Archive for November, 2015

College football: Week 13

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

What could I possibly say about last Saturday’s 51-50 Mississippi State victory over Arkansas that hasn’t already been said?

For the first time in school history, Arkansas lost after scoring 50 or more points.

Brandon Allen’s seven touchdown passes set a school record and tied the Southeastern Conference record, and his team still lost.

Arkansas’ defense allowed the most passing yards in school history, 508. The previous high for a Razorback opponent was 499 yards passing by Kentucky’s Tim Couch in 1998.

So the Razorbacks enter the final game of the regular season with a mediocre record of 6-5. Most Hog fans were expecting better, at least eight or nine wins.

What a strange season this has been.

Back in the preseason, no one was expecting losses to Toledo and Texas Tech.

And only the most optimistic Arkansas fans were expecting the Hogs to beat Ole Miss and LSU on the road in back-to-back games.

The regular season will end at Fayetteville on what looks to be a rainy, chilly Friday afternoon against a bad Missouri team that’s 5-6 overall and 1-6 in the SEC. There likely will be as many empty seats as seats with people in them at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It’s a Black Friday clunker of a game for CBS, though the “reported attendance” will be much higher than the actual attendance, as is usually the case.

This is the final week to pick college football games on the Southern Fried blog. The record after 12 weeks is 72-23.

Here are the picks for Week 13:

Arkansas 39, Missouri 30 — Expect Arkansas to score its share of points, but no lead is safe with this Razorback defense. The defense gave up 51 points to Mississippi State, 52 points to Ole Miss and 46 points to Auburn. Razorback fans should hope that the defense that only surrendered 14 points at LSU chooses to show up. Coach Gary Pinkel, who led his Tigers to SEC East titles the previous two seasons, is going out with a whimper. Missouri’s lone SEC victory was by a score of 24-10 to an awful South Carolina team, which lost last Saturday to The Citadel. The last time The Citadel had won against an SEC team was in the 1992 season opener. Anyone out there remember that game? The Tigers’ six SEC losses have been by scores of 21-13 to Kentucky, 21-3 to Florida, 9-6 to Georgia, 10-3 to Vanderbilt, 31-13 to Mississippi State and 19-8 to Tennessee. Advantage Razorbacks with a bowl appearance in Nashville or Memphis to follow.

Arkansas State 29, New Mexico State 21 — The Red Wolves have had two weeks to prepare for Saturday afternoon’s game at New Mexico State. They’re 7-3 overall and 6-0 in the Sun Belt Conference with two games remaining in the regular season. New Mexico State lost 10 of its first 11 games against Sun Belt opponents after rejoining the conference in 2014. After an 0-7 start this season, the Aggies have won three consecutive games and don’t figure to be a pushover on Saturday. New Mexico State started the season with losses of 61-13 to Florida, 34-32 to Georgia State, 50-47 to UTEP, 38-29 to New Mexico, 52-3 to Ole Miss, 56-26 to Georgia Southern and 52-7 to Troy. The wins the past three games have been by scores of 55-48 over Idaho, 31-21 over Texas State and 37-34 over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves will earn at least a share of the conference title with a victory Saturday. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are right behind ASU at 5-1 in conference play. ASU ends the regular season in Jonesboro on Dec. 5 against a Texas State team that’s 3-7 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

Emporia State 28, Henderson 24 — The Reddies came up with an interception in the end zone with 10 seconds remaining on a cold afternoon in Arkadelphia en route to a 23-16 victory over Sioux Falls of South Dakota last Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Reddies, the Great American Conference champions, recorded their first playoff win since moving to NCAA Division II in 1993. The GAC had been 0-5 in the playoffs since being formed in 2011. Henderson has won 10 consecutive games, and seven of them have been by eight points or less. Emporia State shocked Minnesota State-Mankato, 51-49, to earn this week’s trip to Arkadelphia. Emporia is 10-2, having lost to Fort Hays State and the powerhouse Northwest Missouri State team. The Hornets have an offense that has scored 45 or more points six times this season. Does Henderson’s ability to win the close games finally end in the second round? This should be a fun one to watch.

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Rex’s Rankings: Two weeks in

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

We’re two weeks into the playoffs, and Pine Bluff, Springdale Har-Ber, Pulaski Academy and Greenwood are still our top four teams following victories last Friday.

The biggest upset victim of the night was Cabot, which fell by a final score of 35-25 to Fort Smith Southside. Cabot had been ranked No. 5.

These are our final rankings of the season. In the last two to three weeks of the high school football season, we prefer to let the teams do the talking on the field.

Thanks to all of you who listened this season to our high school football scoreboard show each Friday night. It aired for 12 consecutive weeks on almost 40 stations across Arkansas.

Here are the rankings as we head into Thanksgiving:

Overall

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Springdale Har-Ber
  3. Pulaski Academy
  4. Greenwood
  5. Bentonville
  6. Fayetteville
  7. Little Rock Christian
  8. Benton
  9. Jonesboro
  10. Fort Smith Southside

Class 7A

  1. Springdale Har-Ber
  2. Bentonville
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Fort Smith Southside
  5. Cabot

Class 6A

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Greenwood
  3. Benton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. El Dorado

Class 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Batesville
  4. Little Rock McClellan
  5. Hot Springs Lakeside

Class 4A

  1. Dardanelle
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Central Arkansas Christian
  5. Prairie Grove

Class 3A

  1. Smackover
  2. Prescott
  3. Harding Academy
  4. Glen Rose
  5. Danville

Class 2A

  1. Rison
  2. McCrory
  3. Des Arc
  4. England
  5. Mount Ida

 

 

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Mom (1925-2015)

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

I knew immediately what the news would be when the telephone rang shortly before 6 a.m. on the first truly cold Sunday morning of the fall.

My wife told me it was Parkway Village calling.

My mom, who had been going downhill since a fall earlier this year resulted in her hip being broken in three places, had died at age 90.

I drove quickly to the facility off Chenal Parkway, called my sister and then sat with Mom while waiting on the funeral home to arrive from Arkadelphia.

It’s Thanksgiving week, and all I could think while I waited with my mother’s body is how thankful I am.

