High school football state playoff schedule (NOTE: All championships at War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock) 7A championship Bentonville vs. Cabot, 7 p.m. Friday 6A championship El Dorado vs. Pine Bluff, 6:30 p.m. Saturday 5A championship Batesville vs. Morrilton, noon Saturday 4A semifinals Valley View at Warren, 7 p.m. Friday Booneville vs. Dollarway, at Golden Lion Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday 3A semifinals Earle at Charleston, 7 p.m. Friday Smackover at Glen Rose, 7 p.m. 2A semifinals Bearden at Des Arc, 7 p.m. Friday Carlisle vs. Junction City, at El Dorado, 7 p.m. Friday
If it weren’t for Mother Nature, Pine Bluff might be still basking in the glow of its first state championship since 1995.
But then again, if it weren’t for Mother Nature, Pine Bluff might be still wondering what could have been after a second straight finals appearance ends in defeat.
The world will never know what would have happened had Pine Bluff and El Dorado played in the 6A state title game last Saturday, as previously scheduled, instead of this coming Saturday.
The Arkansas Activities Association decided last Wednesday to postpone all playoff football games one week, meaning the Pine Bluff-El Dorado game would be played at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
The change in plans didn’t surprise Zebras head coach Bobby Bolding.
"I already had a plan for us since (last) Tuesday," he said. "I had a plan for us playing on Monday, Tuesday, and if everything got pushed back a week.
"I just ran it by my coaches, like always, basically saying, ‘If this is what happens, here’s what we’ll do.’
"So, yep, we already had a plan in place."
Bolding said he believes the extra week of preparation can only help his young football team.
"I think it helps us, because we’re so young," Bolding said. "If we were a senior-laden team, I don’t know how I would feel.
"Like I’ve told you before, every day we get to practice (and) every week we get to play, we’ll get better."
Asked if he thought El Dorado coach Scott Reed would feel the same way, Bolding said, "I wouldn’t think anybody would find a negative in it.
"I mean last year we had 19 seniors. By Week 7 they knew who they were, they weren’t going to get much better.
"(The break is) really no big deal. The NFL does it all the time. Every year there’s two weeks before the Super Bowl and it doesn’t seem to affect them."
The weather last week not only canceled Pine Bluff’s game, but also led to a changing of its practice schedule.
"We reduced the amount of time we practiced on Thursday," Bolding said. "And we were out of school on Friday, so we didn’t practice.
"It was way too slick outside to try and get them up here (during the weekend to watch film), and they didn’t really need to anyway. The players have already watched film of everything El Dorado did."
Bolding said that this week of practice would be like a normal week of practice during the playoffs, for the most part.
"It will be just a normal playoff week of practice," he said. "The practices are not as long as they were during the season. There’s more watching film. There isn’t as much individual attention, it’s more team-focused."
According to Bolding, Pine Bluff will practice at War Memorial on Thursday and do a walkthrough Friday at the high school.
He said, "We just took last week’s schedule and moved it to this week."