Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Rex’s Rankings: The playoffs continue

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Let’s be honest about the first week of the high school playoffs: There aren’t many good games.

Too many top teams have byes, and too many high-seeded teams blow out lower seeds.

There were a couple of high-scoring games decided by one point last Friday night, but for the most part blowouts were the order of the day.

It gets a lot more interesting this week.

In Class 7A, I still think we’ll see a Bryant-Bentonville game decide the state championship. But upsets happen.

In Class 6A, I would love to see Benton and Greenwood play each other again.

By the same token, I would like to see a Little Rock Christian-Pulaski Academy rematch in Class 5A.

I don’t know if we’ll get those rematches or not. I do know that the game of the week is Pulaski Academy at Harrison and that Harrison has the talent to win the game.

Here are the rankings after one week of the playoffs:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Harrison
  6. Benton
  7. Greenwood
  8. Searcy
  9. North Little Rock
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Springdale Har-Ber
  5. Conway

CLASS 6A

  1. Benton
  2. Greenwood
  3. Searcy
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. West Memphis

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Morrilton
  5. Wynne

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Harding Academy
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Junction City
  2. Foreman
  3. Des Arc
  4. Hazen
  5. Fordyce

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College football: Battle of the Ravine

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Tired of what’s going on in Fayetteville?

The perfect antidote to that long-running soap opera can be found in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon when one of the great traditions in American sports takes place.

The Battle of the Ravine should be on every Arkansan’s bucket list. It’s the only game in college football where the visitors walk to a road game. State troopers will halt traffic Saturday morning on U.S. Highway 67, and Henderson State University players will walk across to play at Ouachita Baptist University’s Cliff Harris Stadium.

The game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. At about 4 p.m., the troopers will stop traffic again, and the Reddies will walk back home.

It looks as if the weather will be perfect for college football with sunshine and temperatures in the high 50s.

Ouachita is 10-0 and ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II.

Henderson is 9-1 and ranked No. 20 in the country.

What’s always a big game is even bigger than usual. Sports Illustrated, in fact, already has a writer and photographer in Arkadelphia.

Those who have played in these games, coached in them, covered them as journalists or watched from the stands know that there are few things quite like this game between four-year schools that are within walking distance of each other.

After all these decades, the series is tied 43-43-6.

We were a mediocre 4-3 on the picks last week (having foolishly picked the Hogs against Western Kentucky) to make the record 66-21 for the season.

Let’s get to the picks for this 12th week of the college football season:

Ouachita 29, Henderson 23 — Ouachita has already secured a share of its third consecutive Great American Conference championship. The Tigers have won 26 consecutive GAC games, a streak that dates back more than two years. Henderson would like to end that streak and, in the process, earn a share of the conference title and a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. With a loss, a 9-2 Reddie team is most likely headed to a minor bowl game with Ouachita and Harding being the only playoff representatives. Ouachita has won the past three games in this rivalry, but Henderson has found new weapons after having fallen to an overall record of 12-12 the previous two seasons. Ouachita will attempt to get its rushing attack going early and limit the number of Henderson possessions with long, time-consuming drives. This game will rest on Henderson’s ability to stop the Ouachita ground game.

Arkansas State 31, Coastal Carolina 22 — The 5-4 Red Wolves have had two weeks to prepare for this game and are at home in Jonesboro on Saturday afternoon. ASU has won two consecutive games, 38-14 over Texas State on Oct. 26 and 48-41 over Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 2. Coastal Carolina is 4-5 with an upset 12-7 victory over Kansas, a 46-7 win over Norfolk State, a 62-28 victory over Massachusetts and a 36-35 win over Troy. The losses have been by scores of 30-23 to Eastern Michigan, 56-37 to Appalachian State, 31-21 to Georgia State, 30-27 in three overtimes to Georgia Southern and 48-7 to Louisiana-Lafayette.

UCA 35, Stephen F. Austin 20 — The 7-3 Bears laid a huge egg in Conway last Saturday, falling 34-0 to Southeastern Louisiana. Quarterback Cole Kelley (remember him?) accounted for 312 yards and five touchdowns against a hapless Bear defense. It was the first time a Bear team had been shut out since 1995. No UCA team had been shut out in Conway since 1986. Still, though, the Bears are tied atop the Southland Conference standings with Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State and Sam Houston State. The good news is that a bad Stephen F. Austin team comes to Conway this Saturday afternoon. The Lumberjacks are 2-8 overall and 2-5 in conference play. The two wins were by scores of 24-17 over Lamar and 31-24 over Incarnate Word. The losses have been by scores of 56-16 to Baylor, 37-26 to Tarleton State (a Division II school), 45-38 to Southern Utah, 48-30 to Nicholls State, 31-20 to Sam Houston State, 31-24 to Abilene Christian, 33-10 to McNeese State and 47-30 to Southeastern Louisiana.