I’m thankful to have grown up in a beautiful state, surrounded by good people.

I’m thankful to have had my father until he died in March 2011 at age 86.

I’m thankful for my wife and two sons.

I’m thankful for my sister and her family.

And I’m thankful to have had Carolyn Caskey Nelson for a mother.

I inherited my love of Arkansas from her. She was born Aug. 21, 1925, to Bess Rex Caskey (yes, my name comes from my maternal grandmother’s last name) and W.J. Caskey in the old White River town of Des Arc, a place filled with colorful characters.

Her father owned the funeral home and hardware store on Main Street (the two businesses went from the name Caskey to Eddins to Garth through the years but still occupy the building my grandfather built almost a century ago), and she was raised in a big house a couple of blocks away on Erwin Street. My grandfather was also a county elected official, and Mom told of trips with him to places across the county, places with names like Tollville, Ulm and Beulah.

The Caskeys were staunch Baptists, and Mom would laugh decades later at the memory of the elderly Catholic lady at Slovak who pointed to my mother and asked in her thick European accent: “Would the child like some wine?”

Mom was a proud daughter of the Grand Prairie, soaking up the traditions and culture of the lower White River region.

The First Baptist Church of Des Arc was just across the street from the Caskey home, and she would spend hours there. In fact, she was at the church practicing with the youth choir for an upcoming Christmas concert when word came on that fateful Sunday afternoon in December 1941 that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Soon, her three older brothers — Bill, Mike and Joe — were out of the country, fighting in the war.

There were three blue stars in the front window of the Caskey home on Erwin Street. It was just my grandparents, my mother and her older sister Ellen Bess, listening to the radio each evening for war news and saying a nightly prayer for those who were far from home.

Her brothers were still gone on May 27, 1943, when my mother spoke at her high school graduation. One of my most treasured possessions is a typed copy of her address that my sister found while cleaning out our family home.

“Most of us have grown up in a period of world-sweeping events,” Mom said that day. “Most of us are being impressed each day with the fact that we are coming out of school in the most critical period of American history. The far-reaching effects of the present great struggle for renewal of the rights of men is an inspiration for anyone. Deep in the heart of every boy or girl lives an ambition to become great. To study the noble deeds and great advancements of others is to long to do something equally as grand ourselves, and we are inspired with a burning desire for some opportunity for the display of heroism or strength of character. We see how far short we are of what seems necessary to do those things.”

She closed by saying: “There was a time long ago when a lonely band of Pilgrims faced fear and cold and hunger on the shore of a new and strange continent. Their inspiration was the cause of justice and freedom. There was a time when a nation struggling to be born almost perished at Valley Forge. There was a time when brother fought brother in America in civil strife. Those times passed, and so will the one in which we now graduate from school. America will again know a day when it will be not only the land we know and love, but a land of richer promise than man today has ever dreamed. In this there is an inspiration for today.”

Her three older brothers (all of whom would return safely from the war and live to ripe, old ages) graduated from Arkansas Tech. But W.J. Caskey — the staunch Baptist — wanted his girls to go to the Baptist school in Arkadelphia. Mom’s older sister had gone there. And my mom followed in the fall of 1943. She excelled in school at what’s now Ouachita Baptist University and after the war met Robert L. “Red” Nelson of Benton, who was returning to Ouachita following service in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a bombardier on a B-17.

Red was a sports star at Ouachita, excelling in football, basketball and baseball. He set what was then a school basketball record for most points in a game at Ouachita, scoring 38 points at a time when high-scoring games were rare. He earned 11 varsity letters — four in football, four in basketball and three in baseball. That was the maximum since Ouachita did not field a baseball team his freshman year.

Mom, meanwhile, was named the Ouachitonian Beauty.

The quarterback and the beauty queen were married on Aug. 11, 1946, at the Caskey home in Des Arc by the Rev. Homer Bradley, pastor of the First Baptist Church.

Mom graduated from college in the spring of 1947 and worked for two local businessmen — Cecil Cupp Sr. and John Malcolm Moore — while my dad finished his senior year at Ouachita. Following Dad’s graduation from college, he was offered the job of head football coach at Newport High School. He accepted the offer, and the young couple headed off to Jackson County, where my mom taught elementary school while Dad coached the Greyhounds.

Their first child — a daughter named Lynda — was born on Oct. 16, 1950.

After three years at Newport, my father joined his older brother, Lowell, in business at Arkadelphia. Dad had become known as one of the state’s up-and-coming young coaches but decided he could better provide for his family as a businessmen. The Nelson brothers built Southwest Sporting Goods Co. into one of the region’s largest providers of athletic supplies to high school and college teams, and my mom served for many years as the company’s business manager.

My dad would spend days at a time on the road calling on high school and college coaches. Mom stayed behind in Arkadelphia to help raise her family.

A son named Bob was born in 1954.

A second son named Rex was born in 1959.

The ultimate test of my mother’s faith and strength came on Feb. 29, 1964, and in the days, months and years that followed.

My parents and Bob were not people who missed Ouachita football and basketball games often. They loved the Tigers, and they had gone to Pine Bluff to watch Coach Bill Vining’s Ouachita basketball team play in the old NAIA District 17 Tournament. They were visiting the home of dear friends from college when a grocery delivery truck backed over my brother, who was playing in front of the house.

My mother held him as they rushed to the hospital, where he died at the age of 9.

As the father of two sons, I cannot imagine how one could go on after watching a 9-year-old child die. But Mom had my father, my sister and me to care for so she persevered, leaning on her strong Christian faith.

If the doors to the First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia were open, we were usually there. Mom could be found each Sunday morning with my father in their usual seats in the balcony. He would look at his watch if the sermon were running long and the Dallas Cowboys had a noon kickoff. Mom would tap him on the leg, her way of asking him not to make a scene just because the preacher — Sam Reeves, Dan Blake or Nathan Porter — was going a bit long.

Mom and Dad celebrated their 64th anniversary on Aug. 11, 2010. They were a couple in the truest sense of the word. She was never quite the same after my father died on March 3, 2011.

Mom would be embarrassed by all these words I’ve written tonight. She was never one to draw attention to herself.

