It's just two months away from the start of the 2017 high school football season, so we've counted down the top five games to look forward to this fall.
- Bentonville vs Fayetteville
When: Week 4, September 22
Why: The Tigers and Purple Dogs have combined to win the last seven state titles and nine of the previous ten. Until last season, the rivals met in week ten every year. That was bumped up to week four to accommodate the Bentonville-Bentonville West game. It's become the norm for multiple meetings in one season, usually culminating in a playoff rematch. While Bentonville has dominated the regular season, Fayetteville owns the postseason, including a semifinal win last season.
Last Meeting: November 25, 2016...Fayetteville won 46-21
- Greenwood vs Northside
When: Week 1, September 1
Why: When a power from the 7A meets a power from the 6A it generally results in an entertaining game. After getting a bye last year, Northside fell in the 7A quarterfinals to Bentonville. Greenwood lost in a rainy 6A title game to Russellville, but returns quarterback Connor Noland. Noland is committed to Arkansas for both football and baseball, as a quarterback and pitcher. The Bulldogs aim for their third straight win over the Grizzlies.
Last Meeting: September 2, 2016...Greenwood won 33-25
- Bentonville West vs Fayetteville
When: Week 5, September 29
Why: For a school playing its first year of football in the 7A-West, Bentonville West more than held its own. The Wolverines made the playoffs after winning three conference games. Coach Bryan Pratt's team was able to compete with all but the best 7A-West teams, and this week five game against the two-time defending state champions is the first real chance for a signature win. It's also a big game for the Bulldogs, who face Bentonville the previous week. Fayetteville lost a number of seniors with playoff experience and have a new coach in Billy Dawson, who won the 6A title at Russellville last season.
Last Meeting: September 30, 2016...Fayetteville won 50-16
- Pea Ridge vs Prairie Grove
When: Week 7, October 13
Why: Last fall the 4A-1 proved to be the deepest conference in the state as Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove and Shiloh Christian all made the final four. While Danny Abshier's Tigers have been the most consistent team over the last two seasons, second year Blackhawks coach Stephen Neal returns a lot of offensive firepower. Pea Ridge's lone setback of the regular season came against Prairie Grove in week seven last October. Don't be surprised if this game goes a long way in deciding the conference champion.
Last Meeting: October 14, 2016...Prairie Grove won 42-21
- Springdale Har-Ber vs Jenks, OK
When: Week 3, September 15
Why: Jenks and Oklahoma high school football are synonymous. The Trojans have won 16 state titles including a recent four-peat between 2012-15. Har-Ber has done a lot in its eleven years as a school including winning the 7A state title in 2009. The Wildcats looked like one of the top teams in the 7A-West for much of last season but faltered on offense toward the end of the year. Har-Ber still clinched a playoff bye but fell in the quarterfinals to Bryant. Expect a lot of firepower in the final non-conference game.
Last Meeting: September 16, 2016...Jenks won 44-22