Harding 40, Arkansas Tech 25 — The Bisons lost their season opener 16-14 to Ouachita and have since run off nine consecutive victories. Still, they have to hope for a Henderson win over Ouachita to gain a share of the conference title. Since the conference was formed in 2011, Ouachita has won five titles, Henderson has won three and Harding has won one. The Bisons posted a 35-14 victory over 1-9 Southeastern Oklahoma last week as Harding rushed for 462 yards on 57 running plays. Tech fell to 3-7 with a 31-30 loss to 2-8 East Central Oklahoma. With a victory, Harding will ensure itself a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Southern Arkansas 39, UAM 24 — Both of these teams came to Arkadelphia and lost last Saturday. UAM fell 35-7 to Ouachita. Henderson scored in the final minute to beat Southern Arkansas by a score of 38-31. The Muleriders come in as the favorite with a 7-3 record, but the 5-5 Boll Weevils have been competitive in most games this season and are looking to secure their second consecutive winning season.

 

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Rex’s Rankings: The playoffs begin

Monday, November 11th, 2019

The regular season has ended, and it’s time for the high school football playoffs to begin in Arkansas.

These next five weeks should be fun.

In Class 7A, I think we’ll see Bryant and Bentonville in the finals at War Memorial Stadium. Teams that could get hot at the right time and make it to the final game are North Little Rock, Springdale Har-Ber and Conway.

In Class 6A, the state champion likely will be one of three teams — Benton, Greenwood or Searcy. If there’s a big upset along the way, either Lake Hamilton, West Memphis or Marion will be the team to pull the upset.

In Class 5A, everyone is looking forward to a Pulaski Academy-Little Rock Christian rematch. Harrison has the ability to mess up those plans with a victory over Pulaski Academy in the second round.

In Class 4A, I think the champion will be either Shiloh Christian or one of three teams from the same conference — Arkadelphia (which has won the past two state titles), Joe T. Robinson or Nashville.

Class 3A is wide open with Rison, Prescott, Osceola, Harding Academy, McGehee, Camden Harmony Grove and Booneville all capable of making deep runs.

Class 2A is also wide open with Junction City, Foreman, Des Arc, Hazen, Fordyce and Magnet Cove all having the talent needed to win a state title.

Here are the updated rankings as the playoffs begin:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Harrison
  6. Benton
  7. Greenwood
  8. Searcy
  9. North Little Rock
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Springdale Har-Ber
  5. Conway

CLASS 6A

  1. Benton
  2. Greenwood
  3. Searcy
  4. Marion
  5. Lake Hamilton

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Valley View
  5. Maumelle

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Harding Academy
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Junction City
  2. Foreman
  3. Des Arc
  4. Hazen
  5. Fordyce

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College football: Week 11

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Arkansas’ opponent in Fayetteville this Saturday is Western Kentucky.

Is this the week that the Razorbacks finally get another victory?

If Arkansas loses, does that force the administration to fire Chad Morris before the weekend is over?

So many questions, so little interest.

The crowds keep getting smaller and smaller as Arkansans focus on other fall activities.

I’m far more focused, for example, on the other teams in the state. There’s a lot of good football being played out there. UCA is up to No. 6 in the FCS poll, and three of the state’s six Division II teams (Ouachita, Harding and Henderson) are nationally ranked.

A number of Arkansans actually went so far as to predict a Razorback victory last week over a struggling Mississippi State squad. Silly optimists.

I picked the Bulldogs, but even I didn’t believe it would be a 30-point margin. Each time you think the Arkansas program has hit rock bottom, the hole gets deeper.

At 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the Southeastern Conference, Arkansas has now lost 17 consecutive SEC games. Morris is 0-14 against SEC opponents. Morris-coached teams have lost by 30 or more points seven times since the start of the 2018 season.

Last Saturday, the Bulldogs had 640 yards of offense, including 460 rushing yards. Both were school records against SEC opponents.

Joe Moorhead is on the hot seat at Starkville. Too bad he can’t play Arkansas every week. He’s 2-0 against the Razorbacks, having won by a combined score of 106-30.

In the past three games, Arkansas has been outscored 153-41.

We were 6-2 on the picks last week, making the season record 62-18.

