SPRINGDALE (KFSM)--Year in and year out, soccer in the 7A West proves to be a gauntlet. And this spring is no different. With four teams ranked in the MaxPreps top 50 (Har-Ber 15th, Springdale 23rd, Heritage 38th, Rogers 43rd), competition is fierce night in and night out.
"Oh my goodness. Yea I like to say we're like the SEC of soccer up here. We beat each other up all season long and hopefully someone can make it to the playoffs," Rogers coach Stephen Peck said.
"It's tough. Realistically, any of five teams could probably win the 7A West still," said Har-Ber coach Cory Butler.
The players themselves understand how tight the race is, including Mounties captain Alex Balderas. "Everything's pretty even, I mean it's only been one or two losses but right now that's the game changer between first and second place."
The formula to winning in the 7A West starts with depth. "Everybody's got a really good handful of players and then they've got a good supporting cast, and almost all the teams are that way in this conference," said Butler.
"What makes the big difference is just the talent level is so good up here, and it's deep at every school," Peck said.
With Har-Ber's 3-1 win over Rogers on Friday, the Wildcats claim first place in the conference with a 7-1 league record. "I'm pretty sure we're up to thirteen different players have scored this season, so everybody is contributing," Butler said.
Just how deep is the 7A West this spring? Rogers (6-2), Springdale (5-3), Heritage (5-3), and Bentonville (5-3) all join Har-Ber with winning records, within two games of each other.