As we told stories at home on Sunday, my wife noted that Mom was considerate of others even in death. Though she longed to be reunited with Bob and my dad, it was if she had waited until my football broadcasting duties were over for the season (I did my final high school radio scoreboard show of the year on Friday night and Ouachita broadcasts had ended a week earlier) and everyone was headed home. Both of our sons already were scheduled to come home from college on Tuesday, so Wednesday’s memorial service won’t require a special trip.

Mom was one of those people who would be up offering another cup of coffee or another glass of tea during meals, leading me to often cry out: “Mom, please sit down and eat your meal.”

In her honor Thursday, I think I’ll stand around pouring tea during the Thanksgiving meal.

Our family’s faith teaches us that it’s not “farewell forever.”

It’s simply “farewell for now.” So farewell for now, Mom.

We’ll celebrate the life of Carolyn Caskey Nelson this Thanksgiving.

My hope is that your Thanksgiving is as filled with gratitude as the one we plan to celebrate at our home.

You see, I won the lottery when it came to having great parents. I will think of them daily for as long as I live.

Thanks for everything, Mom. I love you.

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College football: Week 12

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

What a night in Baton Rouge.

Back when Arkansas was sitting at 1-3, who would have thought that the Razorbacks would become bowl eligible with two games still remaining in the regular season?

Not me.

The 31-14 win over LSU was convincing, to say the least. This is, mind you, a Tiger team that was No. 2 in the country when Jeff Long’s committee released its first rankings of the season. Arkansas made the Tigers look like UTEP, and the vast majority of the 101,699 people in Tiger Stadium had headed back outside to their gumbo pots long before this one was over.

Arkansas outrushed LSU 299-57, had a season-high five sacks and saw Alex Collins move past Dickey Morton into third on the school’s career rushing list with 3,335 yards. Collins topped 100 yards for the eighth time this season and the 15th time in his college career.

Coach Les Miles, who is 48-6 in night games at Tiger Stadium, has only seen a team lose two consecutive games on three occasions during his tenure in Baton Rouge. The second loss each time was to Arkansas. This was the first time for the Tigers to lose back-to-back games by double digits since 1999.

We were 5-2 on the picks last week to make the record 70-21 for the season. Here are the picks for Week 12:

Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 26: This should be an interesting game on what promises to be a cold night in Fayetteville. Alabama had no problem with Mississippi State in Starkville last Saturday, beating the Bulldogs by a final score of 31-6. It marked the eighth consecutive season for Mississippi State to lose to Alabama. Derrick Henry rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs. Collins must be licking his chops after having seen that on film. Mississippi State’s three losses have come by scores of 21-19 to LSU, 30-17 to Texas A&M and the aforementioned 31-6 loss to Alabama. The victories have been over Southern Mississippi, Northwestern State of Louisiana, Auburn, Troy, Louisiana Tech, Kentucky and Missouri. In other words, not a big-time win in the bunch; certainly nothing to compared with the Arkansas road victories over Ole Miss and LSU the past two Saturdays. We picked against the Razorbacks in both of those games. We won’t make that mistake again.

Sam Houston State 29, UCA 27 — The Bears need a victory to have a chance of getting into the FCS playoffs. UCA improved to 7-3 overall and 7-1 in the Southland Conference with a 34-31 win last Saturday night at Nicholls State. It was the seventh victory in the past eight games for the Bears as Blake Veasley rushed for 139 yards on 30 carries. McNeese State, which edged UCA in Conway last month, continues to lead the conference. Sam Houston comes into Conway with an identical 7-3 record. Just like UCA, Sam Houston lost back-to-back games to start the season (Sam Houston lost to Texas Tech and Lamar while UCA lost to Samford and Oklahoma State) and then lost later in the season to McNeese. The Bearkats’ victories have been by scores of 63-14 over Houston Baptist, 34-28 over Stephen F. Austin, 59-7 over Incarnate Word, 49-21 over Abilene Christian, 37-7 over Nicholls State, 38-24 over Texas A&M-Commerce and 59-21 over Northwestern State. The two teams appear to be evenly matched. It should be a fun game, and I plan to be there.

Henderson 24, Sioux Falls 21 — The Reddies won the Battle of the Ravine, 21-17, in front of a crowd of 9,868 at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia last Saturday afternoon. Henderson finished the regular season 10-1, and Ouachita finished 7-4. It was a well-played game with no turnovers. Neither defense gave up a long scoring play. Henderson had already wrapped up the Great American Conference title, but the win ensured that the first game of the NCAA Division II playoffs would be at home at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium. The opponent from South Dakota, the University of Sioux Falls, is a small Baptist school (smaller than Ouachita) that’s making its first appearance in the Division II playoffs since moving up from the NAIA. The Cougars are 9-2 and have won 21 of their past 24 games. The winner of Saturday’s game in Arkadelphia (noon kickoff) will play the winner of the game between Minnesota State and Emporia State. The Cougars were 36-12 with four national titles when they played in the NAIA. A year ago, they went 10-1 in the regular season and then beat Central Oklahoma in the Mineral Water Bowl. Henderson’s offense is not as good as last year. But the defense is much better. Give a slight advantage to the Reddies since Sioux Falls is the one making the long trip.

Mississippi Valley State 17, UAPB 15 — Well, somebody has to win this final game of the regular season. Both teams are 1-9. The Golden Lions fell by a final score of 49-31 to Grambling in the homecoming game at Pine Bluff last Saturday afternoon. Grambling, which is now 8-2 overall and 8-0 in the SWAC, led 35-3 at one point in the game. We’ll give a slight advantage to the home team. Both schools will be glad to see the season end.

 

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Rex’s Rankings: The playoffs have begun

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

We enter the second week of the high school football playoffs in Arkansas with some interesting games on tap.

The first week of the playoffs was rather uneventful. There were lots of byes for top teams and precious few upsets in those games that were played.