Here are the selections for Week 11 of the college football season:

Arkansas 41, Western Kentucky 39 — Yes, Western Kentucky lost to Central Arkansas by a final score of 35-28 in the season opener. But when you consider the depths to which the Arkansas program has fallen, you realize that this is indeed a game the Hogs could lose. Western Kentucky has a 5-4 record. The five wins have been by scores of 20-14 over Florida International, 20-13 over Alabama-Birmingham, 20-3 over Old Dominion, 17-8 over Army and 30-14 over Charlotte. In addition to the UCA loss, WKU has fallen 38-21 to Louisville, 26-23 to Marshall and 35-24 to Florida Atlantic.

UCA 30, Southeastern Louisiana 27 — The Bears remain alone atop the Southland Conference standings. They’re 7-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play following a 45-17 victory at Lamar (4-5, 2-4). UCA jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, led 31-10 at the half and never looked back. Breylin Smith was 30 of 37 passing for 434 yards and four touchdowns. Tyler Hudson had six receptions for 120 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears host a decent Southeastern Louisiana squad in Conway this Saturday afternoon. The Lions are 5-3 overall and 4-2 in conference play. They’ve won two consecutive games and will give the Bears all they can handle. The five victories have been by scores of 35-14 over Jacksonville State, 45-34 over Lamar, 44-27 over Northwestern State of Louisiana, 52-13 over Houston Baptist and 47-30 over Stephen F. Austin. The three losses have been by scores of 40-29 to Ole Miss, 38-34 to McNeese and 27-21 to Incarnate Word. As you can see, Southeastern is just two scores away from being undefeated in the conference.

Prairie View A&M 24, UAPB 21 — The Golden Lions lost their second consecutive game to fall to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in SWAC play. Jackson State won 21-12 in Jackson to improve to 4-5 and 3-1. The Golden Lions just never could get their offense going. They had only 69 yards of offense in the first half and 299 yards for the game. UAPB goes on the road this week for an afternoon game against a Prairie View A&M team that’s 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the SWAC. The wins have been by scores of 44-23 over Texas Southern, 42-36 over Grambling and 51-0 over Virginia-Lynchburg. The losses have been by scores of 37-17 to Houston, 42-35 to Nicholls State, 45-41 to Alcorn State, 34-28 to Southern University and 38-35 to Jackson State. In a game that easily could go either way, we’ll give a slight advantage to the home team.

Ouachita 31, UAM 19 — Ouachita remains the only undefeated college team in the state at 9-0. The Tigers, ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II, have won 25 consecutive Great American Conference games and can earn at least a share of their third consecutive GAC title with a victory Saturday in Arkadelphia. Ouachita jumped out to a 21-0 lead and wound up beating a talented Southern Arkansas squad by a final score of 38-21 in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado last Saturday afternoon. SAU is 7-2. Ouachita had 314 rushing yards on 49 carries. Senior Brockton Brown from Sheridan led the way with 149 yards and three touchdowns. He leads the GAC with 17 rushing touchdowns. UAM is 5-4, has talent and will give the Tigers a battle at Cliff Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Henderson 32, Southern Arkansas 26 — The Reddies improved to 8-1 last Saturday with a 27-20 victory at UAM. It was the fifth win in a row for Henderson following a one-point loss to Harding. The Boll Weevils gave the Reddies all they wanted, outgaining Henderson 438-375. The Reddies are home in Arkadelphia this week, but they can’t afford to be looking ahead to the following week’s Battle of the Ravine against Ouachita. If they do, the Muleriders will make them pay.

Harding 59, Southeastern Oklahoma 18 — The Bisons have won eight consecutive games since a 16-14 loss to Ouachita in the season opener at Arkadelphia. Harding beat 1-8 East Central Oklahoma by a final score of 56-20 last Saturday. Harding had 558 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground with 341 of those yards coming in the first half. Expect a similar rout this week as the Bisons go on the road to play 1-8 Southeastern Oklahoma.

Arkansas Tech 25, East Central Oklahoma 22 — After starting the season 0-6, the Wonder Boys have won three consecutive games. Tech defeated Southeastern Oklahoma by a final score of 38-20 in Russellville last Saturday as junior quarterback Carter Burcham threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns. The Wonder Boys should have enough momentum now to take care of East Central Oklahoma on the road in Ada this Saturday afternoon.

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Rex’s Rankings: After 10 weeks

Monday, November 4th, 2019

We’ve reached the final week of the regular season.

This is that strange week when there are a lot of rivalry games with about half of the games played on Thursday night and about half of the games played on Friday night.

