Grizzlies & Wildcats Clash For Spot In 7A Quarterfinals

SPRINGDALE (KFSM)--Northside's win in the Battle of Rogers Avenue pushed the Grizzlies into the playoffs as the 5 seed from the 7A Central. The reward? A trip to face preseason favorite Har-Ber, the 7A West's 4 seed.

"Pretty rare for us to play Northside, we never really get to play them. So it's nice to get to play someone new and they're a good quality team," Wildcat running back Payton Copher said.

"Their line is really good and we'll have to block well up front for us to get some of our plays working, and beside that just execute," junior quarterback Derrick Wise said.

Wise completed all ten passes in the win over Southside and has the Northside offense rolling heading into week eleven.

"With Wise at quarterback and really a really physical offensive line he's such a play maker," Har-Ber coach Chris Wood said. "Got some guys who will go up and get the ball for him so they have a nice diversity and balance."

Northside coach Mike Falleur added, "He came out and did what he's capable of doing. You know we're asking him to play a position that he's not used to and he's gotten better every week."

While the Grizzlies pride themselves on being fast and athletic, Har-Ber isn't afraid to play smashmouth football up front.

"They're big, physical, well coached football team. That's gonna be that way every year and so we have to be ready," Falleur said, before adding, "but we've played those type of teams, you know North Little Rock, Bryant, Conway [the top three seeds from the 7A Central] they're exactly the same type>

Northside (3-7) snapped a four game losing streak to make the field of twelve, while Har-Ber (7-3) opened the year with five straight wins before a three game slide. The Wildcats have outscored Van Buren and Heritage--the two non-playoff teams from the West--82-0 the last two weeks.

"Those three weeks once we lost the game versus Bentonville we kind of laid down and our practices got sloppy and stuff like that, but the last couple weeks we've really started competing more at practice and pushing each other harder and harder," Copher said.

Har-Ber posted five shutouts in ten games, the most in the conference since Bentonville in 2009. The Wildcat defense allowed just 144 points all season, but Falleur understands that everyone is 0-0 come playoff time.

"If we play the way we played Friday and come out, they were prepared they were so focused before the game. I've been around them five years and never have I seen them to where it was the way it was Friday."

The Grizzlies and Wildcats kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday in Springdale. The winner advances to face the 7A Central champion, 10-0 North Little Rock.