Defensive Showdown Set In Battle For Springdale

SPRINGDALE (KFSM)--For the first time since the school district split in 2006, Springdale and Har-Ber are both 4-0. That makes this week's meeting the biggest in the rivalry's twelve year history.

Har-Ber, the top 7A team in Arkansas has outscored opponents 164-35. With consecutive shutouts over Jefferson City (Missouri), Jenks (Oklahoma) and Rogers, the Wildcat defense is allowing just 8.75 points per game.

"Well they’re as athletic as anybody in the state," Springdale coach Zak Clark said. "I mean they’re the number one team in the state for a reason."

"They’re getting better each week. Every time they get on the field they improve and then they carry it over on Friday nights," Har-Ber coach Chris Wood said. "They play with great energy, I think there’s fantastic senior leadership on defense. Trying to get turnovers for us, they’re trying to minimize big plays."

"[The difference] is flying to the ball, you know, make sure we give effort every play, 110 percent," said Wildcat senior Bryton Cook.

Clark added, "What makes them different then say four five years ago, is their secondary, their overall team speed. They can really cover."

But don't sleep on the Red Dogs. In wins over Conway, Alma, Russellville and Heritage, Springdale has allowed just 17.75 points per game and outscored opponents 128-71 in the process.

"The neat thing about kind of this game, I think the two best D-linemen in the state are going at it. And for us it starts with [Razorback commit] Isaiah [Nichols]," said Clark.

"We’ve gotten past blaming each other, cause we know mistakes are gonna be made. We’re gonna have pass interference, we’re gonna have people jump offsides, we’re gonna have just mess ups on defense. We’ve moved past getting on people," Nichols said.

Regarding Springdale's defense, Wood said, "They play extremely hard, they’re really well coached, their technique is outstanding."

The lone Springdale win in the head-to-head came in the first year of the split, 2006. With a rejuvenated defense, the Bulldogs are out to prove that football is back--and stronger than ever--in Springdale.