The big news last week might have been the fact that Bryant didn’t invoke the mercy rule. The No. 1 Hornets had to battle for more than three quarters to pull out a 35-21 victory over North Little Rock.

The upset of the week was Van Buren over Bentonville West. It’s the Battle of Bentonville this week as that city’s two high schools play each other. Bentonville remains just behind Bryant in the rankings following its 52-0 victory over Springdale.

Here are our updated rankings as the regular season winds down:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Harrison
  6. Conway
  7. Benton
  8. Greenwood
  9. Little Rock Catholic
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. Little Rock Catholic
  5. Bentonville West

CLASS 6A

  1. Benton
  2. Greenwood
  3. Jonesboro
  4. Searcy
  5. Lake Hamilton

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Valley View
  5. Maumelle

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Harding Academy
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Junction City
  2. Fordyce
  3. Foreman
  4. Des Arc
  5. Hazen

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College football: Week 10

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

It’s a winnable game this week for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Will the Hogs actually win?

That’s a whole different deal.

Those Razorback fans who still bother to watch looked on in sadness last week as Alabama raced to a 41-0 halftime lead and then called off the dogs.

The 48-7 loss was the 16th consecutive Southeastern Conference defeat for Arkansas and the 13th consecutive loss by a Razorback team to Alabama. Alabama got 24 of its first-half points off turnovers.

Arkansas is now 4-21 all time against teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, a perch from which the Tide fell despite the margin of victory over Arkansas. That’s what playing the Razorbacks will do to your strength of schedule these days.

As we’ve been saying all season, there’s still a lot of good college football being played in the state of Arkansas. Take away the Razorbacks and you’ll notice that the other 11 programs went 9-2 last week against out-of-state foes.

Of the 12 football programs, the only three losers were the three football-playing institutions that are part of the University of Arkansas System: The Hogs, the UAPB Golden Lions and the UAM Boll Weevils.

We went 7-3 on the picks last week, making the record 56-16 for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 10 of the college football season:

Mississippi State 34, Arkansas 31 — The Bulldogs are struggling almost as much as Arkansas. Mississippi State got off to a 3-1 start with victories of 38-28 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-15 over Southern Mississippi and 28-13 over Kentucky along with a 31-24 loss to Kansas State. Since that victory over Kentucky, the Bulldogs have lost four consecutive SEC games — 56-23 to Auburn, 20-10 to Tennessee, 36-13 to LSU and 49-30 to Texas A&M.

Arkansas State 39, Louisiana-Monroe 37 — It has been a struggle for Arkansas State this year, but the Red Wolves were able to even their record at 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 38-14 victory in Jonesboro last Saturday night over Texas State. Redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher was 18 of 28 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Omar Bayless had seven receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. ASU outscored Texas State 21-0 in the second half of that game. If Hatcher and Bayless can have a big game in Monroe on Saturday, the Red Wolves should be able to escape with a victory over a Warhawk team that’s 3-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The three Louisiana-Monroe victories have been by scores of 31-9 over Grambling, 30-17 over South Alabama and 24-14 over Texas State. The losses have been by scores of 45-44 to Florida State in overtime, 72-20 to Iowa State, 52-33 to Memphis and 52-7 to Appalachian State.

UCA 28, Lamar 25 — The Bears stand alone atop the Southland Conference standings. UCA improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play with a 39-25 victory over Sam Houston State last Saturday night in Conway. Sam Houston (now 5-4, 4-2) led 16-0 at halftime. UCA tied the score at 22-22 with 8:36 left in the game on a 28-yard pass from Breylin Smith to Carlos Blackman that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Smith to Blackman. Sam Houston went back on top with a 43-yard field goal with 5:13 remaining. The Bears took the lead for good on a 15-yard pass from Smith to Tyler Hudson with 3:57 left to play. Sam Houston then fumbled at the UCA 18 with 21 seconds left. The Bears go to southeast Texas this week to face a Lamar squad that’s 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Southland Conference. The four wins have been by scores of 65-16 over Bethel, 23-20 over Mississippi Valley State, 27-24 over Abilene Christian and 20-17 in three overtimes over Sam Houston. The losses have been by scores of 63-3 to Texas A&M, 45-34 to Southeastern Louisiana, 24-17 to Stephen F. Austin and 35-17 to Incarnate Word.