Here are the rankings after one week of the playoffs:

Overall

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Springdale Har-Ber
  3. Pulaski Academy
  4. Greenwood
  5. Cabot
  6. Bentonville
  7. Fayetteville
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Bryant
  10. Benton

Class 7A

  1. Springdale Har-Ber
  2. Cabot
  3. Bentonville
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Bryant

Class 6A

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Greenwood
  3. Benton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. El Dorado

Class 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Hope
  4. Hot Springs Lakeside
  5. Batesville

Class 4A

  1. Dardanelle
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Central Arkansas Christian
  5. Pocahontas

Class 3A

  1. Smackover
  2. Prescott
  3. Harding Academy
  4. Glen Rose
  5. Greenland

Class 2A

  1. Rison
  2. Junction City
  3. McCrory
  4. Des Arc
  5. England

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College football: Battle of the Ravine

Monday, November 9th, 2015

It’s the week of the Battle of the Ravine, one of the great college football rivalries (at any level) in America.

As I always point out to out-of-state reporters who call to ask questions about the rivalry, it’s the only college contest in which the road team doesn’t fly or bus to a game. It walks.

I’ve already done my annual story on the game here on the Southern Fried blog. So I won’t repeat that.

Here’s what I will say: Attending a Battle of the Ravine should be on every Arkansan’s bucket list. As I write this, the weather forecast for Arkadelphia on Saturday shows sunny skies and a high of 60. That’s what I call football weather.

And here’s the beauty of it for Razorback fans: The kickoff at Cliff Harris Stadium is at 1 p.m. The game should end by 4 p.m., giving most Arkansans time to be home for the Arkansas-LSU kickoff on ESPN at 6:15 p.m. So treat yourself to a fun day of college football: Ouachita vs. Henderson on a beautiful November afternoon followed by the Hogs’ game in Baton Rouge on television that night.

I finished my broadcast of Ouachita’s 58-7 victory over Southern Nazarene in Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon in time to hear the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter and the overtime of the Razorback victory on satellite radio. Sirius/XM used the Ole Miss broadcast since the Rebels were the home team, and it was interesting to hear the wild finish from that perspective.

Here’s how Rebel analyst Harry Harrison described a fourth-down play that will live in Razorback history for as long as any of us are breathing: “That was luck to the Nth degree.”

Agreed.

But strange things can happen in college football (you might ask Alabama head coach Nick Saban about the final play against Auburn a couple of years ago). Arkansas still had to score the touchdown, and the Razorbacks still had to execute the two-point conversion.

The question now is whether the Hogs can come back down to earth after a truly epic football game and spring another road upset, this time in Baton Rouge.

It goes without saying that Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night isn’t the easiest place to win a football game. With back-to-back Southeastern Conference victories in overtime for the Hogs, and the fact that LSU looked vulnerable at Tuscaloosa, there’s now reason for hope for Arkansas.

We were 6-4 on the picks last week, our worst week of the season. However, the overall record is still a good 65-19.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 11 of the college football season:

LSU 30, Arkansas 28 — Yes, I expect Arkansas to play well. Alabama certainly looked liked a team primed to win the national championship in its 30-16 victory over LSU in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. The Tide’s Derrick Henry moved ahead of LSU’s Leonard Fournette in the Heisman watch with 210 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Fournette came into the game as the leading rusher at the FBS level but was held to 31 yards on 19 carries. Expect him to gain a lot more yards than that this week against Arkansas. Yet if Brandon Allen came have another performance like the one he had in Oxford (33 of 45 passing for 442 yards and six touchdowns), Arkansas will be in this game until the end. In its 122 years of football, Arkansas has won only five games in which it allowed 45 or more points. All five were overtime contests. Two of the five have come this season. Could we see another such game in Baton Rouge? It’s possible. It’s more likely, however, that this one will end in regulation, providing entertaining Saturday evening viewing for the ESPN audience.

Henderson 29, Ouachita 24 — There have been five football seasons in the short history of the Great American Conference, counting this one. And the championship trophy still has yet to leave Arkadelphia. Henderson has wrapped up the 2015 title to go along with the championships it won in 2012 and 2013. Ouachita won conference championships in 2011 and 2014. It has been an amazing run for the Arkadelphia schools (Henderson had undefeated regular seasons in 2012 and 2013, and Ouachita was undefeated last year in the regular season). Both teams are good again this year. Henderson comes into Saturday’s game at 9-1, and Ouachita is 7-3. The Reddies struggled on the road Saturday against a 2-8 Oklahoma Baptist team but did enough in the end to win by eight, 22-14. The Reddies then got a gift when Southwestern Oklahoma defeated second-place Arkansas Tech in Russellville, 28-14, to drop the Wonder Boys to 7-3 and ensure Henderson the crown regardless of what happens Saturday afternoon at Cliff Harris Stadium. Ouachita, meanwhile, warmed up for the game with that 58-7 victory over 0-10 Southern Nazarene. Having the conference’s last-place team on the schedule in the 10th game allowed the Tigers to rest most of their starters for a half coming into the Battle of the Ravine. Henderson leads NCAA Division II in interceptions with 24. Its defense is better than last year, but its offense isn’t nearly as good as it was under the leadership of quarterback Kevin Rodgers in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Ouachita’s young defense has given up big plays at inopportune times throughout the season. Blown coverages in the secondary have been commonplace. Advantage Henderson on defense. Advantage Ouachita on offense. Both teams have strong kicking games.

Arkansas State 35, Louisiana Monroe 22 — The Red Wolves went on the road to Boone, N.C., last Thursday and came home with an impressive 40-27 victory over an Appalachian State team that had entered the contest with a 7-1 overall record. ASU is now alone atop the Sun Belt Conference at 5-0 (6-3 overall), followed by Appalachian State at 4-1, Georgia Southern at 4-1 and Louisiana-Lafayette at 3-1. ASU has won five consecutive games. The Red Wolves trailed in the second half of three of those games. ASU had a 39-point fourth quarter against South Alabama, a 21-point fourth quarter against Georgia State and a 17-point third quarter against Appalachian State. The Red Wolves pay a visit to north Louisiana this Saturday to take on a weak Louisiana-Monroe team. The Warhawks are 1-8 and have lost seven consecutive games. The only victory was by a score of 47-0 over an FCS team, Nicholls State. The losses have been by scores of 51-14 to Georgia, 34-0 to Alabama, 51-31 to Georgia Southern, 34-24 to Tulsa, 59-14 to Appalachian State, 27-13 to Idaho, 30-24 to Louisiana-Lafayette and 51-14 to Troy.

