
Monticello (1-2) has made the playoffs the last eight years and drops from Class 5A to the 8-4A Conference. But the drop down has not been easy on the Billies as they have been shut out in two of the three games they have played.
“We have watched the film and there are enough mistakes to go around,” Monticello coach Greg Tiner said. “There are missed blocks and missed reads. We get down to the red zone and we didn’t score and had miscues.”
Tiner said the team made some adjustments to the offense to help the Billies get off on the right foot to start the conference season.
“Just how we were running plays and doing a few things different is all,” he said. “When you start the conference season, it’s important to get ahead and win that first game. They are a good football team and they will be tough for us going to their place.”
Batesville Southside at Stuttgart
Stuttgart (3-0), which is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A by Hootens.com, has had little trouble with Batesville Southside (2-0-1). The Ricebirds have never lost to the Southerners and have outscored them 278-28 over the past six seasons.
Stuttgart coach Billy Elmore said his team is not taking the Southerners lightly, though.
“We can tell the kids know this isn’t your typical team of the past,” he said. “They are making a commitment there and trying to build a program up there, so they are much improved.”
The Southerners have won just two 2-4A Conference games since 2009, but Jordan and Emprea Childress have brought a spark to the team. Last week, they combined for more than 400 yards in a win over Melbourne.
“They’ve added an extra element they haven’t had in the past,” Elmore said. “It’s got our kids attention, so maybe it’s a positive thing for us. We are excited to open the conference play at home.”
Dumas at Lake Village Lakeside
Dumas (0-3) is hoping to take advantage of Lake Village Lakeside (1-2), which has only won two games in the past two seasons.
But Dumas coach Mark Courtney knows no win is given and the Bobcats will have to play a lot better to come away with a victory.
“Not confident about anything the way we have been playing,” he said. “They are big and athletic, so if we make the same mistakes, we will lose.”
Dumas has given up 48 points per game so far this year, which some of that is put on the offense, which turned the ball over four times last week.
“The offense gave them 21 points off turnovers and you can’t spot the other team that,” Courtney said. “The defense wasn’t terrible, we just have to get some things ironed out. We have gone back to the fundamentals and if we do that, we will have an opportunity to win.”
Warren at Crossett
The start of the 8-4A season is a welcome sight for Warren (0-3), which played its first three nonconference games against teams who are all ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A by Hootens.com.
However, the Lumberjacks open the conference season against Crossett, (1-2), which drops down from 5A.
The last time Warren started the season 0-3, the Lumberjacks went on to win the conference with a 7-3 record.
Camden Harmony Grove at McGehee
McGehee (3-0) is ranked No. 2 in Class 3A by Hootens.com and tested itself in the nonconference season by playing three 8-4A Conference teams.
Camden Harmony Grove (1-1-1) should provide the Owls with another tough task this week.
“Camden Harmony Grove is an outstanding team,” McGehee coach Marcus Haddock said. “They have talent at all of the skill positions, so it’s going to be a dogfight.”
The Hornets gave up three fourth-quarter scores last week in a 34-34 tie to Arkansas Baptist and had a 21-20 lead on Star City two weeks ago before the Bulldogs won 38-28.
Haddock is not expecting a second-half collapse by the Hornets this week, though.
“They had some letdowns and that happens,” he said. “I am sure they have taken care of that in practice.”
The Owls may be off to a perfect start, but there were some losses in the nonconference season.
“Anytime you play a tough nonconference schedule it helps, but it beat us up quite a bit,” Haddock said. “We are not looking so good being 3-0 with some of our starters beat up, but we will be okay.”
Fordyce at Genoa Central
Fordyce (3-0) should cruise in this matchup with the Redbugs ranked No. 5 in Class 3A by Hootens.com.
“We know they are not very good, but we still practiced hard this week,” Fordyce coach Tim Rodgers said.
Genoa Central (2-1), though, has won its last two games by a combined score of 82-16.
“That’s one thing we have noticed and that’s one thing we worked on,” Rodgers said. “They have some big lineman and that worries us because we are small upfront. They have the pistol and shotgun and stuff with a lot of motion, so we have worked on that.”
Fordyce quarterback Cole Johnson has passed for eight touchdowns and has a number of options to go to, including running back Larry Buckley.
“He’s a great athlete,” Rodgers said. “He runs hard and we try and get him the ball in space and he can make some moves.”
Drew Central at Prescott
In order to snap a 17-game losing streak, Drew Central (0-3) will have to beat Prescott (2-1), the No. 8 ranked team in Class 3A according to Hootens.com.
“They are a very good football team,” Drew Central coach James White said. “They have a lot of size and speed, they are going to throw a lot of options at us and we are going to have our hands full.
“We did a good job in practice to make sure we are line up right so we can make some plays.”
One of the key players for Prescott is Brandon Marks, who gains 10.4 yards per play.
“Just crowd the box and hopefully get him before he gets started,” White said.
Parkers Chapel at Rison
Last week, Rison (1-2) shut out Woodlawn 36-0 last week, which continues a streak that dates back to 1982 of the Wildcats shutting out at least one opponent every year.
“We are definitely proud of that,” Rison coach Clay Totty said.
The Wildcats, which are ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by Hootens.com, will have to have a tougher job trying to shutout Parkers Chapel (2-0) and running back Philip Hay, who has been offered by Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State and Tulsa.
“He’s a great player and we have to be sound and disciplined on defense,” Totty said.
Hay had 364 total yards last week against Norphlet.
Rison’s win over Woodlawn was its first of the year and Totty hopes the winning continues against an 8-2A Conference foe.
“Winning is always a good feeling and we are more relieved than anything with all the kids have gone through,” he said. “Every game counts and this will be a big one for us for playoff seeds.”
Woodlawn at Bearden
Woodlawn (0-3) goes from a 36-0 shutout against Rison to facing Bearden (1-2), the No. 2 ranked team in Class 2A by Hootens.com
“Bearden is a very talented team,” Woodlawn coach Ray Sessions said. “They will be a big challenge.”
Woodlawn has switched from a rushing attack to a passing game in order to get its offense going.
“We are trying to throw the ball a bit more because the running game hasn’t been there,” Sessions said. “Just have to settle down and make the short, easy throws.”