UAPB 24, Jackson State 21 — This is a much improved UAPB team over the one that went 2-9 a year ago in Cedric Thomas’ first year as head coach. UAPB, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2012, fell to 5-3 last Saturday when Grambling escaped Pine Bluff with a 39-33 victory. The Golden Lions had a chance to win it at the end when an interception was returned 19 yards to the Tiger 11 with 3:11 left in the game. But on fourth-and-five, UAPB threw an interception. The Golden Lions are on the road Saturday to take on a Jackson State team that’s 3-5 overall. The victories have been by scores of 49-44 over Tennessee State, 31-28 over Mississippi Valley State and 38-35 over Prairie View A&M. The losses have been by scores of 36-15 to Bethune-Cookman, 37-14 to South Alabama, 33-25 to Kentucky State, 44-21 to Grambling and 31-16 to Alabama State.

Ouachita 32, Southern Arkansas 27 — One of the biggest games of the year so far in NCAA Division II is set for this Saturday afternoon in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado. Ouachita is 8-0, ranked No. 5 in the country in Division II and has won the past two Great American Conference championships. The Tigers have won 24 consecutive conference games. Southern Arkansas is 7-1, having lost only to Harding. Both teams struggled a bit on the road last week in Oklahoma. Ouachita fell behind Southern Nazarene 13-0 on a cold, rainy Thursday night before scoring 27 unanswered points to win 27-13. On Saturday, SAU escaped with a 24-23 victory at 1-7 East Central Oklahoma. The Muleriders trailed 20-7 with 7:50 left in the third quarter and finally went ahead for good on a 35-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the game. Ouachita and SAU met two years ago in the Murphy USA Classic with Ouachita winning a game in which the lead changed hands four times in the final two minutes. This one could be similar to that.

Harding 51, East Central Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons lost their opener 16-14 to Ouachita and have since won seven consecutive games. Their three remaining opponents all have losing records. In other words, Harding won’t lose again until the NCAA Division II playoffs. Harding must hope that someone beats Ouachita at least once in order to gain a share of the GAC title. Since the GAC was formed in 2011, Ouachita has won four championships, Henderson has won three and Harding has won one. The Bisons won 47-13 last week at 2-6 Northwestern Oklahoma. Harding outrushed the Rangers 413-101. Cole Chancey had 206 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Henderson 35, UAM 26 — The Reddies improved to 7-1 with a 41-27 win at 1-7 Southeastern Oklahoma last Saturday. It was the ninth consecutive Reddie win over the Savage Storm. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 24 of 34 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson finishes the season with showdowns against Southern Arkansas and Ouachita but can’t afford to be looking ahead since this week’s opponent is a decent UAM team that’s 5-3. The Boll Weevils lost last week by a final score of 33-31 at Oklahoma Baptist, which is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC. Nationally ranked Henderson teams have been tripped up before in Monticello. It’s where the late Coach Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter uttered his famous quote: “Lightning struck the outhouse, and we were in it.”

Southeastern Oklahoma 18, Arkansas Tech 17 — Arkansas Tech lost its first two games of the season and has since won two consecutive contests. It’s another winnable game on Saturday against Southeastern Oklahoma. Tech won 36-35 last week at 2-6 Southwestern Oklahoma. The Wonder Boys had trailed 35-26 going into the fourth quarter of that contest.

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Rex’s Rankings: After nine weeks

Monday, October 28th, 2019

All season we had wondered if anyone in Class 6A would challenge Greenwood.

Not only did Benton challenge Greenwood last Friday night, the Panthers BEAT the Bulldogs.

That certainly shook things up in Class 6A.

Benton had started the season 0-3 in nonconference play. Granted, those losses were to good teams (Bryant, Arkadelphia and Cabot). Since then, Benton has run off conference victories over Russellville, Siloam Springs, Little Rock Hall, El Dorado and now Greenwood.

This week sees the Panthers travel to Lake Hamilton to take on a team that’s 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference. That’s the game of the week in high school football as we enter the final two weeks of the regular season.

In Class 7A, no one has yet challenged Bryant. The Hornets moved to 8-0 last week with a 55-10 victory at Cabot.

Bryant hosts a North Little Rock team that has struggled (by North Little Rock standards) to records of 5-3 overall and 4-1 in conference.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Harrison
  6. Conway
  7. Bentonville West
  8. Little Rock Catholic
  9. Benton
  10. Greenwood

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. Bentonville West
  5. Little Rock Catholic

CLASS 6A

  1. Benton
  2. Greenwood
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Searcy

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Valley View
  5. Maumelle

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Camden Harmony Grove
  5. Harding Academy

CLASS 2A

  1. Junction City
  2. Fordyce
  3. Foreman
  4. Des Arc
  5. Hazen

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College football: Week 9

Monday, October 21st, 2019

We’re talking history at this point.

