With just two more weeks to go in the regular season, teams have just a handful of chances to secure a playoff spot. Some squads are jockeying for seed while others already eliminated look to play spoiler. There are and will continue to be storylines abound in all six of our classifications in Arkansas and five classes in Oklahoma.
Five Takeaways From Week Eight
- Greenwood Destroys Benton Behind Peyton Holt – The Ice Cream Man struck again with three passing touchdowns and one of the nicer rushing touchdowns you’ll ever see, as Greenwood pummeled Benton 62-33. The Bulldog offense gained over 500 yards and sophomore running back Hunter Wilkinson had five touchdowns. Greenwood exerted itself as the 6A’s best team and favorite to repeat as state champions. The lone negative was the defense which allowed over 500 yards to an admittedly explosive Benton offense.
- Bentonville West Defense Does It Again – For the second straight week, and second time in school history, the Wolverine defense pitched a shutout. After a 45-0 win over Har-Ber, West blanked Heritage 42-0. Oh, and Will Jarrett returned at quarterback. One of the top passers in the state was sidelined with a foot injury after a week one loss in Owasso. Jarrett threw three touchdowns to Ole Miss commit Jaden Jackson, a reunion that has many Wolverine fans thinking Little Rock or bust. West has won five straight games in the 7A-West.
- West Fork Snaps Losing Streak In Dramatic Way – Entering week eight, the Tigers had a 23 game losing streak, third longest active in the state of Arkansas. That run of L’s is no more, as Justin Smith picked up his first win as West Fork coach. With less than ten seconds to play in the game, Paris led 13-12 and was punting deep in its own territory. West Fork’s Austin Hays blocked the punt out of the endzone for a game winning safety as the Tigers walked away 14-13 winners. Hays also added a rushing touchdown earlier in the game.
- Gravette In The Win Column As Well – After a miserable 0-7 start to the season, Gravette scored more points in week eight (31) than it had in the previous seven combined (26). The Lions shutout Green Forest 31-0 behind two rushing touchdowns from Keegan Addison. Gravette plays at Shiloh Christian and home Gentry to wrap up Doug Greenwood’s first season.
- Unbeaten/Winless Lists Dwindling – Just three teams remain perfect through eight weeks of football. Booneville and Lamar are each 8-0, along with Oklahoma power Poteau. The Bearcats and Warriors play for the conference title this week, so the most perfect regular seasons possible is two. On the other side of the spectrum, Gravette and West Fork notched wins which leaves just two winless squads in 0-8 Paris and 0-8 Rogers Heritage.
Five Thoughts On Week Nine
- Springdale In Trouble Without QB Grant Allen – According to a source, Allen fractured his fibula in the second quarter of Friday’s 48-14 loss to Fayetteville. Devastating news for Springdale, and even worse luck for Allen who missed a chunk of last season at Har-Ber with a torn right labrum. The Red Dogs sit at 6-2, 3-2 with a home game against Bentonville and road finale at Van Buren. The Bulldogs have locked up a playoff berth but likely slip to the 7A-West’s four seed. That sets up a matchup against the five seed from the 7A-Central, potentially Southside or Northside.
- Booneville Defense Continues To Roll – Scott Hyatt’s team has a point differential of +248 and has allowed nine points total over the past two weeks in wins over Mansfield and Charleston. Booneville has two shutouts and has allowed just 103 points all season (12.8 points per game), 1/3 of those coming in a 62-34 win over Greenland. The Bearcats defense has given up just 9.8 points per game outside of the win over Greenland.
- Elkins Offense Best In State – Another great point differential (+225) belongs to Elkins. Bryan Hutson inherited one of the most explosive offenses in the state, and the Elks have made the most of a jump up to the 4A-4 with a 7-1, 4-1 record. Elkins has put up a the most points in the state of Arkansas, a whopping 407 points in eight games (50.8 per game) after scoring 78 last week. With the lowest output of 36 points coming in week four, Quinn McClain has led the offense to four straight games of at least 45 points. For reference, the Elks have outscored Pulaski Academy by 45 points. But seeding and a conference title rests on two final conference games at Dardanelle (also 7-1, 4-1) and home against Ozark (6-2, 5-0).
- Games To Watch Out For On Friday – Week nine doesn’t have the big games of week eight or the luster of week ten. But there’s still a quartet of matchups to watch out for. Our #5NEWSFFN game of the week pits two 8-0 schools against each other as Lamar hosts Booneville for the 3A-1 title. As previously mentioned, Elkins travels to Dardanelle to stay alive for a 4A-4 conference title. Alma looks to regain momentum at Greenbrier. The Airedales likely win week ten at Huntsville, so week nine could clinch Doug Loughridge and company a two seed out of the 5A-West (assuming Harrison runs the table after a 31-0 win over Alma). Finally, Mountainburg’s hunt for its first conference title continues at home against Magazine. Tom Harrell’s Dragons are 6-1, 4-0 in 2A-4 play and rolling offensively.
- Week Ten Could Be Fun – Starting with our smallest classifications, we could see a 2A-4 conference title game between Moutainburg and Hector. Either Booneville or Lamar will have a shot to finish the regular a 3A-1 champion and 10-0. Pea Ridge and Shiloh Christian have already locked up the top two seeds out of the 4A-1, but a matchup at the Ridge in week ten will decide who wins the conference title. Elkins is in the midst of a race for the 4A-4 crown, while Alma could secure a two seed in the 5A-West. Greenwood has all but clinched the 6A-West, while Siloam Springs continues its playoff push. And for the second straight year, Tiger Stadium likely hosts a 7A-West conference title game between Betonville and Bentonville West. With Will Jarrett back at QB, the Wolverines will be gunning for revenge from a season ago.