The White Hall Bulldogs (4­-4, 3­-2 in 5A-­South) have made the 5A-­South playoffs both times since joining the conference two years ago.

The White Hall Bulldogs (4­-4, 3­-2 in 5A-­South) have made the 5A-­South playoffs both times since joining the conference two years ago.


"We’ll know a lot more after Friday night," head coach Mike Vaughn said about making the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year and eighth time in the last nine years. "This Friday night will play a major role."


The streak is on the line as White Hall has not locked a spot in this year’s playoffs, yet. However, White Hall controls its own destiny if it wins its last two games against Hope and De Queen.


"If certain teams beat certain teams, we could be looking at next week at first, second, or third," said Vaughn. "I think it will shake out pretty close on Friday night, unless the wrong things happen. The conference is balanced."


The conference championship is still up for grabs as Camden Fairview, Hot Springs and Watson Chapel all sit at 4­-1 in the current standings. White Hall and Lakeside sit at 3­-2, while De Queen, Magnolia and Hope have been eliminated from playoff contention.


"Everybody thinks we’re down this year," Vaughn said of comments made about the 5A-­South. "I don’t look at it that way. I think we have several good football teams and of course the playoffs will tell that picture."


While White Hall will await the results on Friday night, Vaughn said the team needs to continue to get better. The Bulldogs are coming off a big 34-­29 win last week at home against Hot Springs and Vaughn said that was a big win for them.


"I thought the kids played really really hard," Vaughn said. "We played more error-free than we had been playing in the past. Our effort and lack of mistakes helped us (beat Hot Springs)."


A big reason why White Hall was able to defeat Hot Springs was its return of the run game led by Courtney Anderson and Kendrick Edgerson.


"They’re both real good running backs," Vaughn said. "(Edgerson) is getting healthy for the first time. He’s closer to being healthy as he has been probably since August. Both of those guys have breakaway speed."


Vaughn said the biggest factor in the run game was led by the guys who rarely get any of the attention.


"The key was the offensive line," Vaughn stated. "When the offensive line blocks well, it makes the running backs look a lot better."


Lost in the run game last week was the play of senior kicker Joseph Failla. Failla connected on three field goals against Hot Springs and Vaughn said it’s nice having a kicker to rely on.


"That was the difference in the ball game as it turned out," Vaughn said of Failla’s kicks. "When you know you have somebody who will get you three points at the least, it’s a big deal. It’s a boost for you morale wise."


Vaughn said he was unsure of how long of a kick he would try a kick from Failla but said he trusts his kicker in the game.


"I don’t know what his distance actually is," Vaughn said with a laugh. "He said in practice that he can kick it 48 or 49 yards pretty good, but we haven’t tried one that far, so we really don’t know."


The Hope Bobcats (2­-6, 1-­4) will be looking to play the spoiler role in White Hall’s run to the playoffs. The Bobcats, who are the defending 5A-­South champions, have been eliminated from playoff contention, but Vaughn said he still expects their best shot.


"It means everything to us," Vaughn said. "If we lose this ballgame, we may not make the playoffs. Hope has great athletes. You can’t watch film and tell me they don’t have great athletes. They’ve struggled with turnovers and that’s been the difference in the ballgame nearly every week."


Hope was touted as having one of the stronger defensive lines in the 5A-­South led by junior McTelvin Agim, who is receiving college offers from many Division­ I schools. Vaughn said he will be a tough matchup regardless of who gets assigned to block him.


"We don’t have a plan, Vaughn said with a laugh about blocking Agim. "He’s such a great athlete. Everybody is trying to double and triple team him and we may do some of that too."


Vaughn said that the key to neutralizing Agim will be the play of the offensive line and could rely on the feet of senior quarterback Kirk Baugh.


"We’re hoping that Kirk Baugh neutralizes him by running the football," Vaughn said. "As long as the line gives (Baugh) time and the receivers run the good routes and catch the football … Kirk will find the open guy. He’s the man."