If the football program at the University of Arkansas ever returns to respectability, you’ll be able to tell the grandchildren: “I lived through the worst period in modern Razorback history.”

Here are some of the sobering numbers in the wake of Arkansas’ 51-10 loss to Auburn in Fayetteville last Saturday:

— Though there weren’t nearly that many people actually in their seats, the announced attendance Saturday was 54,619 in a stadium that holds almost 75,000 people. That’s the smallest Fayetteville crowd since 2003 and the smallest crowd to witness a Southeastern Conference game in Fayetteville since before the stadium was expanded in 2001. Let’s put it in perspective: Almost twice as many people attended the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock on Saturday as attended the Razorback game in Fayetteville. If there’s one factor more than any other that will force the Arkansas athletic director’s hand on a quick coaching change, it’s apathy. And apathy has firmly set in across Arkansas when it comes to Razorback football.

— Arkansas, which fell to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in SEC play, lost its 15th consecutive SEC game.

— Saturday’s 41-point margin was the largest so far during that losing streak.

— Chad Morris is now 0-12 against SEC opponents.

As we’ve stated before, there’s good college football being played in Arkansas this season. It’s just not in Fayetteville. The other Arkansas teams that played on Saturday went 7-1 against out-of-state foes.

We were 8-1 on our picks for the week, making the season record 49-13.

Here are the selections for this week’s games:

Alabama 49, Arkansas 19 — As you know by now, Tua Tagovailoa won’t be playing for Alabama on Saturday following an ankle injury in the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 win against Tennessee. Will it matter much? We doubt it. The No. 1 Tide is 7-0 with victories of 42-3 over Duke, 62-10 over New Mexico State, 47-23 over South Carolina, 49-7 over Southern Mississippi, 59-31 over Ole Miss, 47-28 over Texas A&M and 35-13 over Tennessee. The closest margin of victory has been 19 points. And Nick Saban will see to it that his team isn’t looking ahead to LSU.

Texas State 35, Arkansas State 33 — This is a winnable game for ASU, which fell to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in Sun Belt Conference play last Thursday night with a 37-20 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves, though, have lost four starters to injury on defense in addition to losing their quarterback on offense. To put it simply, they can’t stop anyone. ASU’s best chance is for redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher to have a great night in a high-scoring shootout. Hatcher was 23 of 34 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Texas State is 2-4 overall. The wins have come by scores of 37-34 over Georgia State and 24-3 over Nicholls State. The losses have been by scores of 41-7 to Texas A&M, 23-14 to Wyoming, 47-17 to SMU and 24-14 to Louisiana-Monroe.

Sam Houston State 28, UCA 25 — The Bears moved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Southland Conference play after escaping Northwestern State in Louisiana with a 31-30 victory. The Demons remain winless at 0-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. Northwestern scored with 1:30 left in the game and then went for two. A pass was knocked away on the two-point conversion attempt, and the Bears hit the road back to Conway. This week’s opponent is a Sam Houston State team that’s 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Southland Conference. The three losses have been by scores of 39-31 to New Mexico, 27-23 to North Dakota and 20-17 to Lamar. The five victories have been by scores of 77-0 over Oklahoma Panhandle, 45-6 over Incarnate Word, 28-17 over McNeese, 31-20 over Stephen F. Austin and 17-0 over Nicholls.

Grambling 18, UAPB 15 — The Golden Lions are a surprising 5-2 and have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Grambling comes to Pine Bluff with a record of 2-4. The Tigers began the season 0-2 with losses of 31-9 to Louisiana-Monroe, 20-14 to Louisiana Tech, 23-20 to Alabama State and 42-36 to Prairie View A&M. They have, however, turned it around with two consecutive SWAC wins by scores of 44-21 over Jackson State and 23-10 over Alabama A&M.

Ouachita 34, Southern Nazarene 17 — Ouachita has a short week with a Thursday night game in Oklahoma. The Tigers are 7-0, they’re ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II and they have won 23 consecutive conference games. But Nazarene, which is 2-5, has a way of giving Ouachita teams a tough time. In fact, the home team led in the fourth quarter two years ago before Ouachita came from behind to win. Ouachita posted a 41-14 victory over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday as three Tiger running backs scored two touchdowns each. Ouachita led 28-0 at the half of that game.

