FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - Following a 1-4 start, many people wrote off two time defending 7A state champion Fayetteville. The Purple Dogs had lost tight games to Bryant, Bishop Dunne (Texas), Bentonville and Bentonville West. But something clicked the second half of the season and led to a five game win streak.
"We've gone through a lot of adversity this year and I think that's really helped us especially in the last few weeks we've really turned it up," said senior Cemari Dobbins.
"The transition, the newness, all of it is kind of coming together right now," head coach Billy Dawson said.
Over the win streak, the Dogs have averaged 46 points while giving up just 16 per game. The turnaround came thanks in part to the experience of Dawson and maturity of the team.
"He focuses on the little things and that's really what was hurting us on the four game losing streak," Dobbins said. "We were always there but little things always hindered us."
"He's preaching to us right now that our season's almost over, that it can end any week now," added senior wide receiver Kris Mulinga. "That we have to give 100 percent each week and every day in practice."
Unlike last fall, Fayetteville doesn't have a bye. But in this case, that's bad news for the other eleven 7A playoff teams.
"I like it, you know, I've had the bye over the years and I'd rather be playing. I'd rather our kids stay in a routine and play," said Dawson.
Dobbins agreed. "We don't want to interrupt I guess you could say, so we're just trying to keep it going and keep it rolling. Usually [we're] watching these other teams or just resting up, but now we gotta go even harder, we gotta grind harder cause we gotta play all four games."
"I think it is good, just to keep on going and keep the train rolling and everything," Mulinga said.
Last time the Purple Dogs played a first round game, Fayetteville destroyed West Memphis 63-35 and cruised to the 2015 state title. Friday night sees the West's third seed Fayetteville open with the six seed from the Central, Southside. With a win, Fayetteville faces Bryant in the quarterfinals.