UCA 31, Nicholls State 19 — The Bears moved to 6-3 overall and 6-1 in Southland Conference play with a 36-24 victory in Conway on Saturday night over a Stephen F. Austin team coached by former UCA head coach Clint Conque and quarterbacked by his son, Little Rock Catholic graduate Zach Conque. Stephen F. Austin fell to 3-4 in conference and 3-6 overall. UCA trailed 24-17 late in the third quarter before scoring the game’s final 19 points. Conque, who coached the Bears from 2000-13, was on the visitors’ sideline at Estes Stadium for the first time. McNeese State remains alone atop the Southland Conference standings at 8-0 following a 27-10 victory over Sam Houston State. UCA travels to far south Louisiana this Saturday to take on a Nicholls State team that’s only 2-5 in conference and 2-7 overall. The two victories were by scores of 38-17 over Houston Baptist and 30-28 over Lamar. The losses have been by scores of 47-0 to Louisiana-Monroe, 20-10 to Incarnate Word, 48-0 to Colorado, 37-7 to McNeese, 28-24 to Stephen F. Austin, 37-7 to Sam Houston State and 37-21 to Northwestern State. The Bears should be able to take care of business in Thibodaux on Saturday night and remain in the hunt for an FCS playoff spot.

Grambling 40, UAPB 20 — The long season just keeps getting longer for UAPB, which is 1-8 overall and 0-7 in the SWAC following a 57-24 loss to Southern University in Pine Bluff on Saturday. Southern jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. The Jaguars led 57-8 after three quarters before clearing the bench. The Grambling team that comes to Pine Bluff on Saturday afternoon leads the SWAC at 7-0 and is 7-2 overall. After starting the season with nonconference losses to California and Bethune-Cookman, the Tigers have run off seven consecutive conference victories by scores of 34-10 over Alabama State, 70-54 over Prairie View A&M, 59-27 over Jackson State, 37-14 over Alabama A&M, 35-34 over Alcorn State, 49-14 over Mississippi Valley State and 41-15 over Texas Southern. There’s no reason to believe that UAPB can be competitive in this game.

Harding 34, Arkansas Tech 27 — Harding and Arkansas Tech are both 7-3. The winner has a chance to be invited to serve as the GAC representative in the Live United Bowl at Texarkana on Dec. 5. Tech has exceeded the expectations its fans had early in the season, while Harding has fallen off since having started the season 4-0 and being ranked as high as No. 9 in NCAA Division II. The Bisons trailed 3-7 Northwestern Oklahoma by nine points in the fourth quarter at Searcy on Saturday before getting three touchdowns on the ground from Michael Latu in the final seven minutes to post a 42-30 victory. Tech, meanwhile, suffered that disappointing loss to Southwestern Oklahoma in Russellville. This should be a close game between two of the conference’s upper-tier teams.

Southern Arkansas 18, UAM 16 — A disappointing season for UAM comes to a merciful end on Saturday. The Boll Weevils are 1-9, having lost Saturday by a final score of 37-0 to 5-5 Southeastern Oklahoma. Southern Arkansas improved its record to 6-4 with a 35-26 victory over East Central Oklahoma, which is also now 6-4.

 

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Rex’s Rankings: The playoffs

Monday, November 9th, 2015

The regular season has ended in high school football.

It’s playoff time.

In the biggest of the Thursday night games, defending Class 6A state champion Pine Bluff avenged last year’s regular-season loss to Benton to remain undefeated.

In the biggest of the Friday night games, Bentonville continued its regular-season mastery of Fayetteville with a 37-26 victory.

Here are the rankings at the end of the regular season:

Overall

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Springdale Har-Ber
  3. Pulaski Academy
  4. Greenwood
  5. Cabot
  6. Bentonville
  7. Fayetteville
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Bryant
  10. Benton

Class 7A

  1. Springdale Har-Ber
  2. Cabot
  3. Bentonville
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Bryant

Class 6A

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Greenwood
  3. Benton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Searcy

Class 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Blytheville
  4. Hope
  5. Hot Springs Lakeside

Class 4A

  1. Dardanelle
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Central Arkansas Christian
  5. Pocahontas

Class 3A

  1. Smackover
  2. Prescott
  3. Harding Academy
  4. Glen Rose
  5. Greenland

Class 2A

  1. Rison
  2. Junction City
  3. McCrory
  4. Des Arc
  5. England

 

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Ravine time

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Those who know me well know that my favorite day of the year is the Saturday of the Battle of the Ravine.

There have been four Great American Conference championship trophies awarded in football since the GAC came into existence, and all four trophies reside in Arkadelphia — two at Ouachita Baptist University and two at Henderson State University.

Because both football programs have been good in recent years, this unique rivalry has received increased national attention.

Last month, Champion, the official magazine of the NCAA, featured the Battle of the Ravine in a story titled “The short walk.”

Jared Thompson wrote: “One college’s water turned purple. Across the road, red marshmallows rained from the sky. A future state governor set the other school’s party ablaze. One time, a homecoming queen was kidnapped. And no one recalls where the drag queens buried the tiger’s tail.

“This fall marks the 89th edition of the Battle of the Ravine. The pranks defining Division II’s oldest football series have been legendary. The football games have been extraordinary, too. The rivalry pits two schools separated by two lanes of U.S. Highway 67, over which the visiting team walks to its opponent’s field on game day in the shortest road trip in football. The ancestries supporting either side are entwined tighter than the kudzu that suffocates the nearby ravine from which the rivalry’s namesake was found. In Arkadelphia, you grow up cheering either for red or for purple. Yet credits transfer freely between the two schools, and students from one often take classes at the other. Where else might you see the starting quarterback sit next to an opposing lineman in biology class?”

When the writer called me for a quote, I told him that this is the small college version of Alabama-Auburn, a rivalry that divides families. As an Arkadelphia native, I also pointed out that it’s Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day all rolled into one for that town.

“Tiger fans still express zeal about the 1975 matchup,” Thompson wrote. “Ouachita converted a fourth-and-25 play by one inch and scored on its final drive to upset a previously undefeated Henderson team, 21-20. Reddies, meanwhile, point to as recently as 2013, when they emerged victorious after a triple-overtime affair to complete a second consecutive undefeated season. Henderson leads the series 42-40-6. The first game was played in 1895; the matchup was resurrected in 1907 and interrupted for World Wars I and II. Then the pranks and vandalism escalated, and officials suspended the game for 12 years after the 1951 contest. Nowadays, when game week arrives, school signs are wrapped in protective plastic, garbage bags or tarps.”

In the late 1940s, the game was promoted as the Biggest Little Football Game in America, a moniker initially used on the East Coast for the NCAA Division III rivalry between Williams College and Amherst College, who first played in 1884. The Nov. 10, 2007, game between Williams and Amherst in Williamstown, Mass., was selected as the location for ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program. One of these days, the folks at ESPN will make the wise decision to bring that program to Arkadelphia and show the only time in college football in which the visiting team walks to a road game.

Yes, early on the afternoon of Nov. 14, state troopers will stop traffic on Highway 67, and the Reddies will walk across to play at Ouachita’s Cliff Harris Stadium after having put on their uniforms in their own dressing room. Shortly after 4 p.m., the troopers will stop traffic again, and the Reddies will trudge back across the highway. Of the 88 battles between the two schools, the game has been decided by a touchdown or less 39 times with Ouachita holding a 19-14-6 advantage in those games. Last year’s game was a bit of an anomaly in that there was a 21-point final margin. Ouachita won 41-20 in 39-degree weather at Henderson’s Carpenter-Haygood Stadium en route to an undefeated regular season.

Some of the best national publicity ever received by the Battle of the Ravine came two years ago, a few days before that triple-overtime game. Gregg Doyel, then of CBSSports.com, wrote a lengthy piece titled “Battle of Ravine: Can’t sum up D-II’s oldest rivalry in a football game.”

Doyel wrote: “It’s not easy to make a mark with a prank because the best ones have been done. So have the worst. There’s the tiger on campus at Ouachita, for example. For years it was missing a tail because kids at Henderson would sneak over and clip it off and bury it somewhere. Ouachita would replace it. The kids at Henderson would clip the new tail and bury it somewhere else. Ouachita eventually built a fence around its signature statue, but it had a smaller one at the school library. A young man dressed in drag — everyone swears that’s what happened — talked the Ouachita security officer into giving him the tiger for its ‘regular cleaning.’ The statue came back clean. And without a tail.”

Doyel went on to tell the famous (famous in Arkadelphia at least) story of Ann Strickland, the Ouachita homecoming queen: “Ann Strickland grew up in the shadow of both schools. She attended Ouachita but knew lots of kids at Henderson, which is why she got in the car with a few of them in late November 1946, shortly after being named the Ouachita homecoming queen. The Battle of the Ravine was in two days. Ouachita’s homecoming queen had just been kidnapped by Henderson.

“The kidnapped Ouachita homecoming queen was dating Ouachita star defensive back Bill Vining, so it wasn’t just the town that was looking for Ann Strickland — it was the team, too. Vining and teammate Ike Sharp got word that Strickland was being held in Arkadelphia at the Caddo Hotel, and they pounded on doors looking for her. Good thing they didn’t find her. According to legend, Ike Sharp was wearing overalls. According to legend, he was hiding a shotgun under his clothes.”

The “friendly” kidnapping had seen Strickland entertained at a house on Lake Hamilton. She was returned before the game, which Ouachita won, 26-16.

Following a scoreless tie in 1947, Ouachita won again in 1948. In 1949, Henderson led 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

Doyel wrote: “Enter Ike Sharp. The guy with the overalls and the shotgun. Sharp successfully booted three onside kicks — the last one just for spite — as the Tigers scored three times in the final 10 minutes to win, 17-14.

“Move ahead to 1975, to a game many consider the greatest in series history. By then Bill Vining — boyfriend of the kindnapped homecoming queen — was the basketball coach at Ouachita, which now plays in Bill Vining Arena. Well, by 1975, Bill and Ann Vining’s son was the quarterback on the Ouachita football team. That year Henderson came in at 9-0, a game ahead of Ouachita at 8-1. In the final minute, Ouachita trailed 20-14 and faced fourth-and-25 when Bill Vining Jr. completed a 25-yard pass to Gary Reese. Two plays later, he threw a touchdown to Ken Stuckey, and Ouachita won 21-20 to take Henderson’s spot in the national playoffs.

“Ann Strickland Vining died in August 2009. Over the years the homecoming queen’s house up on a hill had become a hangout spot for kids in Arkadelphia. They learned to swim in the Vining pool. On snow days they trooped up the Vining hill with sleds. Some of those kids went to Ouachita. Some went to Henderson.”

I was one of those kids, having grown up a block from the Vining home in the neighborhood known as Ouachita Hills.

How deep are the family ties at these schools?

David Sharp, one of my closest friends and the Ouachita athletic director since 1999, is the son of the aforementioned Ike Sharp. Our fathers played football together at Ouachita in the 1940s. When my dad accepted the job of head football coach at Newport High School following his graduation from Ouachita in the spring of 1948, it was Ike Sharp who drove my parents to Jackson County since they didn’t own a car.

David and his older brother, Paul, played in the Battle of the Ravine and later coached in the series as Ouachita assistants. Each year when Ouachita and Southwestern Oklahoma meet on the gridiron, they’re playing for the Paul Sharp Trophy, named in honor of the late coach who led Southwestern Oklahoma to an NAIA national championship.

During his first year as athletic director in 1999, David had to deal with an incident that became known as Trashcam. A Henderson graduate assistant coach took a video camera into Arkadelphia’s Central Park, which overlooks the Ouachita practice fields. As he was taping the Tiger practice, the graduate assistant was seen by a Ouachita player. The cameraman, realizing he had been spotted, sped away in his car, leaving the camera in a nearby trash can. When the camera was found with a Henderson identification tag on it, David removed the tape and returned the camera to Henderson. It was the proper thing to do. Though the rivalry is intense, these folks have to live with each other all year. They sit in the same pews at church and find themselves next to each other in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.

To illustrate how families are divided by this rivalry, I give you none other than Cliff Harris, the former Dallas Cowboy star for whom Ouachita’s new stadium is named. Both Cliff and his father played for Ouachita. But his mother was a graduate of Henderson.

Though the stands and press box are new, the field at Ouachita is where it has been since the early 1960s. Even though the team for which I broadcast lost both times, two of the finest football games I’ve ever seen were the previous two Battles of the Ravine on that field.

Two years ago was the aforementioned three-overtime game as Henderson went undefeated in the regular season and Ouachita finished 7-3. The Reddies came in ranked fourth nationally in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association. Ouachita was only three or four plays away from being undefeated after close losses to Harding and Southern Arkansas.

This was a battle between two teams that simply refused to lose. Ouachita had Henderson down to fourth down twice in the second overtime — one play from victory — and both times the talented Reddie quarterback Kevin Rodgers completed passes that few other players in Division II could have completed. Even in defeat, Ouachita quarterback Benson Jordan (the grandson of former Ouachita head coach and Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Benson) played the best game of his career. It was a pleasure just to say you attended that game.

Four years ago, Ouachita had already wrapped up the first Great American Conference championship. The Reddies roared to a 41-17 lead in the third quarter behind the play of Rodgers, who was a freshman at the time. People began heading for the exits at that point.

Then, Ouachita quarterback Casey Cooper hit wide receiver Brett Reece for a six-yard touchdown. Next, Cooper found tight end Phillip Supernaw for an eight-yard touchdown. Finally, sophomore tailback Chris Rycraw scored on a 12-yard run with 3:47 left to make it a one-possession game, 41-36.

On the kickoff, Henderson fumbled, and Ouachita’s Ryan Newsom recovered at the Reddie 29. Henderson held on downs, and the Reddies got the ball back with 2:15 remaining. Henderson needed just one first down to be able to run out the clock. That first down never came. Christian Latoof’s punt carried 35 yards, and Ouachita took over at its 47 with 43 seconds on the A.U. Williams Field clock.

Cooper completed a 13-yard pass to Rycraw. Then, a 29-yard pass to Reece gave the Tigers the ball at the Henderson 11. On third-and-five from the Reddie six, Cooper completed a pass to Reece, who was pulled down a yard away from the end zone. A Cooper pass on first-and-goal was broken up by Chuck Obi.

The clock showed six-tenths of a second remaining. There was time for one play.

Rycraw got the ball on a dive up the middle. There was a huge pile at the goal line. None of the officials signaled touchdown, though fans on the home side thought Rycraw had scored. Henderson had held on, 41-36.

That played will be debated as long as anyone is still alive who attended the game. Henderson fans will tell you it rates among the greatest games in the history of the series. Ouachita fans will insist that Rycraw scored.

I’m a Ouachita man so, of course, I’ll tell you that the 1975 game was the best. In fact, it’s the best college football game I’ve ever seen, at any level.

I usually arrive at the stadium three hours in advance of a Battle of the Ravine to prepare for the broadcast. It was brutally cold as I got out of the car at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium last year, and the skies were cloudy. All I could think was: “It feels just like 1975.”

You see, the Battle of the Ravine and I go way back.

I was a high school student in 1975 and was on the Ouachita sideline that day.

I’m 56 now and still feel like a kid on Christmas morning when Battle of the Ravine day arrives.

It all started on Thanksgiving Day in 1895 as Ouachita defeated what was then known as Arkansas Methodist College by a final score of 8-0 on the Ouachita side of the ravine.

Long may it continue.

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College football: Week 10

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Arkansas, Arkansas State and UCA all won on the same Saturday.

It was, in other words, a good Saturday for most college football fans in the state.

Alex Collins stole the show before a sparse homecoming crowd in Fayetteville as he rushed for 173 yards and a career-best five touchdowns in Arkansas’ 63-28 victory over Tennessee-Martin. Collins averaged 10.8 yards per carry and became only the third Razorback to score five touchdowns in a game. He became the fifth Hog to reach 3,000 career rushing yards. And apparently he wasn’t in hot water with his coach for being late to breakfast this time around. Maybe he borrowed an alarm clock from Ryan Mallett.

Quarterback Brandon Allen moved past Casey Dick and Matt Jones into fourth on the school’s career passing list. Allen now how 6,057 passing yards. He received the Crip Hall Award as the outstanding senior in the homecoming game as he went 14 of 19 through the air for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Little brother Austin Allen threw his first college touchdown pass, which went for 35 yards to Jeremy Sprinkle.

One cause for concern going into Saturday’s game against Ole Miss at Oxford is that the Hogs gave up 519 yards to the FCS opponent.

We were 8-2 on the picks last week. The record for the season is now 59-15.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 10:

Ole Miss 35, Arkansas 31 — The Rebels improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference with a 27-19 victory at Auburn. The Gus Bus has a flat. The Tigers fell to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. Ole Miss, the only team to beat Alabama thus far this season, can still capture the SEC West by winning out. If you’re wondering, Ole Miss and LSU play in Oxford on Nov. 21. The Hogs’ game at Oxford is the CBS afternoon game, the appetizer for LSU’s visit to Alabama that will be shown in prime time on the network. Ole Miss started the season 4-0, including that 43-37 victory in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 19. Reality hit with a 38-10 loss at Florida on Oct. 3 and a 37-24 loss at Memphis on Oct. 17 (an easy victory over New Mexico State was sandwiched between those two games). After the nonconference loss to Memphis, the Rebels have bounced back with SEC wins over Texas A&M (23-3) and Auburn. Expect this to be a close game. We’ll give the slight edge to the home team.