Henderson 40, Southeastern Oklahoma 22 — The 6-1 Reddies celebrated homecoming in style last Saturday with a 48-17 victory over East Central Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 18 of 27 passing for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Henderson heads to Durant this week to do battle with a Southeastern Oklahoma team that has struggled to a 1-6 record. Southeastern fell by 42 points to Southern Arkansas last Saturday. The Reddies just have to be sure they aren’t looking ahead to a final three-game stretch that will see them play UAM, Southern Arkansas and Ouachita.

Southern Arkansas 47, East Central Oklahoma 23 — The Muleriders improved to 6-1 with that 49-7 victory in Magnolia over Southeastern Oklahoma. SAU led 28-0 at the half of that game. With his 63rd victory at the school, Bill Keopple became the all-time winningest coach in SAU history. The Muleriders held the Savage Storm to a negative three yards rushing and shouldn’t have any problem in Ada this Saturday afternoon against East Central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Baptist 30, UAM 27 — Oklahoma Baptist is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC and has one of the conference’s top quarterbacks. That could spell trouble for the 5-2 Boll Weevils, who posted a 31-28 victory over Southern Nazarene last Saturday in Monticello. Southern Nazarene led 20-7 at the half of that game. Oklahoma Baptist is 3-4 but could easily be 5-2 following close losses to Henderson and Southern Arkansas. The Bison even scored 33 points on the vaunted Harding defense.

Harding 44, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons have won six consecutive games since losing the season opener to Ouachita. Last Saturday saw a 45-14 win over Southwestern Oklahoma. The Bisons had 504 rushing yards on 68 carries and led 31-0 at halftime. It’s a long trip to Alva, but don’t expect 2-5 Northwestern Oklahoma to present much of a challenge. The Bisons don’t play another team with a winning record this year.

Southwestern Oklahoma 26, Arkansas Tech 16 — Tech finally got its first win of the season last Saturday in Russellville. The final score was 21-14 over Northwestern Oklahoma in a game that was tied 7-7 after three quarters of play. The Wonder Boys had a 55-yard fumble recovery to take the lead. Southwestern is 2-5 but usually plays well (the Bulldogs led Ouachita in the fourth quarter before losing) at home in Weatherford.

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Rex’s Rankings: After eight weeks

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Is it too early to start talking about where this Bryant team ranks on the list of the greatest high school football squads in Arkansas history?

I don’t think so, especially considering that Bryant is putting the mercy rule (or the more politically correct “sportsmanship rule,” as the Arkansas Activities Association likes to call it) on teams week after week.

The Hornets did it again last week in a 55-0 victory over Fort Smith Southside.

If anyone can challenge Bryant in the Class 7A playoffs, it likely will be Bentonville, which posted a 55-14 victory over Fayetteville last week.

The big surprise of the week came when Little Rock Catholic went to North Little Rock and came away with a 41-21 victory. North Little Rock falls all the way out of our overall Top 10, and Catholic moves back in at No. 9.

Here are the updated rankings with just three weeks remaining in the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. Little Rock Christian
  5. Pulaski Academy
  6. Harrison
  7. Conway
  8. Bentonville West
  9. Little Rock Catholic
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. Bentonville West
  5. Little Rock Catholic

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Benton
  5. Sheridan

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Valley View
  5. Maumelle

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Camden Harmony Grove
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Junction City
  3. Foreman
  4. McCrory
  5. Des Arc

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College football: Week 8

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

I’m just not sure what else there is to say about Arkansas’ 24-20 loss to Kentucky in Lexington last Saturday night.

A Kentucky player moved from receiver to quarterback and then ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for another score.

How do you explain that? You don’t.

Kentucky finished the game with 330 rushing yards on 54 carries and outgained the Hogs 418-305 overall to move to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference.

Arkansas, which must accept its fate as the SEC’s worst football program in recent years, falls to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have now lost 14 consecutive SEC games.

There is, mind you, a lot of good college football being played in the state. You just have to look to places other than Fayetteville.

In fact, Arkansas teams other than the Razorbacks were 9-2 against out-of-state competition last Saturday.

Arkansas State opens this week’s action with a Thursday night game in Jonesboro against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Auburn visits Fayetteville for an 11 a.m. game against the Razorbacks on Saturday.

All six of the state’s Great American Conference schools are home against the six GAC teams from Oklahoma.

And Hendrix, the state’s only NCAA Division III program, is home against Centre.

So college football fans have games in Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Arkadelphia (two games there), Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello and Conway to choose from.

There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this week.

