Bentonville, Southside Meet With Title Berth On Line

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Southside and Bentonville are no strangers to one another.

The longtime rivals will renew acquaintances Friday night with a spot in the 7A championship game on the line.

Bentonville has posted an astounding 57-4 record since the start of the 2008 season but two of those losses came at the hands of Southside. Friday’s semifinal meeting will be the 12th time in 10 years to two will have met and the third time since 2008 that the Rebels and Tigers faced one another in the postseason.

“We`ve had a little bit of success with them but they`ve got an outstanding team and every year is different,” Southside coach Jeff Williams said. “They`ve dominated pretty much every opponent all year long. Played an unbelievably tough nonconference schedule and dominated that. It is a playoff semifinals and we are going to go up and play and do the best we can. Hopefully we have a chance to win it.”

Bentonville coach Barry Lunney is no stranger to the rivalry. Lunney has been the head man for the Tigers for the past eight seasons. He was the head coach at Southside prior to taking over at Bentonville.

“Certainly it is a big game,” Lunney said. “Obviously with Southside and Bentonville playing, they are always big games. They have been for years. When we were in the same league and they`ll continue to be for years to come.”

Bentonville has dominated the state’s largest classification the past few seasons and this year is no exception. The Tigers have won 36 or their last 37 games and are looking for its third straight championship game appearance.

“They are a tough team, have a lot of good players, big guys and we are coming in with a couple major injuries so some guys have to step up and make some plays,” Southside running back Luke Bross said.

Both teams have appeared in three title games each since 2006.