Appalachian State 30, Arkansas State 28 — The Red Wolves get more national television exposure — this time on ESPNU — with a Thursday night game at Appalachian State. It’s a battle for the Sun Belt Conference lead. Both teams are 4-0 in conference play. ASU improved to 5-3 overall in Jonesboro on Saturday night with a 48-34 victory over a Georgia State team that has won just one conference game in three seasons. Georgia State came into the game at 2-4 but led 27-20 at the half. The Red Wolves woke up in the second half and outscored their opponent 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Fredi Knighten was 21 of 29 passing for ASU for a season-high 224 yards. The Mountaineers beat Troy in triple overtime Saturday, 44-41, for their 10th consecutive Sun Belt win. They are 10-2 in conference play since joining the Sun Belt last season. Appalachian State is 7-1 overall this season.

UCA 27, Stephen F. Austin 24 — The Bears stayed alive in the Southland Conference race with a 21-16 homecoming victory over Southeastern Louisiana to go to 5-3 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Unfortunately for UCA, McNeese survived a scare against Abilene Christian and won 15-13 to stay alone atop the conference standings at 7-0. Blake Veasley and Dominique Thomas combined for 272 rushing yards for the Bears. Veasley, who has emerged as a star for UCA the past two weeks, had 192 of those yards. This Saturday afternoon sees the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin come to Conway. The visitors, led by former Bear head coach Clint Conque, are 3-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play. UCA needs to win its final three games to have a chance at making the FCS playoffs.

Southern University 23, UAPB 10 — Things are going from bad to worse for the Golden Lions. UAPB fell to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in the SWAC last Saturday with a 54-29 loss at Prairie View A&M. The Golden Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the score was tied at 14-14 by halftime. Prairie View then ran off 26 consecutive points coming out of the break. UAPB, which has three conference games remaining, has not gone winless in conference play since 1997. Southern University comes into Pine Bluff this Saturday afternoon with a record of 4-4. Southern’s victories have come by scores of 50-13 over Mississippi Valley State, 50-31 over Jackson State, 45-34 over Alabama State and 40-21 over Texas Southern. The losses have been by scores of 62-15 to Louisiana Tech, 48-6 to Georgia, 47-42 to Prairie View and 48-7 to Alcorn State.

Henderson 29, Oklahoma Baptist 18 — The Reddies remain alone atop the Great American Conference with an 8-1 record following a 76-7 victory last Saturday in Arkadelphia over Southern Nazarene, which has lost 31 consecutive games. Henderson led 63-0 at halftime as junior quarterback Dallas Hardison out of Bentonville completed 10 of 13 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. The Reddies had 408 yards of offense in the first half, and Southern Nazarene had 31. Henderson defenders came up with three interceptions during the game. The Reddies lead NCAA Division II with 22 interceptions on the season. Oklahoma Baptist, in its first year in the conference, is 2-7 but has been competitive at times. The Bison took Harding into overtime, in fact, before losing the first game of the season.

Ouachita 48, Southern Nazarene 22 — Ouachita went to 6-3 on the season Saturday with a 31-20 victory at home against Oklahoma Baptist. The Tigers are 10-0 in conference games at Cliff Harris Stadium since the stadium opened last year and will use this week’s road trip to Oklahoma to warm up for the Nov. 14 Battle of the Ravine at the stadium students like to call The Cliff. Against Oklahoma Baptist, redshirt freshman Kris Oliver from Arkadelphia had 193 rushing yards and 84 yards receiving. He was named the GAC offensive player of the week.

East Central Oklahoma 26, Southern Arkansas 25 — On Oct. 24, Southern Arkansas came within a play of beating Henderson (the Reddies scored on the final play of the game) and being tied for the conference lead. On Halloween, the Muleriders lost their second consecutive game to fall to 5-4 on the season. It was a listless performance as SAU fell by a score of 35-13 to 4-5 Southeastern Oklahoma. The Savage Storm held the Muleriders to a negative two rushing yards. SAU quarterback Barrett Renner was sacked eight times. East Central comes to Magnolia with a 6-3 record after a 21-18 win over UAM. East Central handed Henderson its only loss in September.

Harding 40, Northwestern Oklahoma 19 — The Bisons fell to 6-3 with a 21-13 loss at Southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern became the first team to outrush Harding in more than four years. The Bisons are usually strong at home and should roll against a Northwestern Oklahoma team that fell to 3-6 with a loss at home last week to Arkansas Tech.

Arkansas Tech 34, Southwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Wonder Boys are alone in second in the GAC at 7-2 following their 53-21 victory at Northwestern Oklahoma. Tech was led on the ground last week by Brayden Stringer and Bryan Allen, who had 155 and 148 yards respectively. The Wonders Boys finished the game with 535 yards of offense. Southwestern is 6-3 and has its best team in a number of years. This should be a fun game with the edge going to the home team.

Southeastern Oklahoma 32, UAM 17 — The Savage Storm has its confidence back following the impressive victory over SAU. UAM, meanwhile, is 1-8 after its loss at East Central. The Boll Weevils scored 15 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to put a scare into East Central, but Jamie McGee missed a 51-yard field goal attempt at the end that would have sent the game to overtime.

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Rex’s Rankings: One week until the playoffs

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

It’s the final week of the regular season in high school football.

There were no changes in our Top 10 last week. Every team in the Top 10 won handily. The closest margin was nine points (Cabot over Jonesboro).

The other margins were 42, 41, 44, 21, 53, 43, 28, 23 and 19 points.

The biggest game in Week 10 (when about half the games are played on Thursday night) is No. 1 Pine Bluff at No. 9 Benton on Thursday.

Let’s get to the rankings:

Overall

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Springdale Har-Ber
  3. Pulaski Academy
  4. Greenwood
  5. Cabot
  6. Fayetteville
  7. Bentonville
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Benton
  10. Bryant

Class 7A

  1. Springdale Har-Ber
  2. Cabot
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Bentonville
  5. Bryant

Class 6A

  1. Pine Bluff
  2. Greenwood
  3. Benton
  4. Alma
  5. Searcy

Class 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Hot Springs Lakeside
  4. Blytheville
  5. Hope

Class 4A

  1. Dardanelle
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Central Arkansas Christian
  5. Pocahontas

Class 3A

  1. Smackover
  2. Prescott
  3. Harding Academy
  4. Greenland
  5. Little Rock Episcopal

Class 2A

  1. Rison
  2. Junction City
  3. Earle
  4. McCrory
  5. Des Arc

 

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