We were 7-2 on the picks last week (we likely won’t make the mistake of picking either Arkansas or Arkansas Tech again) to make the record 41-12 so far in 2019.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Louisiana-Lafayette 47, Arkansas State 42 — The Red Wolves are home this week. Here’s the problem: A series of injuries has resulted in an ASU defense that can stop no one. In their last game on Oct. 5, the Red Wolf defense gave up 722 yards in a 52-38 loss to Georgia State in Atlanta. ASU ranks ninth in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense. The Red Wolves give up an average of 38.7 points per game. ASU is last in the 10-team conference in total defense, giving up 535.8 yards per game. ASU now finds itself 3-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town with records of 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play. The losses have been by scores of 38-28 to Mississippi State and 17-7 to Appalachian State (which is the best team in the Sun Belt at 5-0, 2-0). The wins have been by scores of 35-14 over Liberty, 77-6 over Texas Southern, 45-25 over Ohio and 37-24 over Georgia Southern.

Auburn 41, Arkansas 24 — The Tigers won their first five games before losing 24-13 to Florida on Oct. 5. Auburn has had two weeks to get ready for this contest, and Gus Malzahn will be trying to put as many points as possible on the scoreboard to get his team back on the national radar. Those five victories came by scores of 27-21 over Oregon, 24-6 over Tulane, 55-16 over Kent State, 28-20 over Texas A&M and 56-23 over Mississippi State. Look for Arkansas’ SEC losing streak to go to 15 games.

UCA 31, Northwestern State 20 — The Bears improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Southland Conference play last Saturday with a 40-31 victory over McNeese State (3-4, 1-3) in Conway. Bear quarterback Breylin Smith was 28 of 41 passing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Hudson had four catches for 113 yards. UCA must go on the road this week to Louisiana, but don’t expect too much of a problem against an 0-6 Northwestern State team. The Demon losses have been by scores of 42-20 to Tennessee-Martin, 33-7 to Midwestern State, 65-14 to LSU, 48-21 to Houston Baptist, 44-27 to Southeastern Louisiana and 45-35 to Nicholls.

Ouachita 32, Oklahoma Baptist 30 — Ouachita is ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II. The 6-0 Tigers won their 22nd consecutive GAC game at Ada, Okla., last Saturday. In the 31-3 victory over East Central Oklahoma, Ouachita outgained its opponent 407-173. Senior Brockton Brown out of Sheridan scored three touchdowns on the ground. Ouachita will have all it can handle this week against a 3-3 Oklahoma Baptist team that might have the best quarterback in the conference. Oklahoma Baptist lost 50-33 last Saturday to Harding, but to score 33 points against the vaunted Harding defense makes quite a statement.

Henderson 49, East Central Oklahoma 14 — The Reddies are rolling. Henderson has only lost by a point to Harding. Last Saturday, the 5-1 Reddies posted a 35-7 win at Southwestern Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 14 of 29 passing for 151 yards. After a couple of mediocre seasons, Reddie head coach Scott Maxfield has this program back to where it used to be. Don’t forget that Henderson has won three of the eight titles in the history of the GAC (Ouachita has won four, and Harding won the other one). A 1-5 East Central Oklahoma team shouldn’t present much of a challenge in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Southern Arkansas 26, Southeastern Oklahoma 10 — The Muleriders also moved to 5-1 last Saturday with a 40-7 victory at Northwestern Oklahoma. Redshirt freshman Kordavion Washington had 123 yards rushing. SAU finished with 333 yards on the ground. Expect SAU (which still has showdowns against Ouachita on Nov. 2 and Henderson on Nov. 9) to keep it rolling against 1-5 Southeastern Oklahoma this week.

Harding 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 18 — The Bisons also improved to 5-1 with that 50-33 victory at Oklahoma Baptist. Harding rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Cole Chancey carried 19 times for 233 yards. Look for Chancey to have another big game in Searcy on Saturday afternoon against 2-4 Southwestern Oklahoma.

UAM 27, Southern Nazarene 25 — The resurgent Boll Weevils are 4-2 after a 9-7 victory at Southeastern Oklahoma. UAM won on a safety when the Southeastern quarterback was sacked in the end zone. The Boll Weevils won despite having only 202 yards of offense. Of that total, 159 yards came on the ground. The defense helped out, though, with four fumble recoveries. This week’s opponent is a 2-4 Southern Nazarene team that has enough talent to hang with the Weevils. I expect a close game.

Northwestern Oklahoma 17, Arkansas Tech 15 — We’re beginning to wonder if the 0-6 Wonder Boys will get a victory this year. They have a chance this week with a 2-4 Northwestern Oklahoma team coming to Russellville. Tech lost 41-24 last Saturday at Southern Nazarene. The Wonder Boys found themselves down 28-0 midway through the second quarter in that one.

 

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