photo by TAMMY HOBSON
Mountainburg’s Clayton Stephenson runs for extra yardage at Hartford on Oct. 5. Mountainburg travels to Hector Friday for another 2A-4 Conference game.
While two teams get to return home this week, two more trek back out on the road for key league match up with each squad.
Van Buren hosts Har-Ber, while Cedarville is host to Lamar. Alma heads up to Harrison and Mountainburg is in Pope County to face the Hector Wildcats.
Har-Ber at Van Buren
Har-Ber defeated Heritage last week 42-21. The Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 7A West) average 39.6 points per game in each of their wins, but has only mustered 24.5 in each of the losses.
Conversely, Van Buren has scored an average of 27.2 points in its four losses.
“We feel like Har-Ber is one of the most talented teams we’ll see this season. Har-Ber has a couple of marquee players and (the Wildcats) are just big everywhere,” said coach Brooks Coatney. “Har-Ber has played some tough competition and have seen a lot of good teams.”
Defensively Har-Ber has given up 37 points game while Van Buren has surrendered 35.6 ppg. In last week’s game, Van Buren was limited to five plays on offense while Rogers scored 21 unanswered points.
“We have to give the defense a break if we are to have a chance,” Coatney said. “We were limited to just 10 minutes of offense in that game.”
Michael Cureton filled in for an injured Bradley Eversole. “I was very proud of him. He worked hard,” Coatney added. “We had a number of guys step up like Joe Franklin, Tyrone Joseph and Ethan Hubspeth.”
Last season, Har-Ber’s Nick Byrne caught three touchdown passes as the Wildcats won 48-21.
Alma at Harrison
The Airedales will spend its third Friday in four weeks on the road as it travels to Harrison.
The Goblins have four losses this season, but three of those have been four points or less. Harrison’s biggest loss was 52-35 to Class 7A Heritage in Week 2.
After starting the season 1-3 (including a loss to Class 6A No. 1 Greenwood), Alma has won its next two games by a combined 69-14. The Airedales had to rally in the second half to beat Morrilton (3-2, 1-1) on the road.
“We expect our team to respond and be hungrier every week,” said Alma coach Doug Loughridge. “Each week is a playoff week in this conference and there are not any gimmies on this schedule. Our guys have done a great job preparing each week and focusing on the task at hand.”
Senior Alex Burris finished the game with 13 tackles (five solo) to bring his season total to 56 (33 solo).
Malachi White helps with the offense with 285 yards rushing on 73 carries with six touchdowns this season. Evan Burris has 236 yards and 75 totes and one score, and he has completed 62 of 105 passes for 766 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Harrison was locked in an offensive shootout with Greenbrier last week in its 47-43 loss. The Panthers rallied from a 37-34 deficit to take the win. Harrison has lost it’s first two league games by a combined six points.
“We are expecting a great Friday night football match-up in Harrison,” said Loughridge. “Coach (Chad) Harbison has done a great job developing this year’s football team. Their linemen are starting to look like traditional Harrison linemen — big and physical. Harrison has one of the best running backs in the conference, Michael Evert, who is a three-year starter. Harrison likes to run a lot of different formations to get your misaligned. Defensively, they are very sound, well coached, and run to the ball very well.”
Last season, Alma overcame five turnovers and had three turnovers on downs, but still managed to beat Harrison 29-13. Gage Jensen threw for 218 yards and two scores, and rushed for 123 yards and another touchdown.
Lamar at Cedarville
This is the Class 3A Hootens.com game of the week. (See page 3B).
The Pirates are 5-0 for the first time since the program restarted back in the early 1980s and are looking for their first league title since it won the conference outright in 1999.
There are three teams in the 3A-4 undefeated including Charleston and Lamar. Both Cedarville and Lamar have Charleston remaining on the schedule. A win will help solidify the race for the league title, with the loser facing a runner-up finish or worse (depending upon how the rest of the schedule shakes out).
Lamar defeated Mansfield last week 36-7.
Hunter Sanders gained 233 yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns. Quarterback Braxton Sampley completed 12 of 18 passes for 121 yards with one interception. Defensively, the Warriors were paced by Dusty Wilkins (16 tackles) and Caleb Robinson (13 tackles).
“Lamar is pretty good,” said coach Mark Shelton. “We may be with Tristan Nolan. He’s a big guard for us and we’re going to be a little thin on the line. We got quality guys that will step up for us.”
The Pirates were able to rout Danville 46-19 to give Cedarville its third straight win over the Little Johns.
Senior quarterback Dylan Shelton completed 24 of 27 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Soehlman had 24 carries for 115 yards and Corey Fincher had 10 totes for 103 yards.
Last season, Lamar defeated Cedarville 34-19.
Mountainburg at Hector
The Dragons take on the undefeated Wildcats. Hector is averaging 39 points per game while giving up nine per game. Mountainburg has scored 27 points a game and surrendered 20 ppg. However, since its loss to Cedarville at the start of the season, the Dragons has only given up 12 ppg.
The win is needed by Mountainburg to help the squad earn at least a share of the 2A-4 Conference title. Magazine, Union Christian and Hackett has only one loss this season in league play. The Dragons have Magazine and Hackett remaining in the schedule.
The Wildcats limited Magazine to five plays in the second quarter, utilized a pair of turnovers and an onside kick to garner a 19-0 halftime lead en route to a 33-8 win.
Hector was led by Gus Nichols who had 24 carries for 99 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Brashear added one score with 60 yards and 13 carries. Freshman quarterback Tanner Gaines had eight totes for 35 yards and completed 4-of-12 passes for 38 yards.
Mountainburg led 28-0 at halftime to beat Hartford 60-6.
Sophomore Samuel Copeland had 90 yards on seven carries and three touchdowns (all in the first half). Sophomore Clayton Stephenson added 106 yards on six carries.
Senior quarterback Josh Skattebo completed 3 of 4 passes for 107 yards with one score. Skattebo scored one touchdown and finished with 13 yards on 3 totes. The senior has thrown 44 passes this season without an interception with 23 caught for 434 yards.
Copeland leads the running game with 313 yards on 47 carries and seven touchdowns. Stephenson has 290 yards on 51 totes and two touchdowns.
Last season, the Dragons won their third consecutive game over Hector, 41-19. Mountainburg punted one time, had one turnover and scored on the other six possessions. The Dragons had to rely upon their running game (